I’ve been conducting the most ridiculous Google searches lately. When I expect Google to provide solutions to family challenges? Yeah that’s ridiculous. And yet here I am looking on Google to find out how I can help our adult kid to find her way (and this would reduce the drama, which we find distressing, if I’m being completely honest).
So maybe this transitional time in her life is MY problem, not hers? It’s tough for me to walk the line between guiding a young person using the benefit of my experience and allowing her to find her way the same as I had to. Part of my dilemma springs from me wanting to spare her confusion, hurt and frustration. Her path to success looks very clear to me. Perhaps I’m naive about what tools are available to a 20-something, and maybe I’m out of touch with how modern success is achieved? I certainly don’t want her to be a drone, stuck in a job that doesn’t inspire her and fulfill her 70% of the time. (100% is unrealistic, don’t you think?) I see how brilliant and intuitive she is. She has never been a traditionally successful person; she learns differently than is conventional but is no less intelligent or capable than those who do. Her defensiveness comes naturally to her and keeps her from hearing any opinions that differ from her own. This is her Achilles heel, as far as I can see.
I wouldn’t have listened to reason either, at her age. My parents didn’t know the challenges I faced. They had gotten married in their early 20s and had never lived on their own. They went straight from their parents’ houses to living together, with a farm, followed quickly by children and the responsibilities that life entails. Furthermore, their own parents lived nearby (some might argue TOO nearby) and so were watching them, advising them, and keeping them on a certain path. My parents were expected to carry on as an integral part of their families’ lives, whether that be working the farm alongside my paternal grandparents, hosting family dinners for both sides, attending the same church as my mother had all through her childhood, and generally taking part in the community. Generally speaking, even as an adult in those days you were expected to do as you were told by your parents, and be the dutiful adult child. I was a young woman with a degree, the first in my family to achieve this, and I was single, disconnected from my roots. My professional options were undefined as well. I had to make choices, and certainly if some of those choices had been taken away my 20s angst would have been greatly reduced, but long-term I’m glad I had the space and freedom to do a little questioning, searching, and deciding. However, times may change but social archetypes do not, especially if you aspire to traditional goals such as buying a house, getting married, and raising children (which I did).
Occasionally I have a flash of inspiration and insight regarding my own goals from this point forward (very different now from when I was starting out as an adult), during which I can see what I need to do to achieve my financial and professional goals. Admittedly, the hard work of reaching said goals is sometimes more than I’m willing to do. I don’t fault others for taking the easy, lazy path because I tend to do this as well. Instead of reading or listening to books to better myself and increase my knowledge, I play solitaire on my iPhone. Instead of working on my Etsy store to increase my product line or diversify my products, I play solitaire on my iPhone while ALSO watching a movie or tv show that I downloaded. Hell, instead of sleeping at night I’d rather read Reddit. And then I feel tired and shitty the next morning for work.
So yeah, I get it, and it’s doubtful I’ll be able to help anyone become who they are supposed to be, after a certain point. But maybe that’s not my job.