I wish this were true. I have been contemplating changes for some time now; but I can’t seem to settle on which direction to take. Return to school for a Masters or re-open another cafe, I can’t land on either one.
If I return to school what degree should I take: English, Creative Writing, History, Law, Business? I am interested in them all.
If I go for https://gordopdx.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=786&action=edit&message=10the cafe where should I open it: in my hometown, or Portland, or somewhere else? I mean if location is undecided, why not throw all options out there?
Part of my decision is affected by a sense of duty to my father. I have not always suffered this feeling, in fact I have usually done what made me free. I keep people at arms length; this makes leaving easier. I suffer no entanglements.
Of course my greatest regret is walking away from my son. The courts called it abandonment, while that was not my intent; that is what it was. And it still stings.
I believe that moving back to Quincy, IL is the World’s or the Universe’s way of giving me a chance not only to mend fences with my father-our relationship has been rocky-but an opportunity to rectify that decision to walk.
The chance is there to make a better decision. To prove I am different, more mature, I feel I must stay. Yet I wake up almost every day looking for a way to escape.
It is not the relationship I look to escape-our relationship has never been better. It is the town and the people, I seek freedom from.
A few weeks ago, my father and I were talking over morning coffee. I often walk over to his house to check in and chat about life, and work. Part of the conversation had to do with what I would do next. He wanted to know if I planned to open another restaurant.
“I don’t know, Dad. I am scared that I don’t have it in me. I am scared I will have another Shanghai experience”.
“What is a Shanghai experience?”
I told him. “When I was in China, towards the end of my second year, I went up to Shanghai to look for a job. There was a big job fair at the Shanghai Library, for foreign workers. Now I suspected it would all be teaching jobs, but I went hoping there would be one company looking for a foreigner to do a non-teaching job.”
By now my second cup of coffee is finished brewing, so I retrieve it.
Continuing, “When I get to the library it is all schools. I am dressed in slacks and a freshly pressed button down. My shoes are polished; and my face is shaved. I am ready to impress. And I do. Many of the schools’ representatives question me at length. I pick up applications left and right. I troll the room twice, just to make sure I haven’t overlooked a company which is not a school or private tutor business. There are none. ”
Dad remains quiet. My mom would be asking all kinds of questions. And to every one of them I would answer “I am getting to that. Wait a minute.” Of course she would wait about 30 seconds and invariably I would get sidetracked and ramble on some tangent for 5 or 10 minutes.
“So I sit down at a table, with all my applications. I have my resume, head shots, references, passport and pens. As I look at the collection of papers in front of me, I begin to think of all the energy, perseverance, and charm I need to complete the process. I delve deep inside to gather all I need and nothing. I almost cry. In a daze I put all my belongings into my bag. Leaving the applications there, I numbly leave the room and the building. I am scared to think of opening another restaurant. I am afraid there is nothing inside if I look. So I am not even thinking about it. Instead I am thinking of getting a Masters Degree.”
Dad was supportive of the idea. He has been supportive of me since I moved back. It has been a real change for him. I appreciate the support and the change.
If he hadn’t changed, and still tried to tell me how to be and what to do in life; it would be easy to leave. I could say I tried and made the effort. Perhaps I haven’t changed. Despite all my travels and all my readings, and efforts to improve and become a different person, a better person, I am not that different than the young man who left Quincy 20 years ago.
My mother says that we should bloom where we are planted. And I have worked hard to be planted some where. anywhere but Quincy. Yet here I am. Here I am fighting being planted in this spot. I work hard to see every deficiency this patch of ground contains. I long for other ground. Every spot seems preferable. Even though I know this to be false. For I have found spots which contained many deficiencies.
I try to change my mindset, but I find I can not for more than a day or two. Part of my failure to change lies in the uncertainty of where I want to go in life. I can’t choose at this time. My focus comes back to leaving, and the certainty that I will be better able to bloom, if only I where planted elsewhere.
At least I know what I have to change-my perspective. I just don’t know how to do it. For when I wake up and see where I am, I can’t block out the deficiencies.
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