This is around the time 3 years ago that I decided I wanted to move out and into a place I could call my own.
I was 24 and felt like if I was going to do my own thing I had to start somewhere. The home I grew up in has some strange vibrations that come with it, although I don’t blame my parents for that. There are just a lot of things that make it a difficult place to live. I could write a whole blog post just detailing how weird I feel about this house, but that’s not what this is really about.
This is about the resistance I encounter when I try to visualize how I actually want to exist and the kind of routine I want to create in my life. Spending the last few months living with my parents during quarantine has been eye-opening in a lot of ways, and as frustrating as it can be sometimes, I’m honestly so grateful to have this time with them. It’s simply a part of my nature to want to work with someone rather than against them, even when the person drives me crazy sometimes.
So as much as I picture myself living off the beaten path on a nice plot of land that has a big garden and a little cottage that doubles as an animal sanctuary and really just running shit like my own boss, I recognize that I’m still in this stage for a reason. Even though I don’t get much privacy living here, I’m incredibly blessed with two of the coolest hippie-artist parents a gal could have. There’s still a lot that I can learn from them about life, and in return I can help them avoid breaking their backs trying to spruce up their property. Not to mention that they’re getting up there in age and there are some serious wellness benefits in staying young at heart, which is something I've gotten pretty good at.
I have to hand it to my parents for always encouraging me to explore things that I was passionate about - NEVER putting me down to say I was wasting my time if I couldn’t turn something into a career, allowing me to define what makes me happy without forcing their own vision of my future down my throat, telling me how proud they are of me when I’m suffocating myself with doubt and worthlessness... I’m going to start crying if I keep going. But basically I feel like I owe it to them at this point in my life to use all the skills I’ve been gathering to make sure they’re living their best lives before I go off and leave them behind.
You see, I’ve spent a year living at home since I moved back in, and it’s taken that much time to really process what I gained from leaving in the first place and how I can use that to get myself back on track with creating the life I want. There’s a little problem with that, though, and that’s the fact that nobody expected me to move back in after being moved out for 2 years, and the house was really in disarray. My parents have some hoarding tendencies and unfortunately I inherited some of them as well. I was not in a good place at the time so I just did the bare minimum to make some space for myself to survive and go through the motions of the daily life I was used to - work, gym, sleep. I got comfortable even with the mess around me because I was just assuming there was nothing I could do to change it, or that I would create tension if I started complaining about the way my parents lived. I already felt like I was imposing by moving back into my childhood room at age 26, and I didn’t want to stir the pot and give myself even more reasons to feel depressed and stuck.
After that first year of trying just to figure out who I really am at my core, I finally felt like I had the confidence to start making shit happen in my life. Literally the same week that I started making a serious game plan, Paka got diagnosed with cancer. I know I’ve been retelling this part of my story a lot but it still doesn’t even feel real so I keep bringing it up in different contexts trying to figure out what I can learn from it.
I would still give anything to be able to hold him again, if I’m being honest. I don’t see this heartache going away anytime soon, but I’ve come to accept that it’s going to be there and not to use it as an excuse to let go of other things I care about in my life.
For example, a few weeks after Paka died, my brother’s pet rabbit had a surprise litter of babies. I wasn’t even considering the idea of taking one in because my parents have always been very strictly anti-rabbit in the house. I had several attempts at owning a rabbit throughout my childhood and it never ended well. They chew whatever they want, do whatever they want, piss and shit all over the place... I didn’t argue with any of that. I figured bunnies would have to wait until I had my own little cottage set up.
Well, before long my sis got wind of the baby bunnies and had her mind set on adopting one. Now I started to wonder if I could pull it off myself because I know I would have serious bunny FOMO if she ended up getting one. The conversation with my parents quickly turned from a stern NO to a discussion of what part of the yard would be best to set him up. This all turned into a massive undertaking of outdoor and indoor projects that are still in progress.
It may seem like I don’t know where I’m going with this story, but that’s the thing: it doesn’t matter if you don’t know where you’ll end up. Just take a good look at where you’re at right now and see what you can accomplish from here.
As a poetry nerd I love a good aphorism, and all this has me looking at life like it’s a jigsaw puzzle. Before you start connecting everything it looks messy, but the more you piece things together, the more of the picture that is revealed. How you’re able to perceive your life in any given moment is the result of your combined experiences. If you look at it that way, it doesn’t matter so much what order you put all the pieces together, just as long as you make them fit.