Kids have it hard enough in this world. Hopes, dreams and goals are important for them. Many kids though, grow up in a system of belief where their dreams, hopes and goals are dashed rather quickly. They are told things like “oh you can’t do that” or “that’s not realistic”. Or when they are actually able to voice their dreams and goals they are “brushed off”. This is done by the people that should be nurturing these kid’s goals and dreams…their parents. They are told they need to graduate high school, maybe go to college or maybe not then get 9-5 job but something normal something but not too far off the reservation, nothing unique nothing interesting and nothing scary “you have to do the responsible thing”. These kids grow up believing in nothing but the stark sadness of the life they have been taught. Then they become parents and often repeat this process all over again. Because their parents gave up on what they wanted that means they should pay it forward to their kids. So then what do you have…..?
You have a group of people who care about nothing except what gets them from one day to the next, one month to the next and one year to the next. They grow up caring for nothing really and floating through life with no real goals and no individual purpose. They have no real goals because they weren’t told they SHOULD have goals other than what is the safe and expected. They have long forgotten what it’s like to dream because they were taught their dreams don’t matter. That dreams are just that…dreams a fart in the wind. But aren’t dreams small goals? Don’t goals and accomplishments come from first dreaming in the first place? I don’t see how it could be otherwise.
When did doing the “responsible” thing mean giving up?
Whoever the fuck came up with this notion that parents, especially new parents can’t have goals and can’t accomplish their dreams that they had prior to having kids should be slapped….HARD. It shocks me when I hear this from people who already are parents and makes me question whether they even should be parents. It’s even more shocking because they probably tell their own kids this line of BS.
Since people have found out about me and Stacey’s soon to be baby I have been asked a lot about my own dreams and goals from family and friends. Things like:
“Are you going to finish school?”
“Are you still going to go to grad school?”
“Are you going to stop writing?”
“Are you still going to leave Michigan”.
“You have a kid now. You are probably going to have to think of a different job now right?”
AND then I get the truly stupid statements which are as dumb as the people who say them:
“Well you’re going to have to quit school and work full time!”
“You’re going to have to forget grad school!”
“You’re probably going to have to forget writing”
SLAP SLAP SLAPPITY SLAP.
So I’m going to answer them now and explain it.
YES I have every intention of finishing school. I am almost done and to quit now would be irresponsible and dumb. I can get a better job with my BA in Writing then I could without it even if its not the perfect job it’s still a better job. If I were to quit school I would be no better off then I was before I went back to college which wasn’t bad but wasn’t great for a long while. I have a kid on the way; I want to give that kid, Stacey and myself the best life possible so that means getting my degree pursuing my GOALS. This also means looking outside of Michigan for that job. I won’t limit myself, my future, Stacey’s future or our kid’s future and happiness to the opportunities in this state. Despite how hard our local media tries to say otherwise this state is a pit.
YES I am going to grad school. I even have my top 3 hopefuls picked out. I will get there….eventually. I want Stacey to finish college because I love her tremendously and support her goals in that. I am willing to put that part of my college off so she can at least get her Bachelors.
NO I am NOT going to stop writing. I am working on the next book (All the Roads Home) and an anthology of short stories and that won’t stop. With being in college full time it’s been a struggle sometimes to figure out a stable writing schedule where I can accomplish enough writing and get my school work in. I KNOW this will only get more complex once my son or daughter is here. BUT!!! I will figure it out as I usually do. I have to I have no other choice in the matter. Being a writer and a novelist is not the sole department of those who are single with no kids or married with no kids. I can name 2 well known modern authors who accomplished their dreams of writing and publishing while starting and raising a family. Those would be Stephen King and Nicolas Sparks. The latter started his writing career at about the same age as I am after being a working stiff. I know there are many others.
