The word polarity is likely an overstatement. Except in the discourse on subjects of magnetic fields, or polar opposites, the phrase is seldom used. Yet, sometimes I feel polarities exist in all spectrums. Especially in life decisions. In most cases, there are two options to choose from: A or B. Do I want cake or pie? Chocolate or vanilla? Options such as these leave no room, or possible questions about other possibilities. I mean, what about strawberry? Even cheese cake for that matter. Clearly, people didn’t get the memo that cheese cake is basically the best thing ever (after ice cream and beaches of course). Digression aside. These existing polarities are within the world, and within me.
Now, for some people the effort on making a decision is a breeze. A simple choice. These people know what they want, when they want it, and how they will get it. However, sometimes, others don’t know what they want. They waffle between the possibilities, unsure of what to do, and constantly guessing or questioning about outcomes. (Cue The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost). I am the latter; stuck between what I want and the expectations I feel for my life.
First, some background information. The road began in the pursuit of an education. Since high school, my interest was in art, about in the fine arts and animation. I drew everyday. Drawing was my hobby. I dreamed of becoming a well-known artist. However, as time passed, the dream and idea faded away. Instead, I chose the path towards teaching mathematics. Which finally led to anthropology. The studies of different cultures truly matched my desire and personality. I enjoyed the academic work and everything about the discipline. I wanted to balance the idea of a good major with a creative aspect to it. The problem arose in after graduation. Yet, after graduation I was hit with yet another road block: jobs.
My parents supported each of my educational decisions, but they loved the idea of math due to its usefulness in the job market. The job market in the states, at the time of my graduation, was not geared towards humanities graduates. The demand for math and science was high, and is still high. So, there I was, stuck looking for jobs. After a summer camp job, studying abroad in Korea, again back to the summer camp job, and finally landing two jobs in teaching English in Korea, I have learned something.
To please others before you please yourself is self-destructive.
My parents worry, and so do I, about the possibility of success. For me, the idea of a steady career job, with a hefty 401k and other wonderful benefits is a thing of the past. I want to please my parents, but I also wish to please myself. It’s hard to find the balance, it’s almost as if these two options are polar opposites. I feel as if they are so. I know they care about my future, yet I still feel I have not made them entirely proud. Even if I hear those words, the utterance of an alternate plan, a plan of their own for my future, sounds like I’m not doing enough.
Some people may say to follow your dream is selfish. However, if one sacrifices their happiness for the sake of another, then is that fair? We are young once, and if we wish to do something, we should do it. We have our whole lives to succeed, to find that perfect job, but some things lose their actuality with the passage of time.
Supporting someone’s dream is powerful, but invalidating their dream destroys their hearts. In the end, as we each struggle to find out purpose, or work towards a goal in life, we must remember to listen to our guts, and our hearts. Yet, that’s the hardest part of all.
Stay humble. Word hard. Be kind.