Friday, June 13, 2008

Stay at Home?

Recently had one of those discussions with the Man about young people not wanting to live with their parents after they finish their education, which started as a discussion and concluded with a 'end-of' statement.

A lot of people in UK and Europe expect their 18 year olds to move out and get on with their own lives as soon as they turn 18. Infact retirement plans are often made on the basis that there will be no children in the house by a certain date and then the parents can get back to leading their own lives. Which sounded strange to me the first time I heard it..but now I guess I am used to the concept.

A long time ago I did contemplate heading back to Delhi for good, however having stayed away from home for a longish period, I was not too keen to go back home and live with the house 'rules'. I do love my folks and everything..and I dont think it needs explaining, but I also at the same time think that asking my folks to change how they do things to suit me would not be fair. I would be working full time, and coming home to my family..nothing wrong with that he says. No there is nothing wrong, but I would rather have a place of my own..nearby maybe, but space of my come back to. This case was presented to Him, who says, whats different, you stay at home. Your folks are friendly people I am sure they wont mind your socialising..and coming home at odd hours.

But I dont think its quite the same thing. There are nights when we sit and chat and eat and drink till late with our friends, when someone eventually grabs the couch to pass the night, friends who drop by with wine and then stay for the night, friends who drop in at odd hours to check if you are free to watch a film etc, impromptu plans made for the evening and weekends, lunches and dinners. Now this all does happen, when you are single (probably), have just started working and earning a decent enough amount to afford a social life, and have other people like yourself as friends...chances are you lead a somewhat similar life.

The life before this was full of education and parents and rules and targets and interviews and exams, the life after this will be probably married or with a significant other, with a social life of a different kind, and perhaps later you shall socialise with your insomniac child and a bottle of milk! Things change. People need space to get to terms with their changing lives. Ofcourse if there is an option of getting space to begin with.

So, coming back to staying at home. My mother always thought that until the date I marry, I shall stay with her, find a job in Delhi, stay at home and post marriage live with the husband, I dont think this thinking would surprise too many Indian parents. Its the done thing. However in my case, this event did not occur. I moved out to study and work and have not gone back, have got married as chances are slim I would stay with her.

I think I might have sounded a bit miffed, because the conversation we were having reached the statement point, where in He says, ' My kids will damn well stay at home, no need to go anywhere, if you are on holiday you are at home!' end-of.

But it is hard to explain, when you step away from home, you grow the innate ability to watch your own back, to understand budgets and finance, to see friend from foe, to stumble and fall, get up without assistance and get going, you learn to keep things to yourself which might worry the people back home, you see the value of home and family, you form your own small quasi-family of friends, you learn and you then set up a style of life/living/thinking/behaving which is uniquely you, adapted and adopted from your family in parts perhaps, but tailor made by you to suit you perfectly. And this..(nameless) state of existence and living is what you grow into and start to like..which when you move back home..does not quite fit/sit perfectly with what your parents (state of existence) maybe.

After being away from home for long, it is nice or rather lovely to be back for a while on holiday or just for a bit, but after some time, I start to miss my own space, my own existence in what I tend to call 'My house' and I like coming back to it.

So needing space, away from home is nothing to do with what you think or feel for your parents, but more about how you have changed and grown into. To understand the change, accept it and live with it happily without making others change for you. The bottom line know..home with your parents is always there, its back up...they will always welcome you home, you can always head back..but its ok to need your own place and space.


shyam said...

Oh yeah, I'm in total agreement here. If it's your house, it's your space, which is all-essential physically and mentally. It doesnt mean you dont love your parents or siblings - something my mother understood right from the start :)

Deepak said...

Like someone said, the farther you stay away from someone dear, the more you love them.
It's all for the good. I too agree that everyone should live *their* lives.

chandni said...

couldn't agree more!

Upasna said...

I thought even the Man has lived away hasn't he?
When I was emotionally held back home with the same argument, I felt terrible abt it, cos like you say, it felt like someone was stepping in too close and invading my space...I still go through such phases at home..guess my parents still think of me as 17 when I left home for college...
And yes, it's very very different, no matter how friendly the parents are...