The author indicates that the conflict between pursuing your personal desire and choosing to conform are not easy choices to make because chasing after your personal aspirations for your own self-satisfaction can lead to the disappointment of others leading the individual to feel guilty. However, choosing to go along with what is expected can lead the individual to feel remorse, emptiness, and deep regret because making choices to appease others won’t please an individual deep inside as it was not what they heart fully desired.
Personal desires are meant to be trailed after, as they are what allow us to feel joy and make our life more significant to us. Each and every individual has their own path that they wish to pursue at some point in their life, but the sad reality is not everyone adheres to what their heart desires. Individuals often have two choices, one is to pursue their personal path and fulfill their desires, or the other choice being to obey the tradition and expectation, and that is whether it’s for a family member or even society, but they only ever leave us in feelings of remorse and regret for not taking the chance, especially when you witness others do the opposite and looking happier with their choice.
In the short story The Boat, despite the fact that the son did not go with tradition like his mother had wanted, he did follow the path of education like his father had asked of him in order to fulfill his promise. The father did not want the son to become like him but even so, the son followed his father’s advice when the son should’ve chased after what his heart personally wished for because in the end he was left unhappy. This shows that many individuals lack the skill of looking past what their parents expect and want from them, which then leads the individual to continuously deceive themselves by thinking that it is for the best when they know deep inside that they are only choosing to go with what is expected to avoid feeling guilty, just for the sake of appeasing others.
Personal desires are meant to allow us to grow, to develop, and experience life in the most complacency way, sad to say that this is not valued or thought of in each and every family, as many individuals grow up to have no other choice than to only go after what is expected from them. However, that doesn’t mean it’s not possible to make your own choice despite its risks. I’ve seen the result of pursuing one’s own desire and I know that its outcome is much more satisfying and fulfilling than holding back. This was something that has occurred a long time but only last year was I able to see the outcome it had on my friend Sumaiya. I attended Arabic school every Saturday for the past few years, and my friend Sumaiya was completing her last year in Arabic school and as well as high school. This meant that the time to apply for post-secondary schools was only a few months away. Despite the age gap me and Sumaiya had, we grew close to each other pretty quick, within only a few months due to how much we had in common. I clearly recall how she always had a passion for pursuing interior decorating, and how she’d almost, always pull out her notebook and show our circle of friends the sketches she would come up with whenever she wanted to keep herself busy. But the thing is, Sumaiyas’ parents didn’t quite fancy the idea of her going into something like interior decorating, they called it weak and not suitable for someone like her who came from a family that consisted of engineers. Now, I understand that when comparing both options why her parents would view her choice to not be fitting, her parents had high expectations for her and they only wanted the best for her. But regardless of the times, she’d rant with frustration to our group of friends on how closed minded her parents seemed, and how they’d constantly remind her that it’s better to live a stable life, failing her attempts looked like one of her least worries. And Sumaiya was really insistent on what she wanted to live doing, and I don’t recall her ever wavering if she was asked if it was really what she wanted. Finally when the time came for Sumaiya to make her final decision, she confidently chose to go for pursuing interior decorating, she picked the path she valued, and what she viewed as a fulfilling life, and in the end, she was happy.
In the story, although the son followed his father’s advice, it was only to fulfill his promise more than it being his own decision. We were clearly shown at the start of the story how unhappy he was, “Then I swallow the coffee, which is always bitter, and leave with a great busy rush because by that time I have to worry about being late and whether I have a clean shirt and whether my car will start and about all the other countless things one must worry about when one teaches at a great Midwestern university. And I know then that that day will go by as have all the days of the past ten years..”, here we are shown how even as he is living a stable life, he is not satisfied with it, he worries on a daily basis, and neither does it seem like there is anything he ever looks forward to or anticipates. This is the result of conforming his father’s wish when the son should’ve thought about what his heart really desired, especially when it didn’t seem like he hated the sea.
Both the son and Sumaiya were in situations that had high risks, as they were faced with two conflicts. The son chose to follow his father’s advice of living a better life, but he himself was not satisfied and neither was he pleased. Sumaiya, on the other hand, was not afraid of going out of her way and pursuing something completely different from what her family members have been doing for the past few years. And even when I met Sumaiya after she has obtained her bachelor, she seemed much happier than what her parents had expected. Her parents might’ve felt a little disappointed, but she seemed to live her life with enjoyment as she followed what her heart desired, where if she chose to go for engineering she wouldn’t be walking around with the joyful and happy smile she holds every time we meet. One path represented contrition and unhappiness for conforming. While the second path represented fulfillment and contentment for choosing to follow one’s own desire even if it left one’s own parents to possibly look at them with bitterness like the mother did in The Boat.
In conclusion, the conflict between pursuing your personal desire and choosing to conform is that both have consequences. You either live in unhappiness because you couldn’t make the choice for yourself, or you pursue your desire confidently without worrying about others, because at the end of the day the people you worried about won’t be the ones that’ll live your life, it is you in the end who’s living it, so you might as well follow what your heart desires.