One large motivation to move out, when I’m able, is just to have control over my own life.
It’s just the little things which are small sacrifices you don’t think about, until there comes a day when you realize that you really wouldn’t have to make them if you were living on your own instead of moving back in with your parents.
My parents are inviting some of their Vietnamese friends over for an early dinner. That being the case, they expect me to help out with cleaning the house beforehand. All week I’ve been picking up random shopping for my mom since I’m in the city. And when their friends get here I’ll be expected to be polite and also participate with them, even though my Vietnamese is really not on the same level.
The thing is just that even if I lived alone, I would still clean. I would still shop. I would still have friends over. But it would be up to me, is my point.
This is typified with Thursday, when I met a friend for lunch. The previous evening my mother asked me if I could meet her in town to help her carry shopping back, which is when I said that I had lunch plans. She changed her plans a little, but still asked me to pick some things up after my lunch was done.
My friend had to go to work after lunch anyway, but what if she didn’t? What if she had all afternoon? I would still have had to shop for my mom, and it cuts the day’s opportunity off. What if that had been the opportunity I’d been looking for to nudge our friendship into something more? Maybe not, but maybe, is my point. I had no chance to find out either way for reasons beyond my own and that I don’t care that much about. Assuming that I have time to run errands for her is just something my mother does, and sometimes it’s fine but sometimes it’s a real hassle.
A friend asked me to go to a party last night. As it is I didn’t feel like going because of other reasons, but even if I had wanted to I would still have my parents’ friends to see today, or be expected to help around the house beforehand.
The dynamic is different too. When I live with a roommate who’s a friend, I feel compelled to maintain the house for both of us. We don’t always do it and aren’t always good about it, but any of my roommates never feel the explicit need to reform me… which is what my parents do. My mother and to a lesser extent my father still consider it their job to educate me to be an adult in their ideal.
If a roommate asks me to clean, it’s “could you help clean that up?” When my mom asks me to clean, it’s “And this is your assignment, and if it’s not good enough I’ll ask you to do it again.” Well, not those exact words, but it has a similar effect.
This is what makes it difficult to live at home. I’m struck with commitments and limitations on my lifestyle, and living with people who’ve spent my whole life parenting me and cannot cut the habit.
That’s what it comes down to.
Oh, also, I’m really tired. If I stay up late one night, I really want the freedom to wake up whenever I want the next day, you know, so I have the right amount of sleep no matter when I do. My parents place importance on the proper mealtimes, which is fine in general but conflicts with my nocturnal tendencies.
I also don’t want to feel like I have to lie every time my mother asks, and she asks this often, “how late did you stay up last night?” Because I know that an honest answer would give me a lecture.
It’s a bad habit, really, and I do this sometimes with friends who I should have nothing to fear being honest with. It’s the fear that telling the truth will get a negative reaction. “I stayed up until 5am last night” is fine among friends, but my parents would start worrying about sleeping schedules, health risks, whether I’m responsible enough for adulthood, all these things. In a way it’s only natural but it means that my default response is to lie to cover my tracks and keep things simple.
And that’s not a good life thing. I tend to have to think before I’m honest with people about these kinds of things. I’m working on it and I’m getting better with it, but it irks me that I have a very natural tendency to be ashamed about certain behaviour and feel the need to lie about it all the time. It’s a character flaw and I really dislike it, but it comes back very naturally around my parents, who make me feel like a teenager all over again.
So yeah, the easiest solution is just to move out. But for now I don’t have money, and my dad is still looking for work, so now is not the time to get propose a place.
Which, all in all, is frustrating on a consistent just-below-conscious level.