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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The Day I Told my Parents about the Big Trip


The day has come for me to tell my parents that I just quit my job (because I wanted to make my life better) and that I will be traveling for a few months. And it happened during the long weekend. Baguio City was being hit by a storm and the power was out (you can just imagine the mood of that evening.haha), I had a choice on whether to wait another day or just tell them right then and there. I chose the latter, so I just went on and told them about it.

Let’s backtrack a bit.

1) My parents are quite overprotective.
2) I’ve always tried to involve my parents in most of the major decisions I make. I just feel more secure knowing that they know why I made certain decisions in my life.
3) My parents, as with most parents, expect me to be successful in life. Given the fact that they put me in a very good university. And that I’ve been gradually making my way up the corporate ladder.

So I knew from the very start that this decision of mine may shock them a bit, or even stress them out. They’ve known for a few months now that I’m already planning on resigning but they’ve always told me that maybe I should find another job first. In retrospect, I think they never really expected that I would actually do it.

Given all of these, I never really prepared a speech and I had no expectations. I just knew that I had to have an open mind and remind myself of why I made the decision in the first place.

So going back to the day I told them of my plans. Here are their reactions:

My father’s only concern is my safety and how we are going to communicate while I’m on the road. And he keeps on negotiating for a shorter period of travel time from three months to a month (no surprise there. haha). So I really had to use my ‘sweet daughter’ moves to assure him that everything will be okay. Eventually after a lot of hugs and explaining the basics of the backpacking lifestyle, he just said ‘Basta may communication’. (As long as there will be communication.)

My mother’s feedback? That’s another story altogether. In summary, she’s okay with the travel part, all she wants is a beautiful pashmina and a nice necklace from India. Which is really funny and surprising, I wasn’t expecting that she’ll be okay with me traveling. :)

But she’s very much concerned with my career. Even more so with the fact that I haven’t figured out what I’m going to do next - job- and career-wise. Questions pop out from time to time as the long weekend passed by. There were moments when I felt like she’s disappointed in me and the decision I made. And these moments almost lead me to self-doubt again.

But one thing I learned about parents and about parent-daughter relationships is that our parents are human beings too. They have their own opinions of things. They have their own concepts of career and life. They all have their own pasts and experiences. We can not always expect them to agree with our decisions. And it will always be up to us whether to allow their opinions to bring us down or to just learn to respect them.

And that frustrating need for approval? That’s also up to us. Always remember, especially for us who chose to lead/try the unconventional life, that most people will not understand our decisions. Because it’s different and it’s unconventional. But we made this decision for a reason. And that’s all that we have to keep in mind whenever we hear disapproval from other people especially our parents.

Yes, our parents and the people we love will always be a part of our lives. But at the end of the day, we alone can decide on what life we’re going to lead. There will be a lot of consequences and trade-offs, but I think it’s going to be worth it.

I haven’t started the Big Trip yet but I already made these major steps that I’m proud of:

1) Down-sized my lifestyle to save up for the Big Trip and sustain myself for a few months next year while I figure out my next step.
2) File my resignation letter and tell people at the office why I’m leaving and of my plans. Despite the fact that I have been preparing for it for quite some time, the week that I filed that letter was pretty nerve-wracking. Again, it was not an easy decision to make but it has to be done.
3) Told my parents about my plans.

But one thing I’m very proud of (and pretty much surprised of) is that these important people, despite the fact that not all of them approve of my decision, were convinced that my mind’s already made up and that this is what I really want to do. And this, I think, is the reason why they all respected me and my decision. And I am proud of myself for this.

Even if only for these accomplishments, I’m already happy with the decision I made.

So major steps have been done. Time to make the necessary preparations for the Big Trip. Visas, packing lists, itinerary, etc.

Most of my September weekends will be filled-up with events: Sole Sisters' Travel Talk , friends’ pre-wedding dinner and wedding, flag football team’s league (go TSG! I really miss playing flag), and a Pampanga food trip with friends (which I will definitely blog about here).

So hopefully I get to fix everything before the Big Date. Wish me luck! :)