I think in western culture, one is urged to seek independence from the nest and to never look back. Whether it be at age 18 or 30, you should be wanting to be on your own or be getting kicked out by your parents. Independence is kind of like happiness, wealth, being a vegan, in that only developed nations pursue such ideas. As life gets easier, we make it more difficult for the purpose of competition. We need new methods to separate the great from the mediocre. Also, as life gets easier we stray further away from our intended natural way of life.
It doesn’t seem frowned upon to ditch your parents in western society. I think the majority of people in my company left their parents for another city and never looked back. Siblings are scattered all over the globe. The idea is that you have your own life to live and you live it the way you want. They had theirs and now you have yours. That’s the rationale anyway. I don’t disagree or agree but it doesn’t always work out for the best for everyone.
This independence idea is all good until you’re alone and need help. You don’t really worry about it when you’re younger cause you just tell yourself everything should be ok. You tell yourself your health will be fine, you’ll always have your job, your spouse or your kid will be there for you. What can end up happening though is your health goes to shit, you lose your right arm, you can’t work, you get divorced and your kid moved to the other side of the world.
I know this 65 year old guy who moved away from home to another city when he was 18. He had kids, divorced, became ill, son died, daughter constantly moves, no friends, siblings are in other cities and the money situation ain’t great. We were talking about how people from an Asian background tend to stay close to family and take their old geezers in to live with them. He said, “that’s the way it should be.” Of course he believes that now.
In China it’s against the law to ditch your parents.
“A new national law introduced this week (July 2013) requires the offspring of parents older than 60 to visit their parents “frequently” and make sure their financial and spiritual needs are met.”
The culture of independence can leave you on the streets. Many people living homeless for whatever reason are there because there was no family to fall back on. I think sometimes even if people have family to fall back on, their belief in being independent stops them from seeking help from their family.
Indian families (the brown kind) living where I do tend to band up and buy a big house so that they can fit like 10 people. Independence is expensive. It’s almost a luxury for some people. My grandma, aunts and uncles all used to live within walking distance from each other. The strategy was that if anyone needed help it would be close by. No one lived in another suburb so that they could be on their own.
I became caught up with the idea of independence for most of my 20’s. Not because I believed in the idea so much but because of ego. I didn’t get the support that I needed so I set out with the “I don’t need anyone, I’m going to do it on my own” attitude. I was fine with ditching my mother forever if the opportunity was good enough and she was fine with ditching me when she had a man in her life. I think we both don’t see this as the best option anymore. Some of it is cause of selfishness. She knows the possibility of her being alone is high so her best bet is to keep me around and I know when she kicks the can, all her money is likely going to me. I sound like a richardhead, I know. I find it comical as well though. Even if she was dead broke I’d stick around anyway. My guilty conscience has a hold on me. It’s debilitating.
I think when you believe in the idea of independence, you believe less in the idea of family. It sucks to believe in family sometimes too cause they are usually in the best position to rip you off. So I don’t know, maybe there’s no winning.