The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
I always knew that living in the city I was born in wasn’t going to be an option forever. Actually, for not so long. Since a little kid, I have had big dreams – ones ever supported by my parents, fortunately – and the consciousness that to achieve them, I needed a place as big as they were, was a dearest friend. But what happens when you just make your wish come true and then it suddenly falls apart? I’m pretty sure that everyone has a lot of stories from the last two years to share. Here ‘s one of mine.
As Journey once said, when you are just a small-town girl living in a lonely world, you have two options. Love and continue to live where you were born or just go away. And I actually was always more of the second type. Besides that, I always thought success meant living by myself as an adult woman in a big city. Little did I know this was about to change and, as happens in the last two years, many other more important things about me, success and dreams would come as I returned to my parents’ house after achieving my desired “independence”. And this article is exactly about all of that.
1 step forward…
The year was 2019, and I had just gotten into my dream college, located in São Paulo, capital. So I moved there. And to be honest, as much as I wanted that, I didn’t think I would survive 6 months living without my parents, three hours away from home. The first week was truly hard and I just cried a lot wanting to go back home. I was afraid of not being able to cook, taking the subway, and, above all, not fitting into the college and the city I always dreamed of. For a while, I just thought that I was living in a whole different universe, actually. But even in a city that appears gray and sad, you can find a little color, whether in people – who are pretty diverse – or in places.
In one year I was able to create a strong bond there. With the people,with the places. Fortunately, the fears were getting smaller and the challenges easier. Unfortunately, in much less time than I would like I had to take a “break” and leave everything behind. COVID arrived and there was no possibility of spending the period isolated alone, living terrified by the news. So I went back to my parents’ house and everything changed.
…3 steps back
Suddenly, all the myths I had bought into about what success looks like and how we were supposed to live as adults began to crumble. First I lived the belief of “Oh, it’s going to be fine, only like fifteen days in my parents’”. But then, as we all know, the days were becoming more and more months and suddenly I saw all the freedom I felt conquered going away. It’s really weird having all the freedom you’ve ever wanted and then, in a snap of fingers, feels like you are really back at the beginning. It was exactly what I felt.
It can be challenging to keep your cool while maintaining the hard-won independence you found while away at your childhood home. I always had that feeling of wanting to prove something to someone, even if someone was actually myself. Since I was very young, I have heard that I was not capable of doing great things. Either by the way I look, or by the type of things I love. But I’m not going to bring up this discussion. The point is that since I know myself, I want to prove the opposite of that. I don’t know if that’s the reason why I always have had big dreams, but I certainly thought my freedom at the capital was a daily chance to do that.
I was 3 steps back and very frustrated. Frustrated by the people I was “letting” there. Frustrated by the job I didn’t imagine doing at home. Frustrated to stay in touch with everyone only by social media – which I have always hated. But mostly, as the months went by, as I really started to feel that I had failed and that the big city I’d always dreamed of didn’t seem to fit me anymore.
And then, covid arrived in my family
There was an important and decisive moment when I started to realize that life is much more than the things we lost. That’s because the worst is the people we lost. I almost lost my father for Covid-19 and this provoked – and still do – so many feelings in me about what truly matters. It was May 2021 and the fear of the virus was more than recurrent in my house, making everyone in my family truly paranoid.
When covid arrived, even with everyone taking care of themselves and quarantining as best they could, it was definitely the most desperate moment of the pandemic. I spent so much time thinking that I wanted to go back to living in the big city, with my dreams, that I hadn’t stopped to think about even more important things I was living: being with the people I love the most in the world. And well. At least until that moment.
In addition to my grandparents, my parents were the ones infected by the disease and soon became isolated, letting me take care of my 11-year-old sister by myself. During this period of a month, everyone got worse and my father ended up living our biggest nightmare: needing the hospital. I didn’t sleep for at least three days waiting for him to get better and thank God and the science the best happened. I was truly happy for being only and well with my family for the first time in quarantine.
I got the good side of things
Staying in my childhood bedroom is free of charge. I am also fortunate enough to not have to pay rent, my food, and other basic needs. So, this period gave me the unique opportunity to save money while planning cautiously my next moves for when all of this is over, and, of course, all the other perks of living with mom, dad and my little sister. It also made me reconnect better with my old high school friends, catching up with them on everything that’s happened over the past few years.
I don’t want to romanticize the pandemic on any level, but I am just tired of not looking at the good things. Being able to face the unending global devastation together was everything to me. From Love and Monsters to Black Widow – movies that we truly enjoy watching together – from all the new foods we try to the ones that we didn’t try for years and from all the long conversations that really made us grow to the ones that really made us just stare at each other and laugh for at least five minutes straight. We fought and drew new boundaries and we learned more about one another.
In São Paulo, I believed that one of my greatest achievements was realizing that I was self-sufficient and could enjoy my own company. That I don’t depend on anyone to be fully happy. But you know what? Suddenly, when I wasn’t alone anymore, 24 hours a day, because of my family, but really far from the ones I conquered in the big city I ended up realizing that I was wrong. My biggest achievement wasn’t that or even the path to becoming a successful woman. Love is fundamental and it is impossible to be happy and feel it alone. That was my biggest achievement. The ones I am captivated by in the countryside and the ones I do in the big city.
And I think it was frustrating me, and even going a lot of steps back of what I was living and conquering that I truly realized that I don’t need any of this to be successful. Or actually, that just living with these things, life is nothing.
Are there still beautiful things?
Sometimes, I get terrified about thinking the fact things are getting over and I will pass through that process of moving from home and going to Sao Paulo again. But I am also sure that I love and still do wanna live in a big city and the options that I have with it. I believe that I will enjoy the beautiful things that have lasted even more now that I know they don’t last forever.
Perhaps some people still see moving home as a regression, but I want to believe that during this time I was able to deal with it the best way I could. I am truly nervous about making the transition from home with parents to an independent life again, but I’m gonna save my tears for another day and hope I can come back to my independent life even better than when I started it.
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