Paige and I consider one another best friends but that doesn’t mean we share the same perspective on most things. We tend to have similar values overall, but we perceive life - and how one should live it - in vastly different ways.
Take for example, the way I chose to do life once I moved to Montreal. She didn’t agree with it (more on that in a minute) but a) that didn’t stop me from doing what was right and best for me, and b) despite her wishing I’d do things differently, she still respected and accepted my decision to basically do the opposite of what she would do.
If Paige had been me, she would have gotten (and obviously kept) a job (like she has the past three years in Montreal), found her own place (like she did within months of moving here), and ONLY then would she have considered taking French with her remaining (and limited) hours.
I, on the other hand, chose to make what I considered to be the best use of my time and unique living situation during my first year in Montreal, by taking French Immersion 5 days a week while living primarily on savings, avoiding a job for the most part (apart from some online work for Angela), and most definitely not trying to live on my own as that choice would then make my other goals (learning the basics of French in an easy, breezy way while having the time and energy to enjoy and explore my new city) much more difficult to accomplish.
I value time and freedom to live and learn and play and create more than I value perceived security, so my choices have always reflected that. To me that’s wealth. Being able to spend your time and energy as you wish each day is the ultimate success in life. So if for 2017 that meant living on a couch, so be it.
Paige would never be happy with such a set up. Most people wouldn’t be. Most people want more stability, a secure income, their own room (at the very least), to not live with their mom (or adult child), but I saw the big picture - not the temporary discomfort of it all.
I knew that if I invested my time and energy into learning the basics of French right from the start, it would benefit me greatly in life and business in Montreal from that point on.
I knew that this couch life was temporary, so why not take advantage of split rent and bills and time with my girl while we were in this very rare and time-limited position.
I was able to furnish her place, help her out financially beyond our bills, spoil her with goodies, be there whenever she needed or wanted a heart-to-heart, and offer the much needed community / connection she had been lacking as an introvert in a big city.
Paige didn’t have a clan yet when I moved here. Me and the kitties were her clan until she met some great humans through work and school over the past year.
And Paige and I are both richer for having lived with one another for almost a year and a half, and even though she initially wished I would have gotten a regular job and moved out lickity split, she has said on a number of occasions that she’s grateful I didn’t.
Thankfully, now she can see how living my life in MY way works for me (I think she assumed I’d end up homeless when she moved out given my strong aversion to the 9-5), and it’s just as valid as her choice to work in something relatively stable and secure.
And now look! For the first time I actually DO have something stable and secure and long-term thanks to my epic win, AND I still get to spend my time and energy as I wish: creating, playing, building and ass-kicking. Thanks, Life!
I’m sharing this as a reminder that you don’t ultimately need your family members to agree with or even understand your path in order to live it (even though that would be SO great if they did), and you know better than anyone else what’s best for you (just as much as they know what’s best for them), but you do deserve and should expect and require respect from those around you regardless of your differences.
Peace in the world begins with peace at home which begins with peace inside yourself.
Sometimes it isn’t easy watching those we love live in a way we would never choose, but we can still find a way to love both them and ourselves along the way.
The example I shared about mine and Paige’s differences is so light and easy compared to the differences I faced within my own family (and with my own mother) growing up. Thank goodness.
It’s all good in our hood because cycles were broken and I raised Paige differently than I was raised. And if you weren't/aren't happy with your own experiences growing up, you can do things differently as well.
You really can (and should).
(Art: "Everything is a universe" by Loui Jover)