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Choosing a Path

I discussed with a friend yesterday who wondered what he wanted out of life and where he should put his focus. He needed to figure out what the right call would be, as you can’t tell where the future leads. And you can’t. We can only make the most sophisticated bet, and even then, it won’t be up to us, especially if we share our lives with others. Life is full of variables, which can go one way or another. Add in the fact that, if one’s dreams and wishes are about something other than the usual path: job, family, and retirement. For example, suppose you dream of becoming the best climber, author, or anything else that demands dedication, time, and obsessive behavior. In that case, you are often met with others’ expectations to follow the line and criticized for wanting the impossible, or you restrict your social life because what it all comes down to is time and how you choose to spend it. But at the same time, it is only natural to want a family, a job, and a good retirement plan. Those things bring security, happiness, and connection to others and society.

All this got me thinking about my past and how I view the subject. I decided a long time ago to pursue this thing we call writing in hopes that I could someday do it so that I would earn enough to keep doing it full-time. I don’t ask to become rich. That’s not my wish. I just want to have enough to keep doing those little things I love and to be able to eat. I’m not yet there, so I have made compromises and went back to school to get an education as an OT, and now I work as a part-time OT. My husband didn’t care for me going back to school. He said that I was letting myself get distracted off the path. He sees my writing as the most important thing I could ever pursue, and for the past years, I have been giving away my time to something that might lead me astray. Though both of us agree that I have grown as a person while studying to become an OT and all of that translates to my writing. The philosophy behind occupational therapy just clicked with me, and it helped me to see people, our societies, and myself better. I even got in touch with my emotions and started to understand my complicated past with violence, alcoholism, and mental illnesses, and being able, for the first time, to face them as they were.

Yet, yesterday I cried when I got home, having to deal with the thoughts about our life’s paths. You see, my father was “a god” in what he did before I came along. He played bandy at a national level and was damn good at it. I remember all the news articles about him, people asking if I was his child; I remember all the weird calls from strange women, who wanted to come between my mother and him, and most of all, I remember all the stories of the deeds he did on ice and how he saved the game, how he was brought into the field from the warm room to score goals in fever. Yet now he is a drunk who cannot get up from the sofa, who sometimes crawls to the toilet because he can’t walk and disappears for days, and I’m left to think he has finally killed himself. My mother told me he was made to choose between our family and me and his dreams. So when I was just a little, I stopped letting him touch, feed, or be near me. He had become a stranger who devoted his time to practicing hard, going to games worldwide, and working. And I look to that moment of decision from here, with my obsession with writing and climbing, and I wonder whether he made the right call. Something none of us can truly know. Yet, I carry the guilt of ruining my father’s life with me. I know he made his own decision. I never asked him to give it up for me. But it pains me to see him this way, pains me to know he hates to think about the past when he was “a god,” when he was good at something, when he had worth, and when he could be proud of himself. Instead, he worked hard at the factory, devoting his time to what? To a meaningless job to provide. He did it for us, for how things should be done, and for what was expected of him.

We can’t ever fully know what leads to what. My father could have had a good life even when giving up his dreams. He could have made new ones. My parents might not have divorced. He might not have become the sad, depressed person he now is. I luckily don’t have to make such a decision. I don’t have a child to look after, a responsibility and a soul ribbed off me who I love to the moon and back. I can run with my life more freely, yet I or anyone else can’t escape the mixed expectations we are faced with how to live our lives. We can only hope that we make the right calls. We can only seize or not seize the opportunities that come along. We can decide to work or not work hard towards our dreams. Yet, there might come a time we will want to make it all differently. That is always the risk. But what if we let our lives slip past us without making a decision? Without a commitment to something? Without passion? What then? Will it matter? I have no answers. I think it is something we all have to choose ourselves blindly and make the best out of it.

Thank you for reading! Have a good one ❤

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