[ 4 min read ]
Diary of an artist, Sunday, September 15, 2019
Woke up 4:45 am.
Certain well-wishers (and I really believe they wish me well) expressed their concern about things I do in life. I want to address those concerns.
Their concern is that I (a person who has a son) am doing things which the majority would not view as or call ambitious. Like not having, in my 40s!, a certain so called “stable” career, like taking up day jobs which are below me (below my middle-class background, education, and what I could be doing holding a law school diploma — what a so called “normal” person with a law school diploma would do with it).
Their concern is that I should be an example for my son, and a reason for him to feel proud, or, if not proud then just good about what his father does for a living.
That I should do something about which he would not feel embarrassed among his peers. Something which will not give his teenage peers a reason to laugh.
That I should take that into account when choosing what I do in (with) my life.
In other words, that I owe it to him in some way to hold a certain job / position in the society, about which he will be able to feel good. With which he would feel comfortable.
I will say three things today in my “defence”.
First. I as a parent don’t owe it to my son to make him feel good (comfortable / at ease / happy) through the life choices I make. Just as he does not owe it to me to make me feel good (comfortable / at ease / happy) through the life choices he will make. So it works both ways. Young adults (and then adults) often complain that certain choices are imposed on them by their parents or by other adult members of their families, but they don’t see the other side of it. How they have certain expectations towards their parents and family members. So if they want to enjoy the real freedom (do whatever the heck they want with their lives, and not be marionettes in their parents’ hands) it is only fair that their parents also should be able to enjoy that freedom. Otherwise it would be an unfair, unhealthy and simply a ridiculous scheme, which could (and often does) damage their entire relationship. Oftentimes they will pretend that everything is fine, but it’s not.
Second. That the example I set for my son (by making the kind of life choices I make) is not what a middle-class, educated, so called aware parent should set for his or her child is only one way of looking at it. The other way would be, and that’s precisely how I look at it, that I show my son that studying a certain subject or discipline for a couple of years in your youth doesn’t mean you’re now sentenced / obliged to do only this thing (or only things which are related to this thing) your entire life. Or, that not studying anything, not picking anything as your career in your youth doesn’t mean you’re now doomed and your whole life will suck shit. That you always have a choice. Will it be easy to make such change in your life? Probably not. Very likely it will be hard. Just as it is hard for me. But you are free to decide. And it’s totally doable. Which means that all the clichés circulating in the society about life choices we make in our youth and how they shape our entire lives (because changing it later will not be possible) are just bullshit. All it really is is a limiting belief in people’s heads — something they soaked up like a sponge without giving it a second of thought.
Third. The other thing I show him is that there is always some way to make a living (make a certain income doing all kind of weird shit and remodel your life so that the costs won’t kill you), no matter what you are, what your social background is, whether you finished a school or college or not. Certainly being from a certain class (middle-class in our case) doesn’t mean you can’t take up jobs which the majority of people from this class would rather not take up, because they would view these as below them (below their level of education, class, provenance, etc.). They would rather sit at home doing nothing, waiting until and hoping that one day the tide will turn and that they will again be able to work in their field. Meanwhile they will eat up their savings, sell their belongings, and mourn, and bitch about this and that (the government, the current market, the boss who fired them, the business partners who betrayed them, the new regulations which killed their business, etc.). Will they go out and do any job? What?! What would their neighbors, friends, high school peers, family think and say? Better to sit and wait. After all that’s what the majority of people like them would do, so that’s not something they should worry about. Nobody will talk behind their backs the way people would do if they started doing things which people from their class aren’t supposed to do.
YouTube videos and movies (since my last diary entry):
The Crown S.1 E.3 Windsor (on Netflix) Finished it.
Music for this writing session: Frédéric Chopin (on spotify)