The government places the legal adult age of 18. I mean, is that even legal? My apologies for that joke. Pos ya que? I started working at the tender age of 17 doing seasonal gigs. I worked at Six Flags in California, at Things Remembered in Northridge Mall, at a Deli in La Gigante (best coworker ladies), as a TA for second graders, at the Student Store while I was in college, and as a cashier at Home Depot. May 29, 2017 marked my 10 year anniversary at my current gig. I never thought I would be able to commit for this long.
For a long time I thought of myself as being independent but in reality I was only semi-independent. Even though I had a job and was buying my own shit I was never really living off of my own income. When I realized that in my early 20s I felt like I was failing. I don’t know what I was thinking. I had my mom’s help, my sister’s help, my friend’s help. I mean we were all splitting costs at one point or another. I don’t know why I thought that wasn’t enough. What I’m trying to say is that I placed a lot of weight on being one and only. Looking back at it I wish I valued the sharing of goods, space, and those relationships a lot more. But I was young. I wanted the “American” life.
I’ve come to a point in my life where I know independence is good, but damn does it feel better when you have someone to share your wealth. I don’t mean monetary wealth. I’m talking about bonding and spending time and learning and living together. I don’t know why I wanted out of such living arrangements. There is so much we can learn from each other when we’re living together. It can be extended family, a home of friends, multiple family home, etc., but it’s valuable. My Chico Fresco and I talk about this often. And I admit that I used to feel the same way about older children still living with their parents. Grown folks still in a room in their Mami and Papi’s house. Pero, why? What’s that saying that goes something like you get bothered by the people and things that scare you of yourself? of things within yourself? I can’t remember but I hope you catch my drift.
When I moved to Oregon I did it on my own. I took a little bit of money from my retirement, had it offset by a little sign-on bonus and off I went living the life I wanted. I loved being on my own. I can arrange my things how I want, get home and no one to tell me anything, eat what I want, where I want – all those things that a parent told you not to do. The thing is that I can be alone. I don’t feel alone, but I can manage myself. I miss family and BBQs and get-togethers and outings but I also enjoy being in a place friends and family can get away to. My main squeeze moved up here a year ago and it’s been a rollercoaster. I’ve had to readjust some of my ways and accept that my space is now our space. And that’s part of growing up. Like my MTBF says … you can grow old but you don’t have to grow up. For a lot things that makes funny sense, but when it comes to maturity of the mind, and the actions that you take I believe change is warranted because like Epictetus Enchiridion says our ultimate goal is happiness. But how do we achieve happiness? It’s all about controlling how you react to things around you. Who said “be the change you wish to see”? Something like that…
My mentor has taught me so much. The advice and guidance he’s given me has allowed me to view my life through different lenses. I used to want things to happen to me because I guess I grew up kind of spoiled. But at the same time, through his analysis and my own, I realized I was just always afraid. I was filled with so much self-doubt that I never really went for it. He put it to me this way, there are things you can’t control so just let them be (this can be events, people, situations). Then there are things in which you have some control (how you react, what you choose to be involved in, what you can walk away from, what you pursue, etc.). And then there are things that you have full control over (yourself). I wrote about this some time ago when I read the book he recommended about the Stoics. But think about that. Think of the things you have some control over and what you have full control over. This way of thinking has changed my life for the better and for that I’m indebted to him. To some this way of thinking can be obvious, but for me a person that is afraid of stepping in and standing out advice like that is invaluable.
I’m pursing my happiness. It’s not through material things but at the same time material things shape us in a way that sometimes we don’t want them to, but accept. For instance, I just got approved for a home loan (like WHOA… that is so adult, hence the title of my post). The reason I’m getting my home is because I want something that my money pays for that is mine. Not someone else’s home, but mine. I want to be able to leave something for my kid(s) if I ever choose to have any. I want to be able to pay that bitch off and relax when I retire. I want to be able to paint this room blue and that one egg yolk yellow. You feel me?
My point to all of this is, take advantage of not having to be one and only to everything. Invite people in and welcome yourself when you’ve been invited. Accept that family and friends are there to help because they love you and at the end of the day.. it’s our culture. You know all those jokes and memes about Mexicans and their large families? Would you give any of that up? I wouldn’t and right now I’m so happy that my family is growing. I’m elated that my first cousins and sisters have or are popping their babies out. The kicker is it’s up to us to keep that connection going and not lose those relationships.
Here’s another point. Don’t feel guilty when you step away from all of that. We are all expected to grow. And on that same coin… don’t guilt others for not leaving. Sometimes that’s what works. Just don’t overstep, overstay, or not pay. Pay it forward. No one does it alone.