Last month, I was on my way back from a work trip in Stockholm. I was flying back via Dubai, where I grew up. Where my sister currently lives, with two darling little kids who I barely get to spend time with.
She said, stop by and say hi?
And I dismissed it rather quickly. It was stressing me out.
With work exploding, it feels like I’m constantly behind. A couple of extra days off after a week-long work trip would only push me deeper into the ocean of undone things that I was already drowning in.
I am really close with my sister, so it wasn’t an awkward conversation — she gets it and isn’t imposing in any way.
Which makes it worse. The ones that love you the most get it, and so you allow yourself to push them away just a bit more. Because they get it.
They get that you’re trying to do something different, something arguably important. But their unwavering support sprays a shade of entitlement onto your psyche. An entitlement that justifies compromise, sometimes unreasonably, creeping slowly into a weird sense of subtle, subverted narcissism.
The reason I gave my sister was that even if I came, I would be so distracted and distraught with all the undone things that I would end up feeling worse than not visiting.
Okay, she said. And that was that.
These days, I come home to proud parents. Proud, retired parents whose goal now more than ever is to support their child in his seemingly good work. Work that’s not some run-in-the-mill 9-to-5, but something that’s trying to make things better, something that allows pride to be contagious.
I come home late, exhausted and hungry. Mum has already texted asking me, when do you leave? so she can prepare ahead. A plate is already on the table and the food is already hot — twenty minutes later, my dinner is done. Dad doesn’t even allow me to take my plate to the sink.
In those twenty minutes at the dining table, I am generally grumpy, uninterested in updating them or anyone about anything, thinking about the hundred things that happened that day and the next hundred that need to happen the next day.