Reacquainting Myself With My Family?

The distance between each time we return home from college, as years go on, can grow to be longer and longer. A lot of growing up is happening, and as we shift through this awkward period between being a kid under your parents’ roof, and being a self-sufficient adult, returning back home only to be treated like you are once again in high school sucks sometimes. As an oldest child, I feel this all too often, with my parents navigating having a college aged kid for the first time with me. 

 

Balancing maintaining my mental health, getting an adequate level of physical exercise every day, completing the school work which cannot be put off any longer (I can’t be the only one who associates time at home with no school, right..?), as well as chores that my parents are now able to place on me since I am once again a resident of the household; all of it is a lot. Having to pack up my life for the next x number of months into a suitcase and abandon all I have grown to love and be comfortable with for the other side of the country… was hard. What has been almost harder than all of this though, is putting things into perspective. I am safe, healthy, and with my family who loves me. I had plans, but so did everyone else. And, with this time, I am able to learn new things not only about myself, but about my family.

 

Attending a school thousands of miles from home is a lot easier than it seems, is what I tell most who ask about it. I can go home for breaks, tons of people do it every year… it isn’t that big of a deal to me. Yet, returning home for this “extended break”, I came to realize just how disconnected one becomes from being separated from their family for months at a time. Noticing changes in my house, in my hometown, and in my sister who is four years younger and going through a significant period of change in her life, has allowed me to feel so much more appreciative for this time being spent at home. It is so easy to become caught up selfishly in ourselves, especially at this specific point of our young lives. With so much to look forward to and so many opportunities at our fingertips, it is easiest to view our current circumstance as a hindrance to our individual growth. And too often, I wake up and go to sleep wishing I was somewhere else. But I am trying hard to be present. It’s not easy, but every day I am trying. I am taking the opportunity to learn more about my parents; what their personal goals are, what they like to do in their free time, etc. I am loving being able to spend time with my baby sister and pay attention to her at this point in time right now. I am going on walks with my mom which at any other point in my life you would not have caught me dead doing. The other day, I convinced my dad to try a virtual yoga class with me, which was also a miracle, but a lot of fun regardless.

 

The point is not that during quarantine you need to become best friends with your family. We definitely do not get along 100% of the time. The main takeaway for me however, is to acknowledge and appreciate them a little more. Everyday we’re stuck together is an opportunity. I don’t know how many more times, if any, I will be living in my childhood house for this amount of time. As our lives progress from this point, we are attempting to find our own ways in the world. Doing so can mean even more disconnect from our family in an attempt to create individual stability. And so, coming from someone whose life has always gone a million miles an hour, this slower pace, though it might make us feel like little kids again, has not necessarily been all bad.