Dear parents, can I plan my own life please?

Published: September 14, 2012
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Many individuals at my age are trying to identify the best profession in accordance with their personality. DESIGN: ERUM SHAIKH

“We all live with the objective of being happy; our lives are all different and yet the same.”

-Anne Frank

Being seventeen-years-old and looking forward to university next year, I currently face the enigma of making one of the most difficult decisions of my life — choosing a career.

Although I would love to pursue a career in English and perhaps work towards a Masters or a PhD in Literature, my parents aren’t too fond of the idea. Their plan for me includes a good medical school, a professional degree, a job in a clinic or hospital, being married before I turn 30 and inevitably, no financial troubles for a lifetime.

Well, that would be brilliant, yes, however, that’s not really what I visualise myself doing ten years from now.

Many individuals at my age are perplexed, trying to identify the best profession in accordance with their personality and feasibility. Sometimes, however, parents hold a strong opinion on this matter. In the eastern world, I feel parents are greatly involved in their child’s decision-making process. Generally this provides a good source of guidance because of their experience, but if  it escalates to the level of forceful interference it may cause certain problems.

I do realise that parents encouraging their children to venture into fields like Medicine, Business or Law have reasons such as financial security and job security which are completely valid. Living in a comfortable house with two or more cars and a chowkidar (a guard) with a shotgun at the gate is certainly much more feasible for a doctor than for a journalist.

Pursuing Medicine would mean that in one way or another, your future is secure and you’ll be able to provide for your family more conveniently. Even if you can’t find a job in one of the ever-proliferating hospitals in the city, there’s always the alternative of setting up a modest little clinic with an initial investment.

These jobs let you lead a comfortable life.

As a journalist, however, you may not have a secure ‘plan B’. You’ll need to find work within the pecuniary cupola of a large firm where you’re generally expendable – be a newspaper, television channel or a radio station. Securing a job and working for several years at the same company might still not guarantee a salary equivalent to that of a mediocre doctor, or one who has worked for a shorter period at a clinic or hospital, let alone the respect that accompanies their profession.

This leads us to a more profound question of priorities.

What makes you happy?

Would it be pursuing a field you have a genuine passion for, with a lower income? Or would you be happier pursuing a career to which you don’t have any sincere attachment, which promises more money and a big empty house?

If you follow your dreams, especially one like mine, you might have to make adjustments to the way you live, your house may be smaller, your car cheaper, and your servant’s non-existent.

Yet, if in the end, you’re content on the inside because what you’re doing what you want to do and what you love do to; that’s what matters. Isn’t that what life is all about?

Read more by Zain here and follow him on Twitter @ZainRMian.

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Zain R Mian

Zain R Mian

An aspiring aphorist; often attempts writing. A kid with all the airs and pretensions of a proper writer though unpoetically deprived of the skills of one. Likes to read, write and listen to music. Tweets @ZainRMian and blogs at zainrmian.wordpress.com.

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.