Moving away from home after high school: an idea that typically embodies the American spirit of individualism.
Being Vietnamese, one of the most important values in our culture is family. That usually means staying close to home, through jobs and relationships.
A family's job is to protect you and be there for you no matter what.
But what happens if family always protects you from the hardships in life, the things that will help you grow? This happens a lot more often than you think.
Not just with Asian parents, but any parents who try to shield their kids from anything potentially hard are doing one of the greatest disservices to their children.
It's creating this fairytale shield of what life is really like. The same way that traditional schools create a fantasy way of life, so do your parents when they take care of everything.
You end up growing so used to your parents' rules, that you never get the chance to decide the rules for yourself.
You end up taking things for granted because it was just given to you by your parents; your cell phone, your tuition payment at college, your food. And then they blame you for not being appreciative.
It's hard to be appreciative when you don't earn it yourself.
With nothing to earn except grades in school, we usually derive our sense of value from the schoolwork that we produce. We are never taught to get value from learning how to be self-sufficient (i.e. a grown-up).
There's a way to fix this. Moving out and taking your own future for yourself. There's just so much room for personal growth when you move to a new city that you've always dreamed of living in.
But I know a lot of people have fears about them, so hopefully this can persuade you to take that leap.
Here are some initial fears I had about moving away from home.
1. I would have to pay for housing, food, and utilities myself.
These are the hardest things to pay for. There are so many benefits to having your parents that I don't really have to list. Maybe you don't have to start paying for everything 100%, but the more you can shift towards buying these things for yourself, the more control you have over your diet, living conditions, and overall lifestyle.
Financial independence is the best way to release the grip of overbearing parents as well. Even if you love your parents, it does much better for your mental health to know that you can take care of yourself.
2. I wouldn't know anybody in the new city/I'm leaving all of my friends.
First, you should always ask if anybody in your current network knows anybody where you're going, but if it turns out that you're going in alone, don't fret. Out of the few times I've went to different places to stay for more than a month, I usually knew no one.
But just by doing daily errands, bumping into people in coffee shops or tennis courts, I learned to make friends. There's always a pain period of a week or two, but that period of self-reflection and pain will multiply your resilience by 200 percent.
3. I won't have anyone to fall back on.
You'll make friends.
But you'll also learn to take better care of yourself because that's what independent living is all about. It's about taking back what's yours: freedom.
That includes the freedom:
- to make your own decisions
- to fail at things
- to succeed at things
- to get fat
- to get fit
- to date people your parents wouldn't like
- to break up with people you hated but your parents would've loved
- to make friends based on interests, and not location
- to not be judged based on who you were as a child
In the end, moving out and living on your own is experiencing life in all its shittyness and all its glory.