November 7th 1959
Dear mother and father,
I think you both know how much I respect you and look up to you. That’s why I’m going to be honest with you.
As I’m sure you know, this year we got a new literature teacher, Mr. John Keating. He has taught us much about literature and quite a lot about life. He has made us realize that we only live once and that we should seize the day. I don’t think you will like what I’m now going to tell you, but both of you deserve to hear the truth. After spending some time with Mr. Keating I realized that I couldn’t possibly let you decide what I’m going to do with my life. I can’t give up my deepest dreams just because you think you know what’s best for me. What’s best for you isn’t necessarily the best thing for me to do. I’m truly sorry, I know this breaks your heart, but I don’t want to study medicine, and I’m simply not going to do it. After all, I’ve never wanted to study medicine.
Father, I know that your life didn’t turn out the way you wanted it to. However, please understand that if you force me into becoming a doctor, my life will turn out exactly the same way as yours did. When I’m old, I don’t want to have to think that my life could have been better if I had chosen another career. I’m afraid that’s what’s going to happen if I study medicine. You do want me to be happy, don’t you, so please listen to me this time.
I’m not writing this letter to complain. The reason why I’m writing this is that I’ve finally found out what my ambitions in life are. I want to be an actor. It’s as simple as that. I know it sounds ridiculous to you, but this is my dream. I’m aware that both of you have very high hopes for me. According to your opinion of what success is only an academic career, for instance in law or medicine, will do. However, I have to admit that I don’t share your values. It is not at all important for me to get rich or to show others how successful I am. To me the most important thing is to make use of my talents and to spend my life doing the things I enjoy the most.
I know that acting is the right thing for me. Actually, I’m rather good at it. At least that’s what everyone says. Besides, when I’m on the stage I feel so free. It’s a wonderful feeling that no matter what I say, people listen to me! You probably won’t believe it, but I’ve actually already got my first job as an actor! I’m going to play one of the main characters in the “Shakespeare Theatre Performance”!
Dear mother and father, you know I really care for you and I truly hate to disappoint you. Nevertheless I have to go my own way and make the decisions that are right for me. I sincerely hope that you understand this and that you will accept my choice.