Monday, April 30, 2012

Does Passion Equals Happiness?


I love reading biographies of inspirational people, people we look up to and learn from, and people who achieved heights in their careers. Through my readings I’ve found that they all have one thing in common – they are all very passionate about what they do. They take a gamble, they suffer, they persist, and they achieve. But the question I ask now is if they were happy in their struggles? Would they be happier if they found steady jobs and could provide for their families? What would I say if my boys would choose tough routes in their careers?

I started thinking about how my parents solved this important parenting question. They chose to put education on the top of the list of their upbringing elements. To them it was almost as important as the health of their children. At a very early age both my sister and I knew our responsibilities. Having shown a great talent in science, my sister was bound to become a doctor. And I, who had shown talent in music, was supposed to become a musician.

So, when I turned fourteen, I got accepted into a music college to study piano. The job of a piano teacher was in demand back then and was considered perfect for a woman. But, this was not what I had in mind for my future, and, about a year later, I told my parents that I love to write. I am sure that my parents thought something in line of “what kind of job is that!” They wanted much more security than that for their daughter’s future. They knew well that if passion does not transform into money, then passion may turn into misery. So after long consideration, we settled that I would continue onto Conservatory and study piano and music history. Mom said that, if I still would want to write, I could become a music journalist after I graduate but, if that does not work out, I could be a music teacher.

As much as I loved music, I did not like playing or teaching piano. And, after we moved to the US and got an opportunity to start a new life, I could not even think about continuing my studies and career as a musician. I threw myself into learning English and, two years later, I declared that I want to write. “But why don’t you go to law school, instead?” mom said. “And if you still want to write after you graduate, you can do that. But if that won’t work out, you can have your law degree to fall back on.” I could not beat that logic and went to law school, got my degree and started practicing law. Somehow, I was so busy expanding my legal career that I forgot that I wanted to write… until only few years later when I realized that I could not live without writing and somehow had to find my way back to it. I felt upset thinking that my parents misguided me and made me forget my desire to write.

But now, I am a parent, and to me, the education of my kids is also on the top of my list. I did promise myself that I would never tell my kids what they should become. After all, we spend most of our life working and we should love what we do! But last Friday Alex came to me and said that he loves the “writer’s workshop” class he has at school.  “We learned how to write a research paper, and my paper was about sharks!” he exclaimed.

“Do you like writing papers?” I asked.

“Yes, I do. But I really like writing my own stories where I don’t have to stick to facts.” He looked very excited.

Oh my, I thought, what if Alex comes to me one day and tells me that he wants to become a writer or anything in that unstable and tough to break through line of work! Finally I understood what my parents felt and thought when I announced my desires. I didn’t have to think about this much when Robert decided he wanted to become an astrophysicist – he could do so much with this degree in his life and be happy doing what he loves. But what do I tell Alex? Even if he wants to become a writer, shouldn’t he have an alternative profession to fall back on? Should he follow his dreams? Should I suggest him to be practical? Were my parents right? While my road to find myself was long and twisted, I don’t regret it, really. It is mine, and I learned and experienced so much on the way!

… luckily, Alex is only seven, and I don’t have to decide my motherly suggestion now…

Any thoughts?

With love always,
xo Zuma A.

1 comment:

  1. This dilemma has been there for me when my child had to decide which profession to choose. I let her make her own decisions. I really think that they have to be in charge of their own future. Little guidance of course is very helpful! As long as they have their own passion in life they should follow it and try to do their best. As long as they work heard in achieving it they will definitely become successful, and it will bring happiness in their future, in their life and career.
    Love your blog!

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