I have a confession to make. I’m 23 years old — 24 in September — and I still haven’t moved out of my parents’ house.
There were a couple of false starts. When I was 17, I lived in the Atacama Desert in Chile for a summer. I had planned to be there for a year and then come back again after I graduated, but circumstances with chronic health problems dictated otherwise.
After high school, the same problems kept me from heading out to a residential college.
When I was 20, I traveled to Florida for a healing conference. Instead of coming home, I moved to southern Alabama on a whim to live with people I had just met.
From there, it was on to Kansas City, Missouri to live with my uncles.
The road ultimately led me back home to Minnesota to deal with my health and to figure out what I wanted to do with my life.
Which leads me to where I am today, on the verge of moving to California in search of the life I want.
For someone who’s been craving new scenery for more than a few years, I find myself surprisingly attached to my home.
Maybe it’s my astrology, or my upbringing, or maybe I’m just not as brave as I thought I was. I realize just how much I’ll really miss my family. Even the familiarity of a place I’m tired of living is a feeling I might miss.
The fact is, getting what we want isn’t always what we want. It’s why you can find so many miserable people complaining about their circumstances who are unwilling to get up and change them.
They enjoy being miserable. They like things the way they are because they’re comfortable and familiar. I suppose I can’t blame them; change is scary, which is why I’ve resisted it for so long.
Psychological studies suggest that moving is one of the most stressful things you can do in life, right below experiencing the death of a loved one or getting a divorce. In a sense, uprooting a life really is a death.
I am dying to one place and being reborn for another. So much about me and my life will change — and triply so because this is the first time I’ve done it.
Still, I’d rather live with the fear that comes from going after what I love than the fear of dying with unfulfilled dreams haunting my soul.
Beneath the fear of death, though, is the fear that we really are the only ones responsible for our lives — that we really can have what we want in life.
The unbidden fear says, What if I get what I want and still feel empty? And more frightening still, what if I am the only one to blame for my own unhappiness?
This is radical responsibility. Becoming accountable to myself for my own life and going after what I want, rather than blaming circumstances or my health challenges or my genes for what hasn’t happened, is what truly growing up and moving out of my parents’ house means.
Moving away, while difficult in many respects, is a choice I can make to be personally responsible for creating my life. My health still isn’t 100 percent, but I decided that I could no longer make excuses — even “valid” ones — for why I’m not living the life I want.
And fortunately, this is exactly what I want. This is my dream, or at the least the foundational steps for it, and I’m ready to go.
I’m excited for a new life with my girlfriend and the new friends I’m sure I’ll make. I can’t anticipate all the challenges and opportunities I’ll have, but I can face them with a smile. At least I’m choosing, very actively choosing, what I want to live.