I'm writing this article while sitting on my bed, coffee on the side and Muse playing in the background. The house is empty except for me. And I feel amazing!
Before you start wondering as to what's so 'amazing' about working from home, let me clarify that it's not the 'sitting on my bed' part that's exciting. It's the being alone at home bit that's got me all pepped up. It's not that I don't have a room of my own. It's certainly not that finally I'll be able to surf porn! As someone on the verge of bidding good-bye to my 20s, masturbation is clearly not the need of the hour.
It's just that I desperately need some time for my own self.
I live with my parents. I've always lived with them. They're getting old. With every passing year, their dependency on me is only increasing. They need me, now, more than ever. And I'm happy to be with them. Take care of them. Because I love them.
My parents mean the world to me. And no way can I ever think of staying without them. But sometimes, I do think of a life without all these responsibilities.
Between my job and responsibilities towards my parents, I have my hands full.
I wake up, attend to my parents and head to work. When I come back in the evening, it's the same thing again. And the cycle repeats the next day. It's been the same routine for many years now.
Ever since I became financially independent, I've also been the caretaker at home.
I try and devote as much free time as possible to my parents. Yes, I do go out with friends but even then, I'm always on the phone, keeping a tab on my parents. They are simple people with not much of a social circle. Age and ailments have made them moody. As their child, it's my duty to look after them and I've been doing just that.
I have had to make a lot of sacrifices along the way, all of which have purely been by my choice. And I don't regret one bit of it.
What I do feel bad about though is not having a life of my own. When everyone around me is taking holidays or partying out, I'm at home ensuring my parents have had their medicines.
As good children, it's our responsibility to look after our parents just the way they raised us when we were kids.
I don't remember my parents having much of a life outside work and family and I don't remember them begrudging me for it. If they did, they hid it well. Now, when they're not in a physical condition to do everything on their own, I have to step up and be the 'parent'.
As a 20-something living in a big city, I'm leading a rather humble life.
I don't party or eat out as much. I'm home way before most people my age. Weekends are mostly spent staying at home. The last time I took a holiday was a good 2 years ago. I haven't had a solid relationship in a long, long time. My sex life is nothing like what it should've been. I'm stuck in a professional rut because I can't move cities to take up a new, more lucrative job.
Honestly, if I had the time, I would've done so much more with my life. Taking care of my old parents, am I not losing out on the golden years of my own life?
When you're young, there's so much to do, so much to achieve.
My friends, peers and colleagues are busy charting their paths to success. And when they're not devoting time to work, they're living it up on the personal front. While I do understand that comparing your journey with others is mostly a futile process, I can't help but wonder how different my life would've been if I'd lived it like the people around me.
Would I be earning more than what I currently do? Would I have had a steady relationship by now? Would I have taken that much-wanted holiday to Miami?
These are questions that haunt me every single day. And these are thoughts I keep at the back of my mind.
You can't choose everything in life, right?
It isn't that I'm not happy.
Living with parents is a joy like no other. They're always there to support you. You can never, ever have enough of your parents' love. Coming back home after a long day at work, you just have to look at your mother's face and instantly, the world is a better place. Sunday mornings are spent having discussions with Dad about politics. Not to forget, I get to have dinner with them, every single day.
Life with parents is simple. It's full of love and full of happiness.
But after a certain age, when you're craving a certain independence, a need to open your wings and fly in a new direction, does life in a sheltered cocoon get a little claustrophobic?
Though you love your parents to death, you can't just spend your life as their child, right? Your sole identity, the purpose of your existence can't be to just take care of them.
Or, can it?
Parents can be a little selfish too.
They've spent their lives doing what they wanted. They worked their full tenure. Had a family. Bought a home. Lived their life.
As a child, you never had much of an option but to move around as per your parents' decisions.
And now that you're an adult with your entire life ahead of you, it surely can't be easy to spend it away so easily, right?
It's a tough call. You can't leave your parents because that bond is way too strong. And yet, you're desperately seeking a life that's free of them, or rather, their responsibility.
In such a scenario, what is one supposed to do?