Should I drop my career, my dreams and future to be with him? Or should I keep hustling at my work so I can finally make enough to support him?
My dad gets into serious health problems sometimes.
8 years ago, he had kidney stones.
5 years ago, he suffered from chronic back pain.
2 years ago, he had subconjunctival hemorrhage (or as I like to call it, a bleeding eye).
Each time felt as scary as the first. And I worried he’d keep getting worse, simply because he has a bad habit of not listening to others tell him what’s good for him.
I told him to change up his workout routine because he always does the same thing — pedaling on the elliptical for 30 mins/day. Even though he heard me say, very loud and clear, “this helps your body burn more calories,” he still continues to pedal at his usual pace.
I even tried convincing him to cut back on his portions since he tends to eat mindlessly. But after every meal, he’d stuff his face into a box of crackers or open a bag of nuts, and gobble it all down in seconds.
How can I help someone who doesn’t want to help themselves?
I figured my best bet would be to take the “rags-to-riches” approach and make good money from my startup to support my dad’s future.
Buy him new workout equipment, organic foods, tickets to see a new country, sign him up for classes he had been itching to do, anything to break his old lifestyle and help him become more active and healthy.
The only problem was, I was running out of time.
How could my dad face the same near-death experience as my grandma at the age of 67?
The thought of his non-existence terrified me. And I started thinking about the worst possible outcomes — how lonely my mom would feel. How quiet the house would be. How I wouldn’t be able to repay my dad back for…
That’s when realization slapped me across the face.
Here I was, hustling (day and night) at my startup, hoping to secure the one thing every human being works their butt off for —
Freedom to move into my own place. Freedom to eat anywhere I want without worrying about price. Freedom to travel the world. But above all, freedom to treat my dad to the things he hasn’t been able, or been hesitant, to buy.
I’m 28 years old now, still living under my dad’s roof, and still haven’t made enough to treat my dad to somewhere nice. It’s a shameful feeling, especially when in Asian culture, you’re supposed to start giving back to your parents.
And it made me think, how much time do I have left to repay my dad? For giving me all of his support so I can become successful?
Not much — from the way things look (my dad’s right arm suddenly went numb a week after his heart attack).
On the contrary, I feel very confident of my startup’s future. Within 2 months, we had our product built from scratch, fully usable. In 4 months, we rolled out the pricing plan and got our first customers. In 10 months, we got over 8k organic traffic to our site.
Based on this rate, I knew my dreams are very close. And that maybe in a year or two, I could finally take my dad on a luxury cruise or treat him to a 3-star Michelin meal.
Here’s my situation though.
I’m in Southeast Asia now, using the last of my savings to work at my fullest potential. It’s ridiculously cheap to live here. Rent costs $200-$300 USD/month and a meal (or drink) usually is $1–2 USD. If I continue to hustle here, I’d have a better chance of building the future I want within two years.
On the other hand, if I go back and stay in the U.S., I’d able to spend more time with my dad and make sure he’s at his best condition. Then again, I could only survive for 4–5 months until I’d need cut away from my startup and find a new job. After all, Silicon Valley isn’t exactly the best place for a struggling millennial to make ends meet.
So what should I do?
Stay in Southeast Asia to keep working on my startup and secure the greatest future for both my dad and me?
Or give up my dreams, my potential, everything I’ve built at my startup, to be with my dad?