Wednesday, October 31, 2012

internal conflict

Lately, I've had a lot of internal conflict about our living situation. There are a lot of things that I miss about where Bunny and I used to live. It's not just those freedoms, though, it's also the fact that I flat out loved our old home. It was a place where my relationship with Bunny really flourished, where we took a lot of big steps together. It was where we first created our own shared space, and really settled into a happy shared lifestyle. It was our home when we got engaged, and where we first started investing in serious joint possessions. It was ours in a very visceral way. There's a certain pride in having your own home, and a sense of ownership there. Our home spoke to the lives we lived together, and who we are as people and as a couple. We had a great community, we lived in a city that I loved, and where we were nearby to most of our friends - or at least going to see our friends was only a short trip away.

Then there's the cultural stigma of being adults living with our parents. To be honest as much as this is in my mind, I'm not overly concerned about it. If people who don't know me want to judge my living situation, well, they'll do that. With all my own internal conflict I just don't have the energy to care what others think. What's hard though is balancing being an adult, and a responsible, productive member of society against living with a parent. It's hard to feel like an adult when you're constantly being parented. I struggle with being trivialized, and it's a constant battle to get my mother to treat me as the woman I have become rather than the child I was. The longer we've been here the more it bothers me.

Having just a basement, that's still not entirely ours, isn't so easy at times. This house is my mother's home, and while I grew up here it's never really been my home. I don't feel at home here. As much as I hate to admit it, for most of my young adult life in my own personal definitions of what would signal "success" and "failure" at life in general the number one signal of failure has always been living with my mother post-university. That's been a hard one to wrap my head around.

We don't live here because we have to, although financially it makes a lot of sense right now. We're more than happy to be real, equal financial contributors to the home, although that's something that we can't seem to convince my mother to let us do. (So we help out in the way of home repairs, cooking and cleaning, and buying my mom special presents). We choose, albiet somewhat passively, that this is our living situation.

Beyond the finances there are a lot of benefits to being here. Because our moms have been next door neighbours for twenty years we have the benefit of having our entire immediate familly under one roof. (Except my brother, but he's in school so it's a little different.) It's nice to be able to be so close to everyone and that's a real pull factor for us to stay put here. It's probably the biggest reason, even above finances, that we haven't too seriously started looking for our own place. The difference between being a thirty second walk from family and a ten minute drive is huge.

Bunny and I are constantly reviewing and talking about our living situation and the potential changes we'd like to see to it. Timelines for when we'll change things, and how those things will actually change. He has an easier time with the whole matter, maybe because the reasons for us being here were much more profoundly about him than they were about me. What's so difficult is that whatever we do, we lose out.

Stay here, we lose on the privacy and ownership and pride in having our own home. We lose freedom and independence that are still highly important to me. When we get our own home, whether we buy or rent, we're giving up the direct and easy access to family and the chance to build and strengthen those relationships. We end up making a financial output that, while it makes sense, leaves us with much less freedom and less ability to save for our future.

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