A couple of weeks ago, my friend Juli asked me if I wanted to rent an apartment with her.
I paused for a while. Who doesn’t want the independent life?
To be able to stay out as late as we want, to cook the things we want, to decorate the place how we want it and to do all the things we wanted to do but couldn’t since we were still living with our parents.
Many a days I daydreamed of entertaining guests to my hypothetical large and spacious home, have dinner with home cooked food and then entertain ourselves by playing board games or watch a movie.
But we were just starting to work then, and wasn’t so financially secure. And now, after some years of working, I’m still not rich, but I can manage more or less.
So why hesitate now? Why not leave the nest now?
It’s interesting to note that many Singaporeans aged 25 and above, are still living with their parents. It’s not uncommon to hear 30 year olds, even 40 year olds living under one roof with their folks.
Living with parents is not a new phenomenon, and in fact, seems to be a more popular trend. In the United States, about 18.8 million 18 – 34 year olds still live with their parents. In Italy, about 80 percent of single Italian men live with their parents.
There are some people who might scoff at our lack of independence and some may find the entire idea as unfathomable. “What? To still have my mother to wash my clothes? And cook for me? Unthinkable!”
For me, I believe that it all boils down to filial piety. As Asians, there is an unwritten mantra for the child to take care of their parents as they grow older. In fact, when I started working, peers would ask, “How much (money) do you give your folks?”
I’d like to be able to give my parents a comfortable life if I can manage it. At the very least, be committed to them as I humanly can.
Sometimes I wonder if I can ever live without my family. I’ve been with them for as long as I remember. For all the disagreements, they are still a part of me. They are the ones who I can fall back and count on. It’s a reassuring familiarity for me – and at the end of the day, it’s a comforting thought to see that each family member is there. I am always reminded by our own mortality and I worry sometimes that I’d live with regrets, that I did not bond as much as I should have.
Eventually, there will be a time when I’ll have to leave the nest to make my own. For the moment, I’ll just enjoy being with my current family a little while longer.
Till then, I’ll still keep on dreaming about entertaining my hypothetical guests in my hypothetical house with my hypothetical award winning book 😛