It is a truth universally acknowledged, hearing the words “I’m just disappointed” from a parent cuts pretty deep. But what about when the words don’t come out directly? When it is wrapped up in another sentence, or blares out of their eyes in a look.
I shall give you some context, after I did my A-levels I went onto do a Foundation Diploma in Art and Design. I did not enjoy myself and found the love I had for Graphic Design and Art had dissipated. I was always brought up knowing university was expected of me, from my Dad the most. My only back up subject was English Literature so I started a degree in this, Again, I found myself disenchanted and miserable. I dropped out, got myself a full time job and haven’t looked back. As reading this please bear in mind that I finished my A-levels back in 2008.
I am fine with my decision. My Dad however, is not. Recently it was my stepsister’s birthday, the drinks were flowing and the rain was falling, and he brought up the subject. Not to me directly, but telling one of his friends about the opportunity I had and I wasted. You may think I am reading too much into this, but trust me. I have had this before from him to know when it is coming. I usually just let the remarks go over my head. He had had a bit to drink and I guess just needs to get it off his chest…for the hundredth time. Later he went a step further, cut a little deeper.
He looked at me and gave me that “look”. If you have ever disappointed your parents, or anyone for that matter, you know the look I am talking about. It’s a mixture of disappointment (obviously), pity, sorrow and just a hint of condescension peeking out under a frown, topped off with a slow mo head shake.
So anyway, a few hours later he turned to me with this look on his face. And the conversation (short as it was) went as follows:
Dad: You know what. [Pulls face again]
Me: Nope. What?
Dad: Ahh, just. Everything you could have been.
As you can imagine, this felt like a knife in my side. I did an awkward laugh, lit a cigarette (I know, very bad of me!) and joined in with the rest of the conversation. Suffice to say I was annoyed for a while after this. More at the realisation that he has obviously spent a lot of time thinking about how I have wasted m life so far.
But I digress; the point of this is not a “woe is me” post. It’s to just get it out there that, it’s okay of your life plans don’t correlate to what others want for you. It’s perfectly fine to be 25 and still have absolutely no idea what you want to do with your life. Hell, I don’t even know what herbal tea I want to drink when I’m in bed reading my book later.
This life is yours, live it how you wish.
Parents, I think anyway, only get disappointed with you because they think so highly of you to begin with. Some are just much better at hiding this.
The most important thing is to enjoy yourself and do something you love, either as a job or a hobby.
Don’t disappoint yourself.