I’ve written before about my increased need for control and my gratitude for not living back home. Since I moved back from Ireland, these feelings have only become more salient. This evening, I’ll fly back from Florida, hop into my car, and make the 3 hour drive back to my apartment, resettling into my comparatively solitary life. It’s been a truly fantastic vacation – I swear, I went entire days without thinking of all the work I have to do when I get back – but my isolated living situation has some therapeutic benefits, too.
In the past year, members of my family have faced more than their fair share of stressors. J’s husband had trouble settling into life in a new state, putting pressure on their marriage. RJ’s vapid roommate decided to move back in with her family, leaving RJ with no way to pay for the apartment and necessitating her move back home. RJ even considered moving in with Dad, but just before she could, she totaled her car, which ultimately led to her moving back in with Mom and Stepdad. SL bought a new house, which is exciting, but obviously, moving a family of 4 with two toddlers to a new city is not an easy or relaxing experience.
Then, there’s me. I’ve been loving being back at my home university, but things are certainly hectic. Applying for jobs is terrifying, and running a study on my own, however small, is an enduring test of my organizational and people skills. Yet, because I live on my own, I only have to worry about me. While J told many of her siblings about the bumps in her marriage, and Mom pretty much told everyone about RJ’s car crash, I have the luxury of sharing only what information I want to share. Yes, I can tell my family about applying for jobs, but I can water down the stressful aspect of it. If I have a bad day, I can deal with it by myself, without worrying anyone else. I just buy myself some Starbucks and watch TV at home until I fall asleep.
That sense of independence not only satisfies my desire for control, it also serves to minimize my opinion of any stress in my life. If Mom isn’t worried, if my sisters aren’t sending me supportive, consoling texts, then life can’t really be that bad, can it? And it’s not, obviously. I’ve got a TON going for me. 3’s death gets further and further away, and I feel like I can handle anything. By isolating myself to at least some degree, without people feeling sorry for me or acknowledging any difficulties, however minor, I get to act life everything is fine – there’s no one around to tell me otherwise :)