I’m coming up on 25 years since my dad died. Many things you describe about your father sound a lot like mine — minus any kind of desire to keep himself fit or go to a doctor before it was way too late. I’m not from an Asian culture, but my wife is Filipina. So, Asian runs on her side of the family. However, her mom, now 91, lives with us, and for a fleeting few months so did her dad until he unexpectedly died. I know well the cultural expectations of giving back to parents and, in our case, giving back to the family still living overseas. All that said, you can help your dad, but you can only do so much if he — like my dad — doesn’t do as much as he can to help himself and listen to his doctors and those who love him. Family is important, yet you shouldn’t cut your professional life short in its early prime because of a guilt trip. You can build your startup, put it on firm footing for the long term so you can pay back your dad in a couple years. As you noted, if you chuck it all to stay home, you’re only good for three or four months until you’re back to Square 1. Paying back your dad is a two-way street. He needs to at least try to do his part. If you haven’t already, tell him and the rest of your family your master plan and that you need their support and understanding. Your business is your long-term future, your key to financial independence. Now is the time to sacrifice, and not the type of sacrifice that mortgages your future when you can live the dream you wish to come true for your dad. Tell him how what you’re doing is to make his and your dreams come true together. Meanwhile, he needs to do what he can to hold up his end of the bargain. That won’t avoid his inevitable physical decline, but maybe it’ll perk him up knowing he has a goal to shoot for. Wishful thinking, maybe. Yet, you’ve got a good start in life many others would wish for. Keep your goal in sight and hope everyone else — especially you dad — understands and offers support. You’re not being selfish. You’ve got a vision and a plan and a life to fulfill.

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