For someone in the first decade of their pursuit of independence, or someone who hasn’t visited home for a number of years, coming back to your parents (especially if it’s the house you grew up in) can make you exceptionally conscious of time’s passage.
For me, ‘time markers’ appear sporadically in the house I lived in until I was around 16 and started my own journey (watch people chasing a wheel of cheese down a hill for sport – the ‘journey’ has been like that). What really got me thinking about this in more depth was an act of laziness – slipping into a pair of my Dad’s slippers. I was swept by a wave of nostalgia. For all of the times I must have done this as a child, constantly in danger of tripping over the extra toe room, this must be the first time in at least 8-9 years that I’ve done this and actually found they fit. A ‘marker’ has been set for it – it is the little things that always stick in memory for the longest, after all.A ritual I have picked up whenever I visit home is walking into every room in the house. I have no idea if I am actively looking for changes, or just familiarizing myself with the environment, but I do this and it’s an instinct that isn’t triggered. anywhere else. I have had less interest in my own new homes upon moving than I do for the bookshelves of old books and DVDs or any new furniture or pictures on display.
The final process to time-stamping my life with these visits is the critical analysis of my life. The sooner you learn that your tongue is destined to fall out of your mouth for the number of times you find yourself saying ‘you were right’ or ‘I should have listened’ – the easier the rest of your life will likely be. This has been hammered home time and time again with each visit. Maybe I’m addressing a deviant/hard-headed audience with this, but there are so few examples of people I know who listened to their parents advice from day 1 who aren’t doing well for themselves now, and likewise very few who defied their parents at every turn who aren’t struggling with the difficulty setting on life being turned to ADULT. Personally, I like to play life on TEENAGER mode with the difficulty cranked up to CRITICAL. Perhaps this has contributed to my own struggles, and is the last phase I’ll have to deal with before joining the rat race in the ADULT category.
I’m sure I’m not alone in experiencing the innate ability one or both of your parents have to make you feel that are most definitely a child in adult clothing (not purposefully, I’m sure). This particular visit was the first time this didn’t happen, and instead I felt like a very tired adult. This made me immediately miss feeling like a kid playing house (playing house on your own sucks, by the way) and made the weight of responsibility and ambition very real. However, I am fortunate in that in this realisation both parents have not just identified this weight, but have taken up a stance to help share it. Being able to feel that love and support (whilst not feeling like you are 10 years old in one of your Dad’s suit) is definitely a marker, and makes me wonder how so many years have passed since leaving home. As accurately described, time is a face on the water.
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