Familial expectations vs. my own life; what do I do?


I know the answer seems so obvious when you just read the title, and yeah it probably is, but it’s just not as easy as one would think…

My brother is studying at MIT to be an aerospace engineer. My other brother is studying archaeo-paleontology. My dad is an engineer and my mother works in a lab. No one in my family has gotten below a 34 on the ACT. We have a rich history of academic excellence, scholarship, and esteemed career choices. I told myself for almost my entire life that I was going to be a neuroscientist. But lately, I’ve been questioning the entirely of my life’s choices. I don’t want to go into a crazy hard scientific field; I want to perform. I’ve done choir and band for a long time, and I’ve spent most of my life surrounded by musical theatre, and I hate ringing my own bell like this but I can write songs and sing and play guitar and piano. I’m decently skilled. It sounds so stupid but I dream of performing in a band and touring the country and my family has actually laughed at that idea; not that I’ve directly brought it up.

I bring up the idea jokingly and kind of laugh it off as if it were a joke, but I guess it’s not, and if I even bring it up somewhat seriously, my family cringes at the idea. The one time that I almost said that was what I wanted to do, my mom said “oh god, please don’t do that” and I shut my mouth that instant.

I don’t feel like I’ll be fulfilled if I don’t do it though, I’ll live my whole life regretting that I didn’t at least go for it. My parents say they support us in whatever we do and my mom keeps saying she’s always wanted a kid who understood that there were so many other paths to success than the standard high school, college, career path, but whenever I mention doing something other than high school, college, and then career, she responds so negatively and says it’s a bad idea.

I just really want this. I know I could make it. I don’t even want to be famous, I just want to perform, I want to tour, and I want to record music, and I want to do the thing I’m most passionate about. I want to be a musician.

But I guess what I need to know, is it worth it? I know it seems obvious to a lot of people, but I’d really need some family support to do it, and I don’t want my family to judge me for my whole life, but I want it so badly, I want to be who I want but I feel like I just can’t.

What do I do? How do I go about this? How can I live my dream and not disappoint my family?

Category: Tags: asked February 28, 2015

1 Answer

Its not that your want to tour and make music is "silly". The reason people usually don't want to go into such a field is because of the risk it involves. In every one thing you're good at, you need to realize that there's probably tons more people that are the same, if not better. But, you can't let this scare you away either.If it were up to me, I'd look into music, but at the same time, educate myself for a basic field (as a backup plan). If its your passion, then go for it. But you should try to think about the long term consequences too. Good/bad, short run/long run, all of these matter. At the end of the day, you want to be happy but you also want to live under bearable conditions.Just a way to think about the situation. Because the choice is yours to make. Goodluck!