This is an honest reflection: read at your own discretion
I lived nearly all of my 23 years at home. I say nearly because I am still 22 and not yet 23 but I don’t like saying I lived at home for 22 years and 5 months or whatever because that’s the equivalent of a mom saying her child is 38 months old instead of saying the kid’s 3 years old.
I went to university in Toronto but I continued to live at home because why should I pay expensive rent when instead, I can commute on the lovely TTC? Don’t you just love feeling like sardines in a can on a streetcar, smushed and crammed against other people who also choose to live and work in downtown Toronto.
I’m not ashamed to say that my mom made my lunches most days, even while I was in university. My younger brother was still in high school for most of the time while I was in university and I don’t know who would ever say no to mom’s cooking or leftovers from dinner. The only thing I ever really did at home was bake brownies for a school fundraiser or cook rice occasionally when we ran out and I didn’t want to eat just the meat dish mom had made the night before. My dad did the laundry because it was more efficient for us to wash all our clothes together and we had to go to a coin laundry anyways. I guess I was a pretty spoiled kid considering all I needed to do was keep my room clean, go to school and go to work. Yet, I couldn’t even keep my own room clean and I still struggled in school at least for the first bitter half of it.
When I went travelling, I didn’t consider that being an adult. I would eat out, didn’t need to clean the hostel room and I wasn’t working. If anything, I guess I should thank my long summer days as a cadet during our summer training that sorta taught me how to be independent. And my mom, always thank your mom for showing you how to clean even if you weren’t really paying attention.
Living away from home, in a space that I don’t share with anyone has been really interesting. When I moved into this apartment, I scrubbed everything super clean and threw away as many unnecessary items as I could. I began to understand my mom’s keen eye for crumbs on the floor and my dad’s annoyance with my hair getting stuck in the shower drain. My perspective on cleanliness had changed and I realized that maybe I really wasn’t that messy of a person I had once thought I was. I just needed to stop taking my parents for granted because they weren’t there to clean up any of the messes I made.
I learned how to be creative with my meals so I wouldn’t get bored of them. Another lesson learned: spices and seasoning are everything.
I tried to eat healthy so I wouldn’t get sick. I don’t want to be a burden to anyone here, thus I must take care of myself and not let anyone worry, especially my family back home. I actively try to drink more water. Wow, I just reminded myself I haven’t had water in almost two hours right now. Let’s take a water break.
Also, if it looks like I make a lot of pasta…. well it’s because I eat rice for lunch every day for school lunch and don’t really want to eat it again at home.
I also learned that I really enjoy baking. I didn’t bake very often at home because we didn’t really have the kitchen space. I have a tiny toaster oven but it does the job! I’ve only made banana bread, brownies and carrot cake thus far while here, but I have a list of other more ambitious goals which I will give to Tori and Colton to test (hehehe). I think the next thing I’m going to make is homemade hummus and pita!
I have a lot more free-time than I’m used to having and I spend a lot of it alone. Therefore, I’ve been learning how to fill my time and catch up on movies, tv series, books and a creative side of myself that I’ve been neglecting for so long. I really enjoyed watching Altered Carbon and Star Trek: Discovery on Netflix. I enjoy the time spent laughing and cringing with Tori while watching Terrace House. The new Fruits Basket Season 1 is SO good. I read Animal Farm and Brave New World and more. I play with water colours and doodle random pictures. I spend a lot of time studying Japanese and listening to French podcasts. I also have started to grow some herbs. Don’t be silly, they’re not the herbs that were just legalized in Canada. I’m currently tending to some chives, cilantro, mint, basil and chamomile.
I’ve also spent some time applying to jobs and looking at Masters programs. Life in Japan is fun, but I also know that it is temporary. I’m taking the time here to grow, reflect and make myself a better, more independent person.
Please don’t be sad or think that I’m really lonely because most of the time, I’m not. I do miss sleeping beside Honeydew and waking up to her licking my face and nibbling on my toes but I really like being here and I’m really happy with the friends I’ve met and the experiences I’ve had. I do miss my friends and family but that just makes me appreciate them that much more. I do miss and appreciate the conveniences of living in a city like Toronto, but I also appreciate the more laid-back lifestyle that I have here in Japan.
No matter what stage of life you’re in, you’re going to feel sad, angry, nervous, happy. If everything was always happy then you would no longer know what happiness felt like. There’s some sort of saying that I’m absolutely butchering right now about light not being able to exist without darkness and true happiness can only be derived once you’ve suffered.
Every experience is a learning experience. I have to be critical of myself, but I shouldn’t compare myself to anyone else. To me, that’s what being an adult is about for now: just taking it day by day, planning for the future, remembering the past but living in the present.
Something that I’ve been working on is writing down positive thoughts and experiences from my day. I write them down into a notebook and it also serves as a small journal for my time here. I read in a book or a blog that doing this is a good way to stay positive and really appreciate your life. I’ve been enjoying the small things in life: like enjoying cinnamon buns and sweet potato fraps with Tori, receiving mail and care packages from friends like Simo, Nikola etc., when Callum came to visit Oita, finding a large block of cheese! Even having video conversations with Lucia and David are written down 🙂
I know a lot of my friends are also going through the motions of life right now but here are some questions for you that’d I’d love to know your responses to:
What do you like about being an adult?
What do you not like about being an adult?
How do you spend your time?
What are some positive things going on in your life?
Anyways, that’s all I have to say for now. Until the next post!