Saturday, March 17, 2012

Ridic Parental Expectations

In the last year, my dad has proposed no fewer than the following suggestions for what I could still manage to do career-wise with my horribly unguided life:

  • Become a doctor. (Cue stereotypical Jewish parent jokes.) But minor problem: I studied international politics for my Bachelor's. So Dad and I spent an entire day last summer researching two-year intensive bio/chem/physics programs which basically feed you into med school afterwards. Still sounds just as awful.
  • Become a lawyer, an international criminal lawyer, to be specific. (I actually seriously considered thistook the LSAT and all!but no thanks. It's great work that needs to be done, but not for me.)
  • Host a travel show on the Travel Channel. (At 23, I clearly should have already achieved this.)
  • A subsidiary of the above: become Slate's travel correspondent! (A position that doesn't even exist.)
  • Write a book on my travels, and Paris in particular. (Working on it, actually.)
  • Start a business. (No specification in what, exactly.)
  • Become a writer for SNL and/or movies. (After I'd move to L.A. and just land the job, despite my lack of any related experience, of course.)
  • Go into advertising. (Because it would allow me to be "creative.")
  • Go into banking and finance. (This actually sounds worse than med school.)
  • Go to LSE or Columbia for that master's degreethe title of which he couldn't he even remember. (Human Rights Studies. It's OKI realize it's not exactly a common or lucrative degree choice.)
  • Just get any job. Please.

But I think the best one of all was this one:

"You know, honey, there's all this pressure on women now to have careers and all, but there's nothing wrong if you just want to get married and have kids."

Yep, my dad actually time-travelled back 50 years. If we had been living in circa 1900 Greece, he'd probably have married me off long ago to some rich mensch.

At the time of that comment, I wasn't even dating anyone. In fact, I was trailing at the end of my desert* period and living with the parentals in my suburban Florida hometownnot exactly ideal mating grounds. (I'm no stranger to ridiculous parental expectations or suspicions: when I was 17, I would hang out non-stop with my best high school girl friend. Naturally, my mother thought I was gay for an entire summer.)

In any case, I can't think of any worse thingshort of dyingthat could derail my life more than "just" getting married and popping out children. I think it's actually the worst thing that I could allow to happen. And with my luck, whoever I'd marry would have this weird fascination with living in that city of lovers and literature, that global cosmopolitan hub of culture and sophistication (riiiiiight).

But I've digressed. The truth is, while the "OMG-what-should-I-do-with-my-life-OMG?!" hyperventilative question did overwhelm me just a year ago, I feel like I've found my track. No, I don't know exactly where I'm heading (does anyone?), but where I am now just feels right.

I didn't feel that in Paris.
I didn't feel that in Israel.
I didn't feel that in The Hague.
But I do feel it here as I sit writing this random entry in an equally random Brooklyn cafe.

Maybe this is the part where I get to breathe a sigh of relief in knowing that though Dad might still be worryingI'm finally finding my way.

*Four year period in which I was miserably single in the so-called "City of Love."

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