Living with family, and going on holiday with them can be difficult as an adult.
Due to unforeseen circumstances I would never have imagined for myself, I’m living at home in my early 30’s with my mum and dad.
Last week I was on holiday with my sister and her little family, and our mum and dad. I’m carrying a lot of grief in my heart having lost a friend in a tragedy, being unwell and out of long-term work, but I was really looking forward to this holiday.
I’ve only ever been on holidays with my family or boyfriends and friends in the past, and only once have I ever traveled solo to New York. However I moved to India for over half a decade for work but I don’t think that counts as that became home and I met the current love of my life there. We did a bit of exploring together, namely around India and Nepal. But we have a whole lot more to do! Anyway, that’s a whole other story and I digress.
I was really looking forward to this holiday but unfortunately I wasn’t very well with my eczema (I’m nearly two years free of topical steroids) and had flared on my upper lip. Among other curt remarks, my sister remarked how it looked like a Hitler mustache. The comment really hurt because a) It was true, it’s a little red patch just below the nose b) It caught me off guard because I know, knowing my sister, that she didn’t mean to hurt me, she just couldn’t empathise because she doesn’t know what it’s like.
It’s frustrating to know that despite knowing someone for over three decades, albeit not closely because we’ve lived in separate countries for most of our lives, and there’s nearly a decade between us, they still can’t empathise with the struggles you face on a daily basis.
The second thing that really annoyed me was another day when she made a comment about me living at home, and how I should be making plans because I don’t want to be like a 40-something IT person living with mum. This caught me off-guard and I didn’t have a suitable reply. No of course I didn’t want to be living at home at 40, but for the time being it’s what I need.
Later as I was walking down the beach and in the days that followed, I thought and have been thinking the following to myself:
- I’ve only been living at home for 2 years and I lived out for a decade prior.
- I moved back for good reasons: to heal, get well, and spend time with my parents. This TIME I will NEVER get back. It was either drop dead from illness and exhaustion or come home and heal. No we don’t sit around the table and eat dinner as a family, that’s not us. We each do our thing – whether that’s my dad and his DIY, or sitting on his couch with his 3D glasses and watching NDTV on his screen, or mum in her beautiful garden or cooking the most amazing dishes or doing her household chores (that we fail to help with).
- I’m not the same person I was 10 years ago, largely due to things that I saw whilst in India. I would go so far as to say it’s PTSD. It’s not something you can plan for.
- I’m trying my best to move forward within my limited capacity. For me at this very moment today it means trying to wake up every morning and not have a seizure. Brush my teeth. Make a cup of tea and not drop the glass. Work on my laptop. Read a chapter without getting distracted. Write without losing my train of thought. Cook meals and take food photographs. Psych myself up to do my physiotherapy, and work out on my mat next to my bed. (Soon I hope to be able drag myself to the gym). And on a good week, message a friend and meet someone. Conducting these activities on a daily basis with grace and dignity add up and consume A LOT of energy which healthy people take for granted.
I would encourage everyone to spend some time volunteering with a “specially-abled” charity to understand and learn to empathise.
Having said that, I’m glad my sister brought it up because it’s a kick up the backside that I needed and that night I wrote “Mission Re-Independence” down. It’s different to my white picket fence goals of my 20’s when I was stable relationship with a guy that ticked all the boxes in the traditional sense. My current relationship is stable in many ways, but perhaps not in the marriage sense, so for me, it’s something that I’ve trained myself hard to stop thinking about.
Now this has been hard because I was the girl that everyone (probably) thought would get married early. Most of all myself. I wanted the big Indian wedding, the dancing, music, flowers and so on. Now that I’ve been to so many, and now that my parents are older, friends have all got married and are with (multiple) kids, and knowing the cost of weddings, I think I’d rather get a registry and go on a nice holiday.
But I still do need to get some inspiring work that will thrill me again and enable me to move out of my parents house, and THAT is what “Mission Re-Independence” is all about! Moving forward. SO, Thank you for the comments sister!