It’s been five months and I have come along way, from experiencing new things to meeting new people. I’ve done things that I didn’t think were for me and enjoyed most of them. I wouldn’t be here, I wouldn’t have made it this far if it wasn’t for my parents. I’m lucky to have some great friends in my life but I’m also so grateful for everything my parents have done. They too ultimately have come along way, perhaps without wanting to, without even realising it but they have and for that alone, I love them even more.
Here’s the thing, before I ventured out, before I even told them about wanting to come to Vietnam to volunteer, I was dreading it. I was dreading their reaction and was almost certain they wouldn’t approve. They, like most parents say they just want to see me happy. That my happiness is their happiness but that simply isn’t true. How can it be? How is it when I told them what makes me happy that they did nothing but argue, express sheer disbelief and failed to even consider my proposal.
So, how is it, that this changed? When/how did my parents learn to let go and accept that maybe, just maybe they were wrong, their initial outburst was uncalled for and my plan was plausible. So, it wasn’t simply crazy, perhaps a little crazy, hell a part of them hopes that whatever this is, that it is just a phase and it will pass, I know my parents think that if they give me time, that I will come back to my senses
Give it time, they think, they say, and they will have me back to normal. ‘Normal’ – here’s the thing, what is normal? And why would anyone want to be normal? I understand completely that my parents don’t see things in the same light that I do because they only know normal and what I’m doing, right now, supposedly isn’t it, it isn’t normal.
The real question is – why isn’t it normal? Why isn’t it normal to volunteer aboard? To travel? To quit your job and take off? Quite simply because it’s not the done thing, because they didn’t do it, they didn’t think/feel/act/question things in the same way that I do so it’s hard for them to understand and I get that. There are more people like me, of course there our but it separates me from my parents and other people they know, approve of. I’m one of ‘them’ and it’s not a good thing.
What was difficult for my parents was, why would anyone want to venture out? Why would you want to go into the unknown and explore? Why take off when you have everything you need right here, you have to go very far and it’s all mapped out. So when I held my ground and explained that I was going to go regardless, they didn’t see it as being brave and they offered little encouragement. Rather, they listed all the possible barriers and things that could go wrong.
As time went on however, their attitude/response changed. I’m as stubborn as my mother and so when I did make it, when I managed to last 2 months in Vietnam, something changed. It’s never easy fighting/standing up for what you want or believe in but when you don’t back down, when you chose to continue regardless, they respect you. Don’t get me wrong, my parents may not entirely like the idea and they don’t agree with it on the best of days but they have accepted it and take it for what it is.
You can’t make everyone happy, very true, but it matters, their reaction matters, it shouldn’t or so I’ve been told. Their never going to change but they have, they do, it’s rather inevitable. Maybe that’s why I care, I give a shit about what they think. I continue to do things I want, knowing they will disapprove or knowing how they will react. However, despite, their initial anger, they come round, it takes time but they do. I almost feel that it isn’t the end until they do, something gives and there is a silver lining. It’s that moment right there when everything is more than okay, things are great, better than ever before.
Now, it’s not that I get away with things, far from it. It takes time, energy and a lot of patience before my parents come round. And yes, on the whole, they do, but it’s not always a given, of course I hope/pray that they do but in that moment, I never know, I never know for sure if they will eventually back down. So, it’s never easy and things sometimes get out of hand but you learn to deal with it.
When I have people say their jealous, say they wish they could do what I do, wish they too could take off. Part of me wants to question why, of course travelling around is appealing and not having to go to work is great but if I can get up and go then so can you. What I did was nothing that amazing, yes it was hard and scary and I was anxious but that’s it. They say when you do something that you’re fearful of that it’s brave – so maybe I’m brave too. Maybe I’m someone to aspire to, I’m not quite sure but it would be nice.
I’m not big headed or arrogant and for a long time, I couldn’t/didn’t understand why anyone would want to be me – why would you want to me when you could be you? But, finally, I get it, I understand that I’ve managed to do things that others haven’t and may never manage. I understand envious, resentful remarks that are expressed out of anger and spite because that’s all they know. Some people don’t know/want to know any better. Plus some people will never change, they will never rock the boat, they will sit there and talk about all the obstacles in the way, preventing them. It’s not easy, it never is and I get that but here’s the thing, no one ever said it would be. So, some people have it easy, great for them, really I’m happy for them but it doesn’t mean I’m going to stop trying to achieve the same thing if not more.
I’ve made peace with this idea that I will have to really fight/stand up for what I believe in or what I want. And no one or nothing but me can make things happen, I can either let the opportunity pass me by or I can take a stab at it. Whatever the outcome, I know I am responsible for it, no one but me made that decision, choice and I can live with that. It’s not easy, I have doubts and endless thoughts and list possible outcomes but when it comes to the crunch, I make a decision. We have to jump, we have to physically move because if we don’t, we are left forever wondering, what if? And others are left wishing they were like him or her or me