Firstly, let me start by saying that we DO NOT have nearly enough meaningful discussions about transitioning into adulthood. Especially in regards to the parental relationships, that we still so desperately need. As an almost 25-year-old, I joke about “adulting” with my friends often and we make fun of ourselves for realizing that we really don’t “have it all figured out.” We are seemingly okay with not being 100% okay all the time, and I am a BIG fan of that transparency! But, at the end of the day we are expected to act like adults, pay our bills on time, know how a mortgage works, and what insurance coverage is the best? Do I have those last two figured out? Nope, not really and I guarantee most “adults” my age don’t either.
I will say that I’ve read a lot about how to spend your twenties and that we should “live it up!” Well, in between the anxiety of not knowing what the hell I’m doing and making decisions that will effect the rest of my life, I do indeed try to “live it up.” Usually by traveling or spending time with other individuals my age that hope they figure out this life thing too. My point is there is much debate on how to spend these vital years. Do we find a partner in college and begin our working lives with them, get married, and start having kids, so we don’t become “old” parents. Or do we live it up, travel, with or without a partner, and then start a family in our thirties? Or thirdly, do we live unconventionally with no regard to societal expectations and just simply go where the wind takes us?
Each one of these lifestyles is absolutely okay in my book, but one thing I have found constant no matter what path you take in your twenties and that is we all start having realizations about our parents. Whether that be that we want to be nothing like them, that we wish we hadn’t taken them for granted, or that they are truly super heroes. This year more than ever before, especially with the holidays quickly approaching, I personally find myself grieving the loss of my childhood. What I would give to crawl into bed, eat popcorn, and lay with my parents soaking up their love one last time. Knowing that through all the stress of sports and school, I still had their strength and safe arms to lean on. I took for granted just how much I relied on my parents to bring me back to myself again. Even typing it out now, it baffles me how much they did for me mentally and emotionally as I would face new challenges. A lot of times I would come into the house like a tornado and they would take it. They weren’t always happy with me and I truly think I put them through hell, but their support never wavered.
I technically have been living a part from them for 6 years now, but my parents sold my childhood home and moved to Florida with my two little brothers about a year and a half ago. That transition has been extremely difficult. I want to be happy for them, but I do feel slightly resentful that I don’t have a “home” anymore. I did move away from them first 4 years ago, so in some ways I feel like a hypocrite. That doesn’t take away from the fact that their move has stirred up some emotional turmoil for me. It’s been tough, but also made me ask myself, “how many other twenty-somethings have parents that moved away and they have these same feelings of sadness and grief?” Another question I’ve been pondering is, “when, if ever, are we supposed to feel okay without our parents and will we always long for that feeling of home?” I mean I think I am doing pretty darn good on my own and it’s been an amazing journey starting my own family (getting a dog with the boyfriend), but I still have those times where Kyle can’t give me the exact same “home” feeling my parents did.
Throughout the past year, I have spent a lot of time contemplating what these feelings mean to me and discussing them with others, especially Kyle and my parents. Through those conversations, I’d like to list some realizations that are still evolving, but important and noteworthy:
- You are entitled to grieve the loss of your childhood. It is not weird to feel incredibly sad that those simple times where your parents made the decisions, are now in the past.
- Whether you have a good relationship with your parents or not, they impacted you more than you’d probably like to admit! Realizing that they were human and struggling to “adult” just like we are, helps forgive them for the hurt they may have caused or it helps you realize that they didn’t have it all figured out and they still raised a bad ass, right?
- The most obvious realization is that we will always need our parents or adult figures, no matter how old we get. They’re an integral part of our lives, to help us with questions about mortgages, purchasing cars, insurance, etc…Lord knows I need the help!
- Lastly, as young adults, we absolutely should swallow our pride and have real conversations about this more often. Not just placed periodically within the sarcastic rhetoric about how “adult life sucks,” but REAL heart-felt discussions where we open up about our biggest fears and wishes.
I’m not positive, but I have a feeling many young adults are going through similar situations, like mine, with their parents. So, if you’re vibin’ with what I’m saying, please reach out! Let me know if you have any questions or if you have been there and what you learned along the way.
Much love & Happy Thanksgiving!