This week I almost fell on my back with an announcement from a close friend of mine: at 44 years old and with an enviable career on her back, she is going to take a sabbatical year to take full care of her children, family and herself.
It shouldn’t be a surprise to us, but the truth is that we were really shocked. Courageous and fierce from the beginning, she knew how to make a brilliant career with her performance and intelligence, and is an example of success in our group.
More than justly deserved, the sabbatical came at a good time: with the pandemic, she found herself overwhelmed to take care of her children and manage 2 houses, and with the forced time at home she began to discover a taste for domestic activities that she never had time for. The worst, she said, was that she was afraid to tell her mother, who always taught her to never give up.
And why in the middle of 2020, where creative leisure is celebrated and expressions like burnout is booming, we are still amazed and still afraid to tell our parents that we are going to do a more than deserved sabbatical?
It has a lot to do with what I finally discovered with my own relationship with my father: We live a life trying to please and meet their expectations.
It is not that cruel melodrama bias. Quite simply, we want to please our parents, we want them to be proud of us and all their efforts and sacrifices to raise us are rewarded now. Especially at an age where (toc, toc, toc) every year that they can be with us is a celebration.
Last week I was in a boring discussion with my father, because he has “selective” confinement to protect himself in the pandemic. To go to the restaurant 3 times a week, to cut and dye your hair, to go out to the bakery, to let the maid come every day, you can.
But traveling me, my mother and him to a beach house, where we will be alone, cannot. It’s dangerous.
Then I said that I would travel in my 44 years, even if I was alone. That is, the ideal, since it would make isolation. He freaked out! He said he had to wait for the vaccine, which is dangerous, that there is even more danger on the street than Covid-19, etc.
Not that he’s all wrong. Okay, outside there´s risk.
But again, it is a selective choice. If you can’t do 100%, do 80% and choose your risks.
Everything was peaceful until we started a new discussion about whether or not we had friends, crushes, boyfriends. Hence it is my selection, I prefer not to expose myself precisely because I believe that it comes from the friends and crushes hangouts the greatest contamination, due to the prolonged exposure time. And at some point, you take out your mask protection.
Hence my father agreed with the encounters, and further amended that while life goes on, you fail to find a possible husband boyfriend.
Well, then it turned into an endless chat. Hell.
Only my mother to dispel the mood with the call to eat a pizza.
When I left for my home, I kept wandering about it. Why the hell did I get into a pointless argument, knowing that my father never accepted my lonely and adventurous spirit?
Why I had to insist on arguing and trying to show my point of view, if he never agreed that I would travel alone, that I would live life well without anyone on the side, that I would rather spend on trips than going to the hairdresser and wardrobe to get me ready?
And then, in the comfort of my home and with a mug filled with whipped cream and Bailey’s, I had the light: I didn’t have to try to win in any way that my father accepted my point of view and my way of life. That simple. Because he chose his. Yes, he was able to disinherit his life as a single traveler to start a family with honor and 3 children. And he supported and supported his decision with praise.
So I choose my side and be brave to stand by it, not forcing anyone to accept it. Even my dad.
But it´s not that easy.
I was always the daughter who got the best grades to make my parents proud, and seeing their smile at being their daughter filled me with love.
But I have to accept it for our own sake that sometimes we can’t show our life as a school report card, but yes, their happiness is not exactly mine.
This does not mean that I have to change my lifestyle to finally please them: my life is one, it is precious and only I depend on it.
So the sooner I accept that, the less boring and boring discussions I’ll have.
But this time, at least he was quiet about my travels alone!