This is a sensitive topic that many bloggers don’t really talk about. But my blog is my space for any of my weird/random/personal musings, and I don’t hold too much back.
My father is not an easy man to understand. I’m not sure whether it’s due to just being born that way, his upbringing in China, or his life experiences, but he is extremely pessimistic. He often doesn’t see the upside or light in any situation. I try hard to think if it’s always been that way, but I can say for sure that it started during my tween years, when he lost his job and wasn’t able to find another one quickly.
Eventually he did find another job, all the way in Pennsylvania. He packed up his car and said goodbye to his family in sunny Southern California, and drove off to Pennsylvania, where he spent 6 frigid winters, before finally returning.
But since then, his mind always seemed to immediately jump to the worst case scenario for everything.
When I admitted I wasn’t able to answer a few questions during my college scholarship interview, it was “that means you didn’t get it.” (I did).
When I broke the news that I had met a nice boy (I meant D – who else?!), it was “he’s going to break your heart someday.” (He hasn’t yet).
When I announced my intentions to travel the world, it was “you’re never going to find another job, ever.” (yeah.. doesn’t make sense).
It wasn’t very hard to guess that my father wouldn’t be happy to hear that I’m quitting my job. After all, he’s worked hard and sacrificed a lot to put his daughters into college. But what I didn’t anticipate were the hurtful words, lack of support and understanding, and even threats to cut off communications. In short, he is convinced that quitting my job = the end of my life. He doesn’t see the positive benefits of travel, and only sees it as destroying my life.
(My dear mom, on the other hand, just wanted me to be happy.)
Some may call it narrow-minded, but I know deep down in his heart, in his own funny way, it’s that he just cares too much. He doesn’t want his daughter to know a life of constant worry over how to put food on the table. And he hopes that by delivering threats, I will stop making (what he believes is) a mistake. Note: I’m not saying this is by any means right.
Sadly, this has caused a (temporary) fall-out of our relationship. And even more sadly, I am not celebrating his 60th birthday with him today.
Instead, from the corners of love, hurt, and hope in my heart, I wish the following birthday wishes for Dad:
I wish for him to see a world full of beautiful colors and possibilities, instead of a life of black and gray.
I wish for him to let go of anger and live the rest of his life with an open heart and joy.
I wish for him to see that he has raised two wonderful daughters who are independent and capable of making their own decisions.
I wish for him to understand that life is meant to be lived. Right now. Life is too short to be anything other than happy.
I wish for him to someday experience the magic of travel. All his life, my father has worked hard and has never traveled (save for the couple trips to China to see family). As part of his birthday gift, I included a voucher for “one ticket to anywhere in the world”. It is my hope that he will someday join me in a country that he has always wanted to visit.
One of the hardest things is when your family doesn’t support you. I know it hurts. But it’s ok to let it go. And don’t let anyone convince you that your dreams are stupid or worthless or wrong. Some people have beliefs that are so ingrained into their psyche and their views so colored by their own experiences, that their minds can’t be changed. In that case, the only thing to do is to let go of your own anger and let them know that you love them. Then continue to follow your dream and walk your own journey. Don’t stop. And hold on to hope that those who love you will join you when ready.