My Support System


I did not make life easy for my parents.

During my toddler years, they worried over my introversion. During my junior high/high school years, they worried over my fiery temper. During my college years, they worried throughout the course of an abusive relationship I couldn’t bring myself to leave, and then worried some more when I fell into a deep depression and dropped out of college. (I eventually went back to [a different] school and earned my degree.) Post-college, they passed me onto a possibly masochistic husband with a sigh of relief, but still couldn’t help but worry over all my ups, downs, and interminable plateaus.

Throughout the duration, they’ve (for some wild reason) continued to support me in everything I do.

This past year, I’ve been a bit…down.

I was researching career coaching certification programs almost a year ago when the newspaper I was working for folded, leaving me unable to afford the path I had plotted out for myself. As time went on, I was unable to regain the income I’d lost, despite the progress I did make breaking into new writing markets. A couple of months ago, my regular income dropped even more.

Lately, I’ve felt stuck. Unable to save money, I’ve watched my certification plans slip away, seeming more and more distant every month. It’s something I’ve never lost interest in but, every month, it’s felt more impossible.

This morning, when my mother came for her weekly coffee-and-a-bagel visit, I was feeling particularly despondent. I explained my frustration to her. Later on in the afternoon, my mother called on the phone, stating that she and my dad had discussed things, and wanted to offer me a zero-interest loan for the certification program.

I’ve been feeling a mix of emotions since:


I’m a failure, aren’t I?

On the brink of 29, why can’t I fend for myself? And why haven’t they thrown their hands up in disgust by now and walked away?


I’m terrified, really.

While I’ve always felt fairly confident that I could make wonderful things happen once I had my certification…what happens if I don’t? What happens if I fail?

It’s one thing to fail with my own money. It’s another thing entirely to fail with theirs.


I feel like crying. I have been crying. I feel as if my heart could burst.

This is my family, and they would do anything for me. Knowing this blows me away.

I’m curious: Do you think less of me now? Have you ever had to put aside your pride and lay yourself at someone else’s feet?

Am I doing the right thing if I accept?

Related: Finding Someone to Drag You to the Finish Line


  1. Oh my gosh, I am sitting here feeling very similar right now. For months now I have been totally ambivalent and confused about my career.

    In 2007 I was freelancing and getting tired of getting paid upon publication and chasing down payments. Then I got a full-time writing job and decided to freelance part-time. It was the easiest, highest paying job I’ve ever had and it lasted all but three months until I was laid off. I couldn’t find another job and knew it would be impossible. That’s when I decided to go with a backup plan. That’s when I went to school for an A.S. in Interior Design.

    I love interior design, but I’m terrified of going into another field. Writing is my first love and it comes so easily. Plus, I am NOT excited about starting all over again. I really don’t know if I’m going to go into this new field full-force (I did get a part-time job, but it’s very entry-level and menial), especially considering I want to get pregnant late next year. I feel like I’m just biding my time until my husband finishes his degree and gets a ‘real’ job (how bad does that sound?!). I also get disappointed that I’d be homeless if I were single and my income sucks right now!

    Going to school has limited me to part-time work, but as I am finishing my last three classes I am very unsure of what I’m going to do. Long story short, even if I don’t go become a full-fledged interior designer I will be glad I at least tried. And I can always parlay my education into a writing specialty. I think you can do the same with coaching. Is this what you were planning on doing, or did you want to quit writing altogether?

    I’m sure all your parents want is for you to be happy pursuing what you want to pursue. Neither of us know where we are going to end up eventually, but if our gut is telling us to go for something we’ve got to do it — or way may regret it!

  2. I definitely do not think less of you know, and if you happen to find anyone who does, let me know so that I can think so less of them, they disappear all together!

    I think that if I were in your shoes, I’d be feeling everything you’re feeling too, especially the fear of failing with their money. But you were so excited about the certification back when you had the means to save for it, so it seems to me that it’s really something you want to do. Look at it this way, if a great paying gig fell in your lap tomorrow and you could put all the income toward the certification right away, would you do it? If yes, then think of the loan as a great paying gig and call it ‘being a very loved and cherished daughter’.

    Parents want their kids to be happy. My husband and I took a leave from our great paying, steady jobs and our parents supported us. His parents lent him the money to pay off a major loan for him so we could move to England and he could pursue music. Mine organised ALL the logistics of our wedding while we were on another continent. We lived with his parents for four months while we found jobs. We’ll never be able to pay them back in full for any of that stuff and we’re not expected to. But there’s a good chance that if we have kids, we’ll pay for it then – and gladly.

  3. Hey, you have a solution to your dilemma. I think it’s great they have offered you a loan. Your parents do what so many people do in a time like this: They have offered you a hand up — not a hand out. I wish you the best of luck in your program and much success after completion. These are odd times right now, so I think what we once thought “normal” or “abnormal” are different. Thanks for sharing your experiences.

  4. I’ve been a lurker for a little while, but I had to comment on this. I definitely don’t think less of you — on the contrary, it takes guts to be so honest about what you’re feeling. I’ve been thinking about failure a lot lately too, and how it seems to have this grip on my life and what I want to accomplish. I have clear-cut ideas about what I want to do (publish a book!), but the closer I get to it, the more scared I am, because, let’s face it: What if I fail? I’m a stay-at-home wife, which I enjoy, but sometimes I’ve wondered whether that means I’m failing at being a valuable partner to my husband.

    I just try to remind myself that the little voice saying, “You’re not good enough!” is completely irrational. It doesn’t love me. It lies. I can publish a book, because anyone can, if they have enough discipline and they’re smart enough as to what sells. (And good writing helps too.) And being a stay-at-home wife is valuable too, because there’s something to be said for running the household. Plus it’s experience that’ll probably end up in my book someday… 🙂

    You are not a failure. It sounds like the certification program is what you really want to do. Trust your gut!

  5. I have to thank you ladies for being so overwhelmingly supportive. After talking things over with my husband and being and emotional wreck and stuff, Ive accepted my parents’ offer. Now I’m just making sure that all of the certification research I did a year ago is still up-to-date!

    @margie: May I first say: Interior design! I’m still way excited that you’re studying that. :)I understand how you feel, however, about starting from the bottom all over again. It’s frustrating, but also worth it if you think it’s a field you’ll enjoy!

    I also understand your frustration over your financial situation, I, too, would be homeless if I wasn’t married. Actually, I would still be living in my childhood bedroom, which is almost as bad.

    As for my plans, I plan to continue with my writing (I love it too much to give up), but am hoping that my career coaching certification will legitimize my career-related writing, and vice versa. Plus, I’d like my coaching practice to focus on the publishing industry, so it all ties together!

    @michelle: I know, deep down, that what you say is true. My husband actually said something similar to what you said, about paying it forward to our own children! I’m just always left wishing that I could repay my parents in some significant way. ::sigh:: I suppose having an awesome daughter will have to be enough. 🙂

    @stacy: I have my fingers crossed for success! Deep down, I know that this loan is the only way I can move forward in this direction, and I’m greatly that I have that opportunity.

    @Lesley: I so get what you’re saying about being a valuable partner to your husband! I am constantly wracked with guilt because I’m not able to lend more financial support.

    Then again…he’d probably starve without me. Score for housewives!


  1. […] last Friday’s angst over my stalled career and my parents’ offer of a loan, things have been […]

Speak Your Mind