I’ve written about the generation gap before, but an article I read last night has me pondering it anew. I read an article about parents who had to take their 30 year-old son to court to evict him from their house. He had lived there rent-free for several years and flat out refused to move out. I don’t understand his thought process. How can he not want to stand on his own feet?
It’s a parent’s instinct to shelter and protect his or her children. While the child is young, that’s a wonderful thing. Once the child reaches adulthood, I understand that it’s difficult to let go. My mom didn’t want me to move out when I did. She did everything she could to dissuade me from leaving. She did finally see the wisdom in letting me spread my wings. I was ready to start my own life. I wanted to be my own master.
My first apartment wasn’t great, but it was mine. I lived alone, so I came and went as I pleased, set the thermostat to my preference, ate when and what I preferred, and lived on my own terms. I was also responsible for myself. If I didn’t clean the bathroom, it didn’t get cleaned. If I didn’t pay the rent, I received an eviction notice. If I failed to pay my utility bills, they were turned off.
I had to move back home with my parents for a few months when my employer transferred me from Springfield to Joplin. I only had two weeks to move and didn’t have time to find an apartment in that time. While I was at home, my parents expected me to abide by the same rules as before I moved out. That included a midnight curfew. I was 26 years old at the time. I respected the curfew as well as their other house rules. After all, it was their house.
My step-son and his family live with my husband and me. He’s 21 years old. It makes sense for them to stay with us for now, but not for the long term. They are saving money so they can move into a place of their own. They know that nothing is free. Babies are expensive, so they need a generous nest egg.
I think they plan to move soon. They need their own space. They need to live on their own terms and be masters of their own destinies. They need to make their own house rules. I have faith that they will be successful and happy once they create their own home and experience the sweet taste of independence. They will grow stronger as individuals and as a family.
Living on my own terms is still very important to me. I’ve never lost the drive to be independent. I am married and have a family, but I am still the master of my own destiny. I don’t understand why more people aren’t motivated to fly free.
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