My Father's Nightmare…Is What I Am Now!

There is an excellent play at Soulpepper Theatre (in Toronto’s Distillery District) on at the moment called Kim’s Convenience, which is about a Korean family and their first generation Westernized children.  Basically, the father has high hopes for his children and he also wants one of the kids to continue running the family business, a convenience store.  This is my second time watching and the acting was just as wonderful as the first time.  I don’t want to give away the plot, but it there are a few twists and hilarious lines (“Only skinny Asian is the gay.  That’s rule.”  “Fat guy is black, brown shoes, that’s no steal.  That’s cancel out combo!”)  To my surprise, before walking out of the venue, staff were selling books of script.  I bought a copy to read as some of the dialogue was in Korean and while it was easy to imagine what the characters were saying, it is great to finally solve the mystery of what was actually being said.

Kim's Convenience Cast Picture
Paul Sun-Hyung Lee & Grace Lynn Kung. Photo: Cylla von Tiedemann

Anyhow, the play got me thinking about my own father and how disappointed he has been in me.  His dream was that I would be a professional of some sort, such as a doctor, lawyer or accountant and I am none of those things.  I think I have a fairly good job, but it is difficult for me to explain what I do as I don’t fit into any standard job definition of what he understands.  Wanting to write or paint or do anything creative is viewed as a luxury.  This is not surprising, as he spends a lot of time working and any arts stuff is frivolous as free time should be spent fixing the house, babysitting the grandchildren, driving relatives to multiple grocery stores, etc.  I’m also sure that immigrating to any country is difficult, as well as raising a generation of kids who are growing up in an environment the parents didn’t grow up in.  On a recent multi-family road trip with some teenagers and their parents, I remember the teenagers complaining that their parents didn’t understand them.  I told them that quite frankly, their parents will probably never understand them as we all grew up in different countries and are exposed to so many different things culturally.  Maybe I sounded like an old person, but I told them that they should think from their parent’s point of view sometimes as things are difficult for them as well and to respect the elders regardless.  My advice was ignored as they started to yell rudely at their mother to pack all the luggage and to remember the cell phone power cords.

My father once said to me that I should specialize in something and do one thing very well in my career…or else I would know a bit of everything and not be good in anything!  Over time, the latter has happened as I haven’t been focused on just doing one thing.  I think I have attention deficit disorder (ADD) or some sort of impatient person syndrome as I get bored with things over time easily and I like having the adrenaline rush of trying or doing new things.  However, I have been fortunate to also not be afraid to jump at opportunities when I see them, so I have worked on some incredible projects.  I’m sure he is thinking about job stability, etc, but I think in my generation, one doesn’t really have job stability anymore.   As I keep looking ahead all the time for new/exciting prospects, having a bit of ADD is perhaps an advantage as you can gain skills in lots of stuff and apply them to roles not necessarily in your field.  Here’s hoping that some of the selling skills I have learned in side marketing jobs will help me with this book stuff!

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