The author indicates that the conflict between pursuing your personal desire and choosing to conform are not easy choices to make because pursuing your personal path for your own satisfaction can lead to the disappointment of many leaving the individual feel guilty. However, choosing to conform 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 heartfully desired.
Personal desires are meant to be chased, they are what allow us to feel happy 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 follows what their heart desires. Individuals often have two choices, one is pursuing their personal path and fulfill their desires, or the other choice being to confirm whether it’s for a family member or even society, which results in feelings of remorse and regret for not taking the chance, especially when they witness others who’ve done the opposite of them. Many individuals lack the skill of looking past what their parents expect and want from them, and this leads the individual to constantly deceive themselves by thinking that it is for the best when they know deep inside that they are only choosing to go with tradition to avoid feeling guilty just for the sake of appeasing others. 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 conflict has two doors, one door would be contrition and unhappiness if you conform. While the second door would be guilt and remorse if you choose to follow your desire leaving your parents possibly looking at you with bitterness like the mother did in the short story. Personal desires are meant to allow us to grow, to develop, and experience life in the most fulfilling way, but unfortunately this is not thought of in each and every family, as many individuals grow up to have no other choice than to fulfill what is expected from them.
I’ve witnessed the result of pursuing one’s own desire and I know that its outcome is much more satisfying and fulfilling than one can try to handle from conforming. 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 believe I was in 8th grade, and Sumaiya who I knew from Arabic school which I attended every Saturday was in 12th grade, it was her last year but we kept in touch. And that meant that the time to apply for post-secondary programs was only a few months away. Despite the age gap we had, we grew close pretty quick within only a few months due to how much we had in common, and I recall how she always had a passion of pursuing interior decorating. Sumaiya would 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 seem to 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 of engineers. Now, I understand that when comparing both choices why her parents would see her choice to not be suitable, her parents had high expectations for her and they only wanted the best for her. Despite the times, she’d rant with frustration to the group on how close minded her parents seemed, and how they’d constantly remind her that it’s better to live a stable life in which she can be one hundred percent sure that she will succeed, failing her attempts looked like one of her last worries. When the time came for Sumaiya to make her final decision, she confidently chose to go for pursuing interior decorating and choose the path that meant happiness, and a fulfillment life as it was what she had always dreamt of.
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 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..”, we are shown how despite living a stable life, he is not satisfied, he is worrying on a daily basis, and neither does it seem like there is anything he 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 desired, especially when it didn’t seem like he hated the sea. Personal desires are pursued optimistically, like Sumaiya who was not afraid of going out of her way and pursuing something completely different from what her family members have been doing for years. Four years passed and when I met Sumaiya, she seemed happier than her parents had always told her. Both individuals were in situations that had high risks, as they were faced with two conflicts, the son chooses to follow his father’s advice of living a better life, but he himself was not satisfied and neither was he happy. Sumaiya, on the other hand, followed her passion which possibly led her parents to feel a little disappointed, but she seemed to live her life with satisfaction as she followed what her heart desired, where if she chose to conform then she wouldn’t be walking around with the joyful and happy smile she holds everytime we met.
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 will live your life, it is you in the end.