Why did I choose to disappoint my family?

Odd right? In this time and day, why would someone follow their whim and ignore the “advice” of family? As we all know, our life in its most basic concept is a series of decisions that alter our lifestyle on various levels. Surprisingly, when I decided to relocate back to Tunisia after living four years away from home, I was met with the question “Why are you back?”. To be honest, I expected my (extended) family to be excited to have me back in their life. Yet it wasn’t the case. What is even more alarming is that even acquaintances and friendly faces had the same reaction questioning my return home. I won’t lie to you, I was concerned at first. I thought I was so annoying and irritating that everyone around me preferred being away from me. Fortunately, the reason was even worse. Everyone was puzzled that I took the decision with my personal will to return to my home country rather than get a lucrative job abroad.

At first, this question was met with a funny smirk on my face and a semi-fake laugh while saying “well I wanted to experience life back home”. This answer was met with shocked and puzzled looks. However, at a certain point, the question was met with an annoyed reaction of what is wrong with this world. Then again, can I really blame them? A year ago, my biggest goal was to get the highest-paying job in Dubai. I am glad that it didn’t happen. Not because I don’t want to make money or work abroad, it’s rather because I truly forgot how to live in my country. With my constant limited visits in the past four years, I wasn’t in the right state of mind to understand this. Indeed, the political, economic, and social structures of my country became totally strange to someone who promised himself to one day give back to Tunisia and make it better.

Now I had to ask myself one simple question. Am I ready to walk my talk? A while ago, I thought that in order to make change happen, one must radically revolutionize something on a national scale. Oh boy, I miss how naive and clueless I was. I was so satisfied with the realization that change comes in the most basic and simple forms. The excuses and discouragements I kept hearing got to me at a certain point. “You are not ready to make change happen”, “You need much more learning” or the best one “You’re too young” How can I be too young in a world where the Taliban were threatened by a 15-year-old girl or where the environment is being saved by a 15-year-old girl playing hooky? It is ridiculous to limit someone’s potential with statements of the sort. Therefore, don’t pay attention to demotivating statements from people who are intimidated by your ambition. I am not saying that I will or can immediately create an impact in the range of Malala or Greta. But I am without a doubt allowed to dream big and work towards my aspirations.

On this note, I want to emphasize one major point. We are all grateful for our family (close or extended) and each one of us has the optional duty to make our family proud. However, you have a non-optional duty towards yourself. We all want to respect and make our family and acquaintances proud. However, we are under no obligation to make ourselves small or dreamless to make them happy. Everyone around me would have been “prouder” if I got the high-paying stable job within my field of study whether in Tunisia or abroad. However, I am much prouder doing something that truly makes me happy and helps me grow without getting that tempting paycheck. But remember, this is my happiness formula. Yours is waiting for you to explore it. Whether it’s the stable lucrative corporate job, the humanitarian medium paying one, or even the unpredictable musician career. You OWE it to yourself and no one else to attain that. So, go out there and don’t get discouraged if your actions and life choices puzzle everyone around you. After all, they are your choices and you will be the one that has to live with them. Just make sure you find your happiness formula and keep in mind, it’s never too late!




An aspiring civil society activist from Tunisia working in the humanitarian sector with a brain that overthinks how much it thinks! Inclusive and Safe Space ❤

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Iyed Hamadi

Iyed Hamadi

An aspiring civil society activist from Tunisia working in the humanitarian sector with a brain that overthinks how much it thinks! Inclusive and Safe Space ❤

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