My father and I have a slightly contentious relationship. The problem really comes down to the fact that we are too similar in too many ways, but most importantly stubbornness.
As a result, though we are not always at odds, I am certainly more often at odds with my father than either of my siblings. Recently, this hasn’t been too much of an issue as, since we both work full-time, we only see each other briefly in the morning and the evening, thus eliminating much of the room for spats.
So, last weekend, my mother was out for the evening with some friends of her, my sister had recently gone off to college, and thus it was an evening for my father and I, and the dog of course. I figured sparks would fly rather quickly with such a distinct lack of buffers.
However, I was pleasantly surprised, and we actually managed to have a decent conversation over dinner about my future, which is often a contentious subject as he is of the mind that I need to apply myself more to a profession that pays better (e.g. law) than the one I have chosen (e.g. publishing/academia). However, he does see the reason, or perhaps the passion, behind following what you want to do rather than what you believe you should do.
Thus, we were able to talk, though somewhat obliquely, about what I want to do with my life, and some of the more practical concerns I have with various parts of that plan. All in all, it was a lovely talk, quite refreshing in fact, and it’s made me reconsider a few things about what I do want.
I want to be intellectually stimulated everyday. This is why I’m addicted to blogs, and why I love my job.
I want to be a part of the conversation. I have things to say, gosh darn it, and I’m going to say it! Thus: this blog.
I want to be a writer. And yes, I know all the arguments/debates about writing and what truly defines a writer, but I don’t care. I have an internal definition of a writer, and when I embody my definition, then I don’t care what anyone else says.
I want to be happy. I want to stop criticizing myself for not doing things, and instead work on appreciating the amazing people and circumstances in my life. I want to stop comparing myself to others. I want to be me.
And that’s really what it all comes down to, non? I am extremely fortunate to live in a world where I am free to be me. And to have a family that, despite some headshaking, is willing to support me. And to have had the opportunities, both in the past and for the future, to explore what I really mean by “me.”
I am incredibly lucky.
And all that, from a conversation with my father. Somebody pinch me!