The Illusion of Freedom & the Return Home

On reading of fellow blogger Liz’s return to Ottawa, I instantly related to her pain at relinquishing the “freedom” of living away from home. My ultimate regret with leaving school was the inevitable return home—for me, it felt like a walk of shame. I was back to living in my parent’s basement while my friends maintained their “freedom.”

You’re probably wondering why I’m putting freedom in quotes. Well, over the past 5 months, I’ve been considering how free I truly was while away at school. Sure, I could do whatever I wanted with my time, with no input from overbearing adults, no need to consider everyone else’s schedule. I had my own place and no one to tell me how to keep it. It felt good.

At the same time, this freedom was extremely limited. I was a poor student with no steady income and a tendency to overspend when I actually did have money. Unbeknownst to me, my freedom was a cleverly devised illusion most likely formed by parents at the beginning of time. Now living at home, everything has switched. I have money in the bank [knocks on wood], but limited mobility that’s based around my family’s schedules.

Autonomy (had to get that in there) is a funny thing. It comes in many different forms and is constantly shifting. There are many of you dreading the thought of living at home again for the next four months. Here’s what you’re going to do: spend that four months at home. At the end, if it was really that terrible, then you can complain to me.

As a first-year I’ve already experienced that shift back to life under the parental umbrella, and I’ve survived for longer than the average post-secondary summer. You’ll be amazed at how fast the time goes. You might even see a difference in your relationship with your parents. What once might have been time spent arguing over curfews may now be a civil agreement about how you spend your time. Show your parents that your time away has been a positive experience, that you’ve become a “mature adult,” and everything should run smoothly.

If all else fails, consider this: you’re probably going to be working most of the summer anyway, so what does it matter if you’re living at home? Replenish that bank account and re-embrace ”freedom” in the fall—this time with no strings attached. Go out and live life (fairly) unrestricted. Go ahead, buy that new jacket without consulting your parent’s bank account!

(As a side note, parents may not be quite as impressed by your new jacket as you are…)

Anyway, if you aren’t already done for the year (or, in some cases, the semester) then you are nearly there at the very least! Stick it out, and that sweet, sweet Summer is yours! To the rest of you already on break, stop sleeping in until 2! Trust me, after a few weeks of that, you’re going to hate yourself.

Also, I’m not one of those annoying tweeters that talks about their every meal, so follow me: http://www.twitter.com/Phraserify (OK, maybe I am sometimes…)

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