Once you hit your 20s, pissing off your parents loses its appeal.
After outgrowing your teenage angst, you strive for the approval and support of your parents. And although it may be difficult to avoid disappointing your parents (having an Asian mother taught me that), you always try to make them proud.
When you make a decision knowing full well you don’t have your parents’ support, you apprehensively go down your path, filled with anxiety, doubt and guilt.
Here are a few thoughts that won't stop running through your head when this happens:
Am I crazy?
Having a close relationship with both of my parents made it hard for me to come to terms with the fact that we will not always see eye to eye.
Although we will never stop fighting about climate change and women’s reproductive rights, I definitely thought we had outgrown screaming matches that ended with my father saying, “You do what you want. It’s your life.”
Big decisions like changing your career path, ending a relationship or even getting a very bold haircut can be easily influenced by your parents if they don't back you 100 percent. And if they don't support you, you will most likely question your decision or feel like you're making the wrong one.
You'll go over your decision again and again, and you'll question if you should back out. You'll wonder if you should have listened to your parents all along.
Maybe they’re right.
Whether you’re a spontaneous person or one to write out a pros and cons list, you'll think to yourself, “Maybe my parents are right.”
When you get to this point, you'll think about all the times your parents made decisions for you, and how they were unequivocally the best ones.
Perhaps they pushed you to do something you were scared to do. Maybe they stopped you from doing something that would have caused you a whole lot of pain and grief.
Little decisions they made on your behalf formed who you are as an adult (or, at the very least, a semi-responsible functioning human). Your parents tend to get some things right.
But sometimes, they don’t. Small teenage rebellions that led to incredible nights out, hilarious stories you can’t wait to share with their grandkids or funny truths you let slip at boozy family BBQs are gems of wisdom you wouldn’t have if you didn’t take those chances on yourself.
Ultimately, it is your life, so you should live it how you want.
Isn’t it about my happiness?
Your parents will always want what’s best for you, and they would give anything to make you happy. But do they know what will make you happy?
And I’m not talking about temporary, meaningless happiness. (I’ve tried that argument before, and unfortunately, Daddy won’t sell his car so I can have a pony.)
The concept of happiness is hard to grasp, just as happiness itself is hard to attain. You never really know what makes you happy until you’re in the moment. Things can make you happy for a while, and then one day, they no longer provide you with that same feeling of fulfillment.
Perhaps in some respects, all happiness is temporary. The point is, you won’t know what makes you happy without chasing the feeling.
If this is a mistake, I need to make it and see for myself.
Perhaps it is self-indulgent to say, “F*ck it, guys. I’m doing it anyway.” But there comes a point when you have to jump or choose to plant you feet, regardless of other people's opinions.
If you feel like you know yourself well enough, and you trust you can make something work, then go ahead and do it. Stick to your guns and fire.
If it turns out to be a huge mistake, and you are left picking up the pieces by yourself, know it was something you had to do. If things end badly, but your parents’ feelings were spared, they will be there with a dustpan and broom.
When things turn out well for you, regardless of how you reached a decision, you will have their support.