Copycat Complex

I take huge comfort in the fact that my work week now resembles my dad’s. Granted, he works the late-late shift every day and I have normal office hours, but we are both off Sundays and Mondays and in a very small way it makes me feel closer to him, despite the 400 miles separating us.

He runs his mundane errands—laundry, grocery shopping, cleaning—with the same regularity that I do. We both agree Monday is a fine day off, mostly because everything is open and it is easier to accomplish goals or fancies while everyone else is at work. I know that if I need to have a lengthy phone call with him, I can call him on Sunday or Monday afternoon and he will be free. I look for these minute parallels constantly; they both reassure me and cure any bouts of homesickness.

Trying to focus on the similarities also causes me to take greater note of the actual polarity. While sharing my dad’s routine eases me, it also propels me to be better. Often I go home to my old, tiny room and stare at the ceiling until 3 a.m., formulating plans geared toward improving my family’s situation. I will be the first person in my immediate family to attend grad school, a heavy fact that I can’t ignore. Sometimes I spend a few hours kicking myself for not selecting the medical school route, which could have simultaneously made the grandparents ridiculously proud while also ensuring a more lucrative future. Time and time again I wish with all my might for a ton of money just so I could buy my dad a decent house, or send him on a long trip to visit every city he was ever curious about. The older I get, the more similarities I see between us, and although he doesn’t talk about himself I often sense the same spark of curiosity, of spirit, that catapults me forward in my own life.

At some point in his life, I like to think my dad had dreamed of more for himself. He has never tried to live vicariously through me; he has never tried to dissuade me in any of my life choices, preferring to trust me. By all accounts, my dad relegated his ambitions as soon as I was born, and since then he’s worked tirelessly to provide for me and my brother. He has given us choices he never had.

For this I am exceedingly grateful. Because of this my dad will always be the man of the hour. Who could blame me for playing the copycat here?

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