June 29, 2005

Odd Fallout

So, have I mentioned my mother's reaction when I broke the news to her that I'm going back to school?

It was... exasperated.


I don't know if that's the right word.

She actually protested! There was a small tinge of begging in her voice, too.

I probably should have dropped more hints or warmed her up to the idea more slowly. I DID drop hints, though, and I DID mention that philosophy was something I was considering. Of course, I did also mention economics, but let's be real: am I EVER going to do that much math? Hell no.

But now my mom won't talk about this idea I have of pursuing a doctorate in philosophy or anything associated with it. When I tried to talk about how I would be getting roommates soon, she excused herself and hung up the phone.

She didn't hang up on me. She excused herself gracefully, but quickly.

That's unfortunate because come December she is in for a rude awakening because I probably cannot host Christmas here afterall. (Should have taken me up on the invite last year.) And come January, communication from me may break off entirely because I will be completely immersed in school.

If we can't talk about my life, I really don't feel like talking about her life. This relationship may becomes unbearably shallow.

I don't mean to be callous, but my mother seriously needs to get on board.

Ok. Deep breaths. I'm trying to be in touch with my emotions, so let's talk about how I feel for a second, ok?

This is very hurtful. How's that?

I am angry and sad that she won't hear me out on this. I know she wants me to live a happy, comfortable life, and she sees this pursuit as being inherently risky to both. Well, mostly the second part.

She sniffs at idealism when it comes to putting it to practice. She's taught me to be pragmatic that way. Fortunately, I combined the practical sense of my mother with the insane idealism of my father (it's time we all admit that I get my crazy zealot streak from him, the religious nut.) to create lofty, long-range plans.

I think this is how a person should do things, really.

But back to me being hurt. Angry AND sad. Not just one! Both! At the same time!

I've tried to express to her how interested I am in writing. I've tried to tell her how important philosophy is to me. And both she and my father taught me to be a cheerful, patient, enthusiastic teacher -- more or less.

So, why doesn't she seem to understand?

When I told her about my plan she exclaimed, "What are you doing? First art, then business, now philosophy? Economics I could understand, but what are you doing?"

I had expected a bit of trepidation. I expected some deep breaths. But ulitmately, I expected her to assure me that I could do this and that if I thought I would be happy that I should do it.

I wasn't prepared for the way she really reacted, though, and I don't even remember what response I gave her. I'm sure it was cryptic and not at all revealing, which doesn't help her peace of mind. Of course, at hearing her reaction, I felt accused and my heart sank.

All of my friends and people who know me well have shouted with joy when they heard my plan. They all said, "That sounds just like you. I think you will be very happy." They affirmed that they thought that I would be very successful as a philosophy professor and also very happy.

But not my mom.

I want her support in this and if she is to remain an important person in my life, I will need her support.

I will give her some time to come around, but the longer this goes unaddressed, the less sad I get and the more angry I get.

Posted by Flibbertigibbet at June 29, 2005 09:23 PM

As Ellis Wyatt said, "Own your life and spend it on growing."

Posted by: Ice Scribe at June 30, 2005 01:24 PM

I think part of the problem might just be the native worrying over the progeny. In her mind you may be going from "MBA/business/career man" to "guy who wants to get paid to think". What's a better way to put this... You were heading down the career path slide and now have decided to jump off and get back in line at the ladder.

From the point of view of a friend it's very different. I mean besides the lack of common chromosomes. To me, you're pursuing an interest that you want to make a life at. I can't think of anything cooler than that. I'm honestly envious.

As a bonus you'll always have your current sheepskin to fall back on in case of emergencies. Because of that I'm not particularly worried about anything.

Lastly, you've already gone through risk identification and are proactively working to mitigate them. That's damned fine project management. You should come work with me.

Posted by: Jim at June 30, 2005 02:12 PM
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