Maggie, at From Cave Walls, and by Lauren at LSS Attitude of Gratitude, alternate hosting Throwback Thursday. The idea of the prompt is for them to give us a topic and for us to write a post in which we share our own memories or experiences about the given topic. This week, Maggie chose the topic of “independence,” and she wants to know…
When did you first start to feel independent?
I had a rather unique childhood. I don’t think I was planned. And possibly not even wanted. My father was 42 when I was born and my mother was 37. I had two older sisters, one 15 years older than me and one nine years older. Both of my parents worked and by the time I was ten, both of my sisters were out of the house living their own lives. So, for all intents and purposes, I was an only child.
With both of my parents working full time, I became what used to be called a “latchkey kid.” My father typically left the house each morning by around 6:00 and often didn’t get home until 8 or 9 at night. My mother had to leave for her job by around 8:00 in the morning and didn’t get home until 5:30 or 6. I typically fixed myself a bowl of cereal in the morning and then walked to school (elementary school) or to the bus stop (middle school and high school). I would come home to an empty house after school, fix myself a snack, and then either do my homework or spend time with neighborhood friends until my mother got home from work.
As a result, I learned pretty early in life — at around age ten — to be self-sufficient and independent. That said, I was still dependent upon my parents to provide a roof over my head, food for the table, and clothing for me to wear.
I suppose, though, my true “independence” started when I was 18 and left home for college. My parents, despite both working hard, couldn’t fund the costs of college, so I had to work part time during the school years and full time during the summers to pay for college. It wasn’t a tough transition for me because I had been pretty much on my own for most of my “formative” years even before going off to college.
After graduating from college and graduate school, I was a bit of a loner. I had a lot of friends that I hung out with, but I lived by myself and prized my alone time and privacy. It wasn’t until I was 30 that I met the woman I would marry two years later. I was 33 when our first child was born.
I have no regrets about my growing up situation and I believe that my need to be self-sufficient and independent has served me well. I tried to instill in my kids that being independent in both thought and deed was important and I think that has served them both well in their own adult lives.
And I fully agree with Maggie’s point that independence is learning how to stand on your own, to understand how you fit into the world, and to be responsible for your decisions and actions.