Saturday, January 7, 2012

Dear Fatima.

Dear (28 year old) Fatima,

How are things? How is the future looking? Do we have flying cars? Hopefully phones and laptops didn't get any thinner, because right now they're headed in the direction of having less substance than a sheet of paper. I also hope that Kindles were just a short phase that died out...

Anyway, moving on. I'm sure you remember what a confusing time this is, our senior year of high school. Everyone's always in my face asking me all kinds of questions, "what do you want to study in college? What do you want to do when you're all grown up? Why are you working when you can just marry a rich man?" I just want to reach my arm out into the daunting and mysterious future and yank you here, make you explain and give some answers. Give answers to both the interrogators, and me.

My main question (which stems off into a thousand more) is one related to the question that jumps into the mind of adults the minute they hear I am a senior in high school. "What do you want to study/be when you're older?" I always answer with "something to do with writing." and give a forced smile at their reaction, the one where they try to quickly cover up surprise. I'm sure you'll remember that one lady at that dinner party that went so far as to scoff "writing?! I would have thought you'd want to become a doctor, like your father." Your smile was one like that of a serial killer, but you managed to keep your mouth shut.

I know everyone expects you to become a doctor. Most of them can't help it because Pakistani people usually want their kids to become doctors or lawyers or engineers. Something typical. They're not used to hearing what they think is a hobby become a career choice for someone. It also doesn't help that you said you wanted to be a doctor when you were little, and then...high school English classes changed all that.

So, did you go through with it? Did you go through college improving your writing, something you love and what you've been told you're good at? Or did you give up, and become something that's standard, something that will make you lots of money? Success isn't measured by how much money you have in your bank account; it's measured by whether or not you look forward to going to work instead of hating it. Remember your dad's friend? The one that studied medicine because his parents wanted him to be successful and hates it? Did you end up unhappy like him, or did you prove everyone wrong by doing what you love and being happy about it?

Are you happy? That is my biggest question of all.

I hope you proved them all wrong.

Much love from a very confused adolescent,

17 year old Fatima.

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