Idealistic Vs. Practical

So last Christmas night marked the two year anniversary of my decision to get into pharmacy. My girlfriend at the time and I decided to go on a three day trip to San Francisco. We had a blast window shopping, going out to random restaurants and just enjoying each other's company. It was our last night there and we were having some of that "after-pillow fight conversation."

She teases me and says "Honey, I want....two boys and two girls." And I was like "No." And she was like "Okay.. three kids." And I'm like...."No." And with a sigh, she breathes "Two." And then I sigh, cave in and go "Okay fine.... two kids." Without missing a beat, she throws up in my face and I'm like "Babe... too soon!"

The next morning, I rush to the nearest pharmacy to buy some Plan B. (They don't call it "the morning after pill" for nothing.) Luckily for me, it was just the stomach flu. It was pretty obvious since she threw up like six times the rest of the night... but you can never be too careful. Unfortunately for her... she got the stomach flu. We took the Caltrain home and she fell asleep on my shoulder, exhausted from puking last night's dinner and then some.

During that entire night, I had been so freaked out about what we were talking about earlier. I was pretty sure that she probably ate something bad (Oh all-you-can-eat Chinese buffets... y u make such good Peking Duck, but have such dirty kitchens!?!?) but in the back of my mind I kept thinking to myself, "What if?" I was in no position to start raising kids! Hell, I just turned 20 the day before!

But these things always get guys thinking. Besides the chunk blowing, the past three days were literally the best I've had (so far). I liked being able to afford *the most* of our trip's expenses and fighting with her whether or not I was going to pay for something and that was what solidified my decision to seriously pursue my career.

These past two years, probably the most difficult thing for me was letting go of the idea that I won't have my "dream job" any time soon sink in. I think growing up (for me at least) I was led to believe that if I "follow my dreams, money will follow" and that you basically get one permanent job per lifetime and that most people hated their jobs and very few people do what they love for a living.

This is probably still true. The majority of Americans I've met always tell me to follow my passions, while the Asians (Fobs) always tell me to pursue a career that makes money. The "idealistic" vs. the "practical."

Next year, the majority of students from my high school graduate year are going to graduate from College. Some are going to go to upper division while the rest will start looking for jobs. If there's one thing I've learned contemplating about work and happiness these past two years it's this: Most people my age don't know shit about what they're passionate about. At least career wise. And there's nothing wrong with that! You have the rest of your life to figure that out, but...! The real world isn't going to wait for you.

My surrogate mother and I were having a conversation about a month about about how some Americans are too "care free" about how they raise their kids and that they put too much emphasis on "following their dreams." Although this is great advice when you're actually mature enough, as I said earlier, most people don't know what they want to do with themselves until well after college and as a result, most struggle for a while after college until they learn to get their act together. Even though most Asians have pressured to go into a profession they may hate by their parents, as James mentions earlier, we eventually learn that true happiness is success in and of itself and say "Fuck it! I'm not happy!" and choose a profession more to their liking.

My dad always tells me how impossible some things are, like becoming a musician, or an artist, or an MMA fighter. Although I agree with what he's trying to tell me, I think his wording needs to be tweaked. It's not that it's impossible, it's just that it's really hard to be successfully mainstream. I think the most important thing to tell your kids is to ask whether or not they like chasing something that they may or may not truly love while worrying about money and even IF they spent years cultivating their talents and working their asses off, there's ALWAYS that possibility that they may not make it....or if they'd rather be financially secure while trying to figure out what they truly care about.

Like I said earlier, I like having money. I like travelling, I LOVE food even more and I like going out to nice restaurants whenever I want. I just started to get into cars and OMG I want a beemer when I grow up. I want need the ability to be financially ready just in case my future wife tell me that she's got a bun in the oven (even if I'm not emotionally).

I like drawing again. I like being able to play instruments, hearing my emotions transform into audible sound as I strike the notes. I'm at that age now that I can draw or play whatever the hell I want and no one will complain about it. Even though I'm working my ass off preparing myself to get into pharmacy school, I'm taking whatever free time I have to rediscover myself. So what if I'm taking a stereotypical Asian job? What's important is whether or not I'm happy... and goddammit I'm going to be happy.

- Tommy
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