All Falls Down

The first decision I ever made as an adult was to drop out of school.

As my mother stared at me in disbelief, tears in her eyes, she asked me why and I said “I want to be happy. I’m not happy.” and started crying. She looked at me like I’d gone mad as my father rolled his eyes.

Ware [You say] happy? Get your degree and that will make you happy.”

I didn’t budge and neither did they.

My aunts came wondering what had gone wrong. My father stopped speaking to me and my mother seemed to wither away.

One of my aunts asked me why I wouldn’t go back and when I told her it’s because I didn’t want to, she said “Life is not about what you want” to which I responded “Then what is the point in living?” She didn’t have an answer for me.

I stayed home for close to a year. Wallowing mostly. In self pity, shame.

Was I wrong? Why couldn’t I be miserable and yet focused like the other kids? Had I shamed my family because I didn’t want to be one of those people who wake up at 36 and think “Fuck. I wasted it all.”

The worst part was, I didn’t know what exactly I wanted to do. I had simply jumped off a cliff with no parachute and I felt silly.

My father would lie to people as I stood next to him and tell them I was still a Business student. My mother would look away, smile her sad smile and sigh. Me? I became annoyed with society. It was then that I realized just how expectations can steal your joy if you let them.

I wasn’t doing what I was expected to do and so I was considered a failure.

I had to choose between going back and soldiering on, hating every moment, and getting through where I was now.

I couldn’t go back.

Things had already gotten bad, how much worse could it get?

A few months later I applied and got accepted to a school in SA. Everything looked good, My mother was happy for me and we were excited. Until my father, being the one with the finances needed to pay for my fees said “I’m not paying for her to do anything that doesn’t make sense” and walked away.

10 days before I was set to leave.

Again, I wondered if I’d made the right decision.

After a few more months of self loathing and doubt I was finally accepted to study Journalism here.

I can’t say I was happy, I try to avoid that, but I can tell you it felt right.

Were my parents pleased now?

No, not really.

Because Journalism wasn’t a “real course” and they wanted me to go back and try Business again.

What I learned from that is as  much as parents claim to have good intentions, a lot of them need to tell us outright “I will only be happy with your Life if it goes how I want it to.”

Now, when people ask me what I do with my Life I have a very proud “Nothing” ready. For the next month or so. Then I explain why and I get the “You’ll be starting first year again?” question like that’s the worse thing to ever happen to someone.

And I proudly say “Yes, doing a course I love.”

The sooner you decide what you need to do, the better.

A lot of people don’t even realize that in a few years, they’ll be miserable. They think they’re in a bad space now, but when you look back and see all the time you wasted and none of it was because you wanted to do it, you didn’t enjoy any of it, there’s a certain kind of sadness and shame that creeps in.

Realizing you had all that time and all you did was give it to someone else to live for and through you.

We tend to look at people who think about their lives before deciding to live as idiots. As if they’re wasting their time and they’re weak but what’s so strong about following a routine everyone else has?

Some people are content doing what they’re supposed to.

Others only know how to live how they want to.

But I get it though.

“The concept of school seemed so secure.” – Kanye West

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7 comments

  1. Indeed the concept of school seems so secure, Ive been to school did what I love and now cant find work for what I studied for, its an ironic tragedy but whatever, life goes on

  2. I couldn’t help but smile – I studied journalism in college to make my parents happy (my father had been a photojournalist). This was back in the early 90s, so a lot has changed in journalism since then, obviously. But I was very successful in journalism for 15 years. One problem: hated it. Success and happiness aren’t necessarily the same thing – it’s a hard lesson to learn. I hope you’re doing what you love. I have a sneaking suspicion that if you are, good opportunities will come along.

  3. Wow i’m cought in the same predicament. I dropped out of school this year, I wasn’t happy with what I was doing- chose the course to please the parents. Now I want to do what I want to do but the parents aren’t soo keen about the idea. I worry alot about struggling to find a job if I persue what I love. Success or happiness? I just don’t want to deal with the “we told you so” 😦

    1. That’s a decision that you have to make. You need to do whatever you know you can live with.
      I wish you all the best.
      X

  4. I can totally relate,I’ll be doin somthng I love aswell this year…to be honest I only did business simply cos I was told It was a marketable coarse…I knew I hated business from high school,as i used to sleep all the time in those classess cos I had no interest at all but I thought I cud wing it at varsity,I was wrong…th first year it was ok,excited bou being in varsity but as time went on,I became so depressed I sometimes ddnt evn bothr goin to class…the time spent out of school made me realise what i truly want to do and th direction I wish to go in life….

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