YES. I have every intention of leaving Michigan at some point when it’s the right time and when Stacey and I agree it’s the right time for us and our kid. This state sucked me back in a few years ago and eventually I will leave it behind. Where we will go is unknown at this time. I know where I would like to go yes, but it’s not just about me. But I don’t want to stay here. I can’t do what I want to do career wise and stay here. I don’t feel bad about saying West Michigan isn’t good enough for me…because it’s not and that is just a fact. I want my son or daughter to know there is more out there than what’s around the corner or block. I want to show that to them…I want to show it to Stacey as well. If I don’t have the guts to do it how can I encourage them to do the same?
NO and YES. Outside of being a novelist, I want to be a travel writer. Those are my goals, dreams and the career I want and intend to have. I am not dumb to the fact that kids are expensive especially when you are first starting out. While I am in school I work as well. I may be looking for a new job or work more than what I have been because that just necessary unless Running Northwest and the new books sales really pick up. What I won’t do is drop down to part time college and take 3 years to finish my last 3 or so semesters….I don’t think I need to explain the idiocy of that.
I think the last 3 questions have been answered more or less.
My education is important to me. It’s expensive AND it’s important. It took me years to figure out what I wanted to go back to college for then actually go. I want my son or daughter to go to college for whatever they decide that is and I will do all that I can to make that happen. What I won’t support is them doing nothing. I see an awful lot of people every day doing nothing, hanging out doing nothing but talk, they are living in the short term and only thinking short term and the doers are becoming rarer. If I were to drop out of college how would that look to my son or daughter? If I were to just say “fuck it” and get some shit job that pays the bills and walk away from my goals and dreams how would that look to my son or daughter and my expectations and hopes for him or her? It would teach them that it’s okay to settle and that it is okay to give up….it’s clearly not.
I’d rather my kid see me try and do 100 things and fail than see me do nothing at all.
Life is just not about me anymore. It’s not just about Stacey anymore. We will have someone important who will look up to us for all their needs and it’s a scary change…an unexpected one. But don’t we owe our son or daughter to do all that we can to do what’s best for them and for us? To do what will give them the best life we possibly can? We won’t always get it right and will mess up sometimes, things will be scary, new and weird and that’s just a fact. Being parents though doesn’t mean we can’t still accomplish the things in life we wanted to despite being a parent. If anything I think we should try and accomplish them BECAUSE of our new roles.
I know there are many out there who will say otherwise. Many parents and non-parents who will read this post and laugh and say I’m full of shit “MIKE you just don’t get it”. But what kind of life do they have? How happy are you? How happy are your kids? I wonder how many things they have needlessly given up on for no good reason other than the false belief that they had to. How many did that because that’s what their parents did? How many gave up because they are lazy or things seemed scary? Everything is scary until you try. Yes I do get it, I get you gave up.
If you are willing to give up so easy on your dreams and goals then they never really mattered in the first places did they? And if they didn’t matter then what does….probably not much.
My mom wanted to be a nurse, she wanted to go to college for it and then she had me and “chose” to give up on that dream. YES her life is pretty good now down in Florida and she loves what she does (interior design) but she regretted not going to college for a very long time. She regretted not following through with her dreams despite having me. She spent years working in factories and working as a waitress when I was younger. You know who convinced her of that? Do you know who convinced her that her life HAD to be just that of mother and a wife and that’s it?
My mom’s mom….My Grandma…SMDH. I’m not saying that life HAS to a bad thing and I am by no means calling mothers who have that kind of life worthless by any means. I’m just saying it doesn’t HAVE to be that way. I want more than that for Stacey and more than that for our kid. They deserve it and so do I.
I KNOW there is things that will be harder to accomplish then others once my son or daughter comes. I KNOW things will get more complicated. I already know that some things might take a little longer to do, see and get done. If I have learned anything in my life it’s to be patient and I’m still making my bucket list of things to do…I’m only 35. I want my kid to be proud of me for the things I did or tried and do. I don’t want him or her to roll their eyes because they hear me talk about the things I wish I would have done because that’s the same thing I do when I hear that crap.