This might not be an easy one, but it’ll be a real one.
What do I mean by that?
I mean that this time I’m talking about something I’m battling with in the here-and-now, as opposed to meditating on the been-and-gone. It’s not as easy to acknowledge the present as it is to talk about the past, when you have the benefit of being able to shape the narrative from a distant vantage point. It’s like you’re analysing someone else (which I’m not a fan of really but it’s a fitting metaphor); you’re removed from it.
So what am I wrestling with?
The shame (a loaded term, let’s not think too much of it) of living at home when I’m 6 months away from turning 30.
I hear it a lot in my society, that it’s not a good look to still be living at home at such a ripe old (lol) age. It doesn’t send a good message; it signals that you’re not independent, you’re a man-child, that you’re not fully adult yet. Moving out is a rite of passage, that final sayonara to your childhood.
And yet most people who I speak to say relish it, enjoy it while you can, you’ll miss it when it’s gone. It’s enough to create a disconnect whereby I’m trying to understand just how terrible it is, or if it’s even terrible at all.
For someone who likes to pontificate at great length on the virtues of not listening to the ‘what’s best for you’ voice, this concern for what people might think about the fact I still live at home is, well, concerning. I’m in a duality, where on the one hand, I know my own situation better than anyone else and what’s right for me and my current circumstances. On the other, I feel a deep sense of shame that I still haven’t flown the nest, and it’s an ever-present weight on the mind, a constant reminder of ‘hey, you need to go!’
I don’t know why my brain is so keen to give us the eviction boot. This is the same brain, I’ll remind you, that is also secretly very anxious about the prospect of living alone, and what that might be like, and whether the person it inhabits will be able to handle it. We don’t know brain, that’s the answer.
It’s a very strange feeling. On the one hand, I’m very comfortable. I have my routine, I love my cat, and I have full autonomy (inasmuch as one can have autonomy during a pandemic). I’m able to do the things I need to do financially to set myself up for a great life of independence, and I know there are people older than me in the same situation, people who I really respect.
Try and convince a brain that knows better of any of this pragmatism!
If I ask, ‘hey brain? Where’s this shame coming from dude?’, I weirdly get a shrug of the temporal lobes and a ‘hey remember in year 9 when you got put in a bin?’ (good distraction tactic, my grey matter mate!)
This time I’m being a little more persistent. I’d like my answer!
‘Well,’ says the brain. ‘Look at your friends getting houses.’
‘Yes, I’m very happy for them!’
‘Well, don’t you think you should be where they are? You’re older than them, it seems odd that they’re having these lives and you’re still in your childhood home.’
‘Alright, but we decided we were going down a different road, didn’t we? We had the opportunity to push for a tidy little salary and a mortgage, but you didn’t want that did you?
‘Is that all?’
‘What’s a nice lady going to think if things are going well and it’s looking like we’re getting romantically involved again?’
‘If she’s a truly nice lady then she’ll understand the situation. We’re not sitting around playing fortnite all day, we’re building a solid business.’
‘Stop arguing with me! I know better than you!’
And there we get to the root of it: the internalized negativity. Poor brain, all it knows it what it’s picked up on from years and years of being told by others that they know better than us. The shame is coming from the ‘I know better than you’ centre, probably somewhere in the PFC (my knowledge of neuroarchitecture is not what it once was).
The thing is, I’ve proven to myself multiple times in the last year or so that actually, I know better than the ‘they’ immortalised in the IKBTY centre. I’m beholden to my own goals and my own drive, and I don’t have to listen to anyone who tells me I’m not living right.
By who’s standards? Theirs? Who are they? Are they happy? Probably not, I’d guess, if they’re telling someone else how to live. I’ve never met a single person who was content in their life that felt the need to chastise others. I think chastisement is the literal epitome of bitterness, and are you really taking life advice from someone who’s bitter?
I think I’d rather stay home.
Have a bloody lovely day.
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About the curator - Matt Jenko
Hi my name is Matt, but my friends call me Matt. I’m on the wrong side of 29 (damn I hate it every time I have to update that number), definitely feeling my age, but never felt happier and more content than I do at this point in my life. I’ve been through some rocky patches (who hasn’t) and lived to tell the tale, and boy do I gots some stories.
When I’m not giving opinions absolutely nobody asked for, I’m doing a worldbuilding with my passion project, vivaellipsis. If you like offbeat nonsense delivered through immersive escapism, then go and get involved. Or don’t, I’m not telling you what to do. I’m not yer boss.
I’m a simple man with simple interests. I like Yorkshire tea, the sound of rain on the window, and a bloody good story.
9 August 2021
What today’s insight has granted me is the knowledge that if you don’t check in on yourself, you’ll lose touch with yourself. You’ll become unfamiliar with each other, and it feels very strange. I honestly think this is what it means to feel out of sorts.
27 May 2021
The cinematic score to your psychological journey with Matt Jenko. Featuring artists like: Bonobo • Yotto • Emancipator • CamelPhat • ODESZA • Carpenter Brut • Tinlicker • Four Tet • Jacques Greene • Tchami • RÜFÜS DU SOL