Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Choices

I wrote this last year when I was between the time that my temp job ended and I started back to school. It's been lurking in my draft folder, and doesn't reflect where I am now, but I thought that rather than deleting the post I may as well finally hit the "publish" button on it. As you may guess from the tone, I was very frustrated at the time. I think it's actually the tone that made me decide to keep it to myself, since I couldn't write on this topic without being angry.

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May I just say, it's pretty amazing how many people will find out just a few details about my life and then feel qualified to tell me how I'm living it wrong.

Apparently there's a certain order that people are supposed to do things in.

1) Finish high school
2) Go get a four year college degree
3) Move out of your parents house, finally

Because I've chosen to get my own place before finishing my degree, people of an older generation often (though I'll admit not always) seem to feel it is their right (or duty) to criticize me. Without even asking why they start telling me why I should stay with my parents for as long as possible.

"Stay home, let your parents worry about the bills!"

"Really, grocery shopping is a pain."

"But your mom's doing the laundry right now!" 

No, mine isn't. So this one cracks me up.

"Don't worry about responsibility yet! Just finish your degree."

Don't even get me started on why I will tune someone out once they use this last argument on me. Let's just say that I find it hard to take someone seriously when they suggest that attending school means I'm free of responsibility.

There was one woman who got so insistent on trying to change my life that I finally had to say "Hey, you aren't telling me anything that I haven't spent the last two years considering. And yeah, I've had my own place before, so I know all about paying bills and grocery shopping. Just, stop." Because I have heard it all. And I have considered it all. And a relative stranger isn't going to change my mind.

I also have to point out that even though my home life is ok, that isn't the case for everyone. My own reasons for moving out are to do with independence, but others might be making this decision because they're worried about their safety. The fact that those individuals receive the same advice that I do from people who know nothing about them seems pretty mind boggling and really sad to me. And, I'll admit, it bothers me if I let myself think about them being told these same things, which I guarantee they are.

*deep breath*

It would be really nice if people stopped telling relative strangers how to live their life based on only a few details. It's one thing to advise someone who you've gotten to know. You know, like advising friends and loved ones. But someone who you've barely even had one proper conversation with? How can you expect to give them good life advice?

I've wondered if I need to limit myself to only telling relative strangers of my own generation about my goals. I've never had anyone in their 20's criticize me for wanting my own place soon. Instead, they'll tell me that they know how hard it is to return to living with your parents after having your own place, no matter how much you love them. Once you get a bit of freedom, it's hard to give that up. I don't know if there's a cultural difference between my own generation and older generations that causes this difference in attitude, or if my own generation is still young enough to appreciate what it's like to not be dependent on someone else.

But you want to know what I really hate about constantly receiving the above advice when I don't try to hide my goals? I find myself thinking the following: "The adults are bugging me again." I probably don't need to explain why I don't want to think like that.

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All this still bothers me if I let myself think about it. There's some distance from the anger I express above because I'm now back on the "right track" that is approved of, so people aren't giving me a hard time about being out of school anymore. But I've never liked that our culture puts so much pressure on people to follow a particular path, and it's personal for me now after I've experienced the disapproval for myself.

Sunflower, since I want something pleasant here

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