Am I crazy to want to go?

I want to leave home and I can afford to, but my parents think I should stay put and save. Am I crazy?

Not at all, says our elder. But there is a middle ground.

Dear EWC

I’m from a rather conservative and traditional (old-fashioned) family and have been living with them for all my life in Los Angeles. I am now just 21, have my own small business (creative design studio) and job, and have a stable job, mobility, income and will have around 7k in savings to move out this fall when I attend university. The thing is, I have been planning to move out and have constructed a whole presentation and prepared material for when I do, and although they cannot control what I do, they think I’m crazy for wanting to move out and not save up and live with them. Truth is, our family relationship isn’t the healthiest, but I still love them and care. I just believe that I need to love them from a distance as I am growing and need my own space, where I can flourish on my own and come to my full potential with no distractions. I just think that my mental health is at an all-time low because of my living situation, and truly believe moving out will change me, take me out of my comfort zone and truly develop me as an adult. Am I crazy for not wanting to stay home, live with them and save up? That’s all I want to know…

Grandpa-Matt replies

The short answer is that you are not crazy. The longer answer is the same, but needs an explanation. It is my belief that human parents are the only mammals in the animal kingdom that do not know when their job is complete. Lions, monkeys, horses and others raise their offspring until they can fend for themselves and then cut them loose.

Your parents, like most of us, want to control their kids for many reasons, some based on their fears for the kid’s future. A parent will give you many justifications, e.g. safety, economic, social, etc. They might have their own psychological issues projecting these issues on to the children. Often it is based on fear. Their fears motivate them to be protective, and they don’t realize at all their fears are negative fantasies.

When we think about the future, we are in fantasyland because none of it is real in the present moment. We either choose a negative fantasy (where fear lives) or a positive fantasy (where optimism lives). Then there are a few folks that say, “Whatever,” and mean it!

That is enough about them. This is about you and your choices. Your job in growing up was to get to a point where you can take responsibility for your choices and the consequences for those choices. What seems to be driving you is your natural desire to fulfill Maslow’s explanation of needs.

As for the home situation, you present the issue as an either-I-stay or I-move-out proposition. Maybe, there is a middle ground. It would take some doing, but it is possible. You would need to create some personal boundaries, should you decide to remain at home.

If you could establish a situation where you would be like an independent tenant in their home, doing your own thing, without their advice or interference (unless you specifically ask for it), you could save money and have your freedom to fulfill your needs for self-actualization.

If you explore this middle-ground route, it will take some negotiation skills on your part and flexibility on their part. Whatever you choose to do, you are not crazy. Just the opposite. You seem clear about the opportunities presented in each case and are capable of choosing. One last thought. I don’t think moving out will change you, but only present different challenges (which I believe you have the coping skills to handle).

Good luck.

Letter #: 458383
Category: Career

One Comment

  1. Hi Eric,

    I’d like to give you a few thoughts regarding your move out plan.

    First, finances:
    It sounds like you’ll be going to move out this summer, start college in the Fall and
    also run your own business. If yes, you need to ask yourself how it’s going to work financially. Are you going to pay everything starting now? Rent, car, deposits,
    food etc? Have you done any contingency planning, like a plan B if you experience income and expense hiccups?

    Second, stress:
    You seem ready to move out but I ask you to, once again, evaluate how good you are
    at handling stress, pressure, anxiety etc. Given the state of our economy and the un-
    certainty surrounding the coronavirus, the next few years are going to be tough on
    all of us. Your train may derail at some point and I feel that you want to be sure enough
    of yourself to manage it, OK?

    So let’s say you get an A+ on finances, planning, budgeting as well as inner drive.

    Third and last, relationships:
    I applaud your decision. I am 78 and way back when, that’s exactly what I and my
    brothers did. After college we were out of the house and with our parent’s blessings.
    There were no control issues then probably because my folks grew up during The
    Great Depression and World War 11. After raising their kids, they were tired and it was time for us to move on.

    Today’s different and perhaps you and Matt are right in talking about control issues.
    Where I come out is your “love from a distance” thinking is perfect ……..but, but,
    but, today, as a practical matter, I think you should try to leave on good terms and
    hopefully, with your Mom and Dad’s support. So if all else fails in your own life, you
    could always move back in. Yes, you’d swallowed your pride but at least you had a bed
    and a meal, right?

    I don’t know the situation at home but my advice is not to burn bridges. Matt’s idea about “negotiating” is are OK but if you have a well thought plan, go for it.

    I’m hope this is useful. Good luck Eric.


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