Building your new identity as an adult and as a family is not easy, especially when you strike off on your own and are facing others’ definition of family and success. Society pushes us to follow a particular road map – graduate from College/University, find a job, a mate, get married and have children – without giving us time to discover ourselves and what we are made out of. It can seem cold to some but part of our success as mature humans depends on our ability to sever the umbilical chord that ties us to our progenitors. We must have enough courage to head out into the great unknown and start our own empire, leaving our parents to tend to their own homestead.
Constructing a safe and happy home is even harder, and I am not talking about the walls and wood frame but of the concept; the notion that home is where the heart is. Where IS your heart though? With yourself? With your family of origin? With the country/state/city where you were born? With another? When we give up control of our happiness and we place it on an extraneous notion of home, we set ourselves up to fail. Home shouldn’t be a place, it should be a mindset! After all, if home is where the heart is that means it is inside us all. We are always home.
The home Mrs. Enginerd built in the PNW is today, 11.5 years old, which represents a third of the years I have been on this planet, ish. It is a cultural club, a sanctuary for interns and new hires, a place where people can find refuge during their storms. On most days it is a fountain of knowledge, of information; a stop in the middle of life’s the journey where you can find a good book and a good friend. My husband points out that when I am around it does feel like home to him and to those with us. I take it as proof that I do make myself a home everywhere I choose to be. My hope is that more people have the courage and foresight to expand their concept of home to include work, school and everyday activities. We need more compassion, kindness and respect in this world, and in our competitions; the feelings of safety and progress home gives us, enabling success. There’s no sense in winning or fighting to survive on this world if we plowed and mowed down everyone around you negatively. My home loves competition as it keeps us engage in argument and achievement. May not work for all but it does for us. He he. XD
Building a home is easier than we think. It starts with you, a family of one, and then expands to include members and characteristics of your choosing. Add a few good memories and a sense of belonging and you are good to go! Portable and practical, no? This is why I could never understand why my peers long so much to go home: To me, home is the location and space that I occupy not the place where I threw countless boxing match and Halloween parties or the place I was raised. My feeling of home transcends the space and time in which all these events occured. Because of this I am free of the nostalgia of having left home behind and of tricking myself into believing I can’t have it better than when I was there. My home evolves as I evolve and morphs to contain only that which serves me.
Maturing requires that we create our own brand and vision, our own set of rules and expectations, balancing out honoring my family of origin and our current one, without sacrificing our new one at their expense. This has been the hardest part of the endeavor, telling people to respect the boundaries of my unit and let us find our way. My mom taught me that when the children leave all the memories are what remain and endure, that love is never lost because we carry it inside us, and that you only need to love yourself to feel the magic of being loved. This is why she claims she doesn’t need to keep tabs on me, and taught me to be independent of her. If the constant intrusion, unsolicited advice and judgement from your parents starts to become a problem, break the chains and let go of their authoritarianism. Your own family has to be your #1 priority.
There is no better time than now to plant the seeds of your own future. Remind your parents that they already had their place and time in your life. Don’t drag them along. Learn to stand by your plans, ideas and goals. They are yours to fulfill and fight for, regardless of what your previous family believes or feels. Be happy on your own terms. The rest will find you.