Since moving back home for a while, I’ve had extra time and exposure to think about how my parents took care of me when I was younger and how they imparted certain lessons that I was able to take with me even after leaving.
Not only that, but I’ve been able to more clearly see what I’ve picked up apart from them. I had been living mostly far away from home for nearly six years now and that time forced and allowed me to create an identity for which they provided the foundation but I continued building. It’s still exciting for me to discover how to do things on my own, even if it’s a mundane activity like how to structure my 401k and although I feel a little bit melancholy at the fact that I don’t really need their help for much anymore, I recognize that it’s important to embrace this stage because it’s crucial in order for me to build the identity of me as individual separate from relationships. As such, the list below are just some random thoughts about lessons that I didn’t learn directly from my parents –
Lesson #1 – How to invest. I’m not some hotshot, but I have a few passive income streams working now and this is something my parents aren’t super comfortable with. I did learn a lot about different types of investments in university, but using my own money has been entirely self-taught.
Lesson #2 – Travel tips. My dad has traveled a lot but not quite to the extent that he’s gained the kind of status I have from being a consultant – through this I’ve picked up a few work arounds and tricks to make things easier when traveling. I also travel for vacation much differently than my parents. I stay in hostels and spend a lot of time finding mechanisms to save money and live like a local.
Lesson #3 – Sunscreen is skincare. My parents can be sun bums, and I never realized how much my skin could’ve improved if I’d been more religious about sun protection before.
Lesson #4 – Cooking. My parents are both actually good cooks. But through my own unique experiences, I’ve developed a taste and proclivity for different types of cooking than I grew up with.
Lesson #5 – More skincare – washing your sheets and towels often can have a larger impact on your skin than any skincare product. Wash your pillowcase every three days to prevent breakouts.
Lesson #6 – Packing cubes are the best things in the world for travel. Everything stays organized, you don’t have to pull it all out and dig every time you need that one thing.
Lesson #7 – You don’t have to finish all the food on your plate or use items until they wear out to get your money’s worth. You can simply enjoy as much as you want and stop.
Lesson #8 – Texting is a perfectly acceptable way to keep in touch. I haven’t heard some of my friend’s voices in months but I’m still able to stay close with them.
Lesson #9 – Crying sometimes does solve things because it functions as a form of emotional release.
Lesson #10 – Parents just want you to be happy. I used to think my parents wanted me to be wealthy and stable, but really they just want me and my sister to be happy and safe.
There are tons of other lessons I’ve learned along the way, but honestly, these are the only ones I can think of that are separate from my parents. When learning how to do my taxes or get renter’s insurance, I leaned on them heavily. The only reason I feel comfortable learning things in new countries is because of what they exposed me to when I was young. The things I listed above are things that I can directly see where their influence ended and my own tastes and preferences developed. These are things I’ve picked up apart from them and have even taught them a thing or two as a result. Discovering this separation and continuing to discover it has been so crucial to my growth over the past few years and I’m really realizing that my parents have been responsible for so much of my development but becoming a person on my own is a task I also have to undertake on my own.