Chris Schmidt (crschmidt) wrote,
Chris Schmidt
crschmidt

Family

I travelled home yesterday to be here for my mom's birthday, which is today. She's having her party tomorrow. As most of you know, for quite some time I have been debating whether or not to return to school in the fall, a decision I made recently. However, I had not yet told my parents - they had always shown that they were convinced me leaving school would be a bad idea, and I didn't really want the fight over the phone, preferring to at least attempt to discuss the reasons rationally with them.

This is the first time I've been home since I made the decision, so it's no surprise based on how I've been acting that my parents questions me relatively quickly on what my plans are for the fall. My father asked first, while we were on the way home from the airport -- "What are your plans for August?" "I don't have any, and I don't plan on making any." (He considered this a lie, something he has brought up repeatedly. Apparently, that wasn't a clear enough way of saying "I'm not going back to school.") After I told him I didn't plan on going back to school, he said that I was making a mistake - probably the biggest mistake of my life. I explained that I was sorry he felt that way.

At home, later that night, the fight continued. My mother asked for an explanation of why I wasn't going to school in the fall, and why I didn't just do what they thought was right for me. Some choice quotes from the whole matter:

Me: "I understand you think I'm making a mistake, but it is MY mistake to make."
Mother: "Not really. You have an obligation to go to school."

Me: "To me, getting the job I have is the biggest event that's happened in my life."
Dad: "No it's not. Getting into U of I was."

In the end, my mother asked what my plan for continuing education was. I told her that both Jess and I planned on going to classes at UNH in the fall, at which point she stopped me in tears and told me to stop talking. She explained that Jess is controlling my life, and all the decisiosn that she's making are only to her benefit.

I will admit, from the start, that my decisions are strongly influenced by what Jess says. However, my decisions are not hers. In this case especially, I have decided that I want to be somewhere I love, doing something I love, with someone I love, rather than somewhere I don't like (Have you ever been to Urbana Illinois? The flatlands are not all that impressive, let me assure you), doing something I don't enjoy, even though the people are great. This decision doesn't even seem like something that could be questionable to me, but apparently it's a major faux pas in their minds.

In the end, if they want to insult me, that's fine. Telling me I'm making a mistake, and that I will end up a loser at 45 and hate myself for it, is fine. I understand that they feel that way, and I understand that they feel that way because that's what happened to them. However, when they insult me to the point of saying that I'm not making my own decisions, and start blaming Jessica for something that I have spent so many hours debating with myself, I get upset. I stood up, walked out, and told them both "I love you, and I'm sorry you feel like I'm making a mistake." Up until that point in the exchange, I had been very calm at explaining how I felt about the entire situation, but that was a very frustrating situation to deal with.

I'm frustrated with the narrow worldview they seem to have. In the past, this has frustrated me to the point of inaction, but no more. I've made my decision, and although my parents can offer advice all they want, and tell me how I'm throwing my life away, in the end, it is my life to throw away, and my decision to throw it away.

My plan at this point is to continue working, and take one or two classes a semester at UNH to keep my skills up, and to make up for the classes I've failed, etc. I don't want to fall away from education - I don't want to end up going back to school when I'm 45, even though that's what my parents have assured me will happen without a doubt. I want to stay in New Hampshire, where I enjoy my life. I want to stay with people I love. I will continue to keep in touch with my family, to what extent they make that effort, but my home is no longer here, it's 1000 miles east of here, with the girls I love. I'm sorry that they can't understand that.

So, among those of you that read this, are there any major thoughts against this kind of choice of action? I do plan on finishing my degree, although I have no idea in what. I just want to take a bit of time off to relax, and think of what I want. Most opinions I've heard about that seem relatively in unison about the fact that this isn't usually a bad idea. What do you, my faithful readers, think? Am I throwing my life away? Is this just my parents being of an extremely narrow worldview? I tend to think the latter, although I understand their opinion and reasons for having it. Feel free to let me know in comments, or if you don't feel comfortable doing so, drop me an email or something else.
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