Monday, August 18, 2008

Call Follow-Up

I wanted to provide a brief follow-up to an earlier post about a conversation I had with my mom that did not go so well. During that very tense, unpleasant conversation I basically came clean about wanting to quit my job just so that I could pursue happiness on my own terms.

My mom and one of my sisters were in town this weekend. More than anything I wanted to see my mom so that we could come to some kind of detente. Nixon eventually visited China. The Soviet Union was all about perestroika for a while in the 80s. My hope last Friday was simple: if my mom and I could have an open, direct conversation about my Plan she would see the wisdom of my plans, she would be impressed by my maturity, and, more importantly, she would be inspired towards simplicity herself.

Well, so how did it go, you ask? Not so good. Jack was, as always, a victim of stupid, naïve, idealism. Following the format of my previous post, I wanted to share the following observations about our only face-to-face conversation:

Jack’s Mom Loves Him Dearly

“I love you Jack. You are a wonderful person and an even more wonderful son.”

Jack’s Mom is Set in Her Ways

“Back when I was young the focus was always to work all your life, take care of your kids and only relax after you retire. To do anything else is pretty much just being lazy. And I know you are not a lazy person.”

Jack Suspects That His Mom May Be a Bit Jealous of His Plan

“I mean, who decides to essentially retire before they are even 32? Look at me…I’ve gotten up at 6:00am every Mon through Friday for decades just to take care of my family. That’s the way life is. To do anything else is just plain weird.”

Jack Suspects That His Mom’s Ego May be Involved

“What am I going to tell your family? What about all my friends? What am I going to tell them? That my only son, the son who graduated from Ivy League Law School X, who makes $X a year wants to give it all up just to be a bum? Because that is precisely what you will be Jack, a bum.”


The bottom line is that nothing was really resolved; my mom still thinks that I'm absolutely nuts ala "who are you and what have you done with my son.” I may never be able to make her understand what this process means to me or how much I value this new life I am slowly crafting for myself. But you know what? I don’t care. I can’t care. She is in her late 50s and has lived her life in her own way. She is who she is, just as I am who I am or, at least, who I hope to be.

What matters to me at this point is that I am, indeed, determined to complete this journey. I am focused. My mind is resolved. My will is unshaken. My mind is strong. I am not giving in. I am not giving up. And to hell with anyone who stands in my way. Including my mom.

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