“when i was younger, if i could do what i wanted to do, i would. just like you do now. as i grew older, i found myself in the position where i had to give alot of things up. gradually, they became less and less important and now, i have no regrets about letting go of the things i was interested in, no regrets at all.“
i remember watching an episode of oprah where she talked about housewives living in disillusionment because they give up their dreams in exchange for a family, reality, life. that’s apparently the main cause of depression among middle-aged women with teenaged children, a house in the suburbs and husbands who bring home the money and watch tv.
i came home at 3am yesterday, after watching a movie with friends. she told me she did not approve of me getting home so late, but she could understand why i sometimes do what i did. she said she would have done the exact same thing when she was younger. she loved hanging out with her friends, talking about similar interests, but she gave it up because her family was complicated and she’d rather stay home so her sister could go do the things she wanted to do as well.
after all those years of giving up what she loved so others could have their freedom, years of sacrificing for a family that wasn’t even her own, she told me that she had no regrets. after all, those things didn’t matter anymore. letting others have their day at the expense of her own interests made her realise that the greater good was far more important than herself.
i pondered over this for quite awhile. i’m sure she had alot of dreams and interests, a characteristic that i inherited. she was known as one of the most outgoing girls in her class. she wanted to become a nurse, and she would have been a great one too. she helped put 3 people through school. she raised a household. she abandoned her dreams to support others’ aspirations, and she did all that without regret.
is giving yourself up sacrificially for others the “adult” thing to do? the right thing to do? leave your dreams and instead use all you have to serve others? is ambition a childish thing? is it wrong to want to chase your dreams, to not want to settle, to continue to be driven by what you’ve always wanted your life to be?
what then, about the millions of discontent housewives around the world, the ones who actually have the luxury of thinking about things like this, the ones which my generation is going to be in the future? what about the research that shows that housewives are most susceptible to illnesses due to depression and apathy and lack of sunshine or whatever? is it in actual fact just a matter of changing one’s outlook on life?
perhaps i’m being childish, but i cannot imagine giving up my dreams because i settled for something and decided that i’m going to let that something, someone, be all there is for me. i just can’t.
however, i can’t deny that there’s a possibility of becoming who she is now – a woman who gave herself up for the betterment of everyone else, let go of her ambitions, so that others could achieve theirs. and with no regrets, none at all.
i can’t decide which would be my happy ending.