Summer is uncomfortable.
University goes by in a blur of coffee, late-night cramming, and hysterical laughter. And then finals week comes crashing down, and suddenly you’re watching every single moment fly by individually but too quickly for you to catch, and you have to soak in your last few days with your friends while simultaneously studying like mad (because, let’s face it, you’ve been putting that off all semester) and packing and finalising your summer plans.
And then whoosh—you’re home.
One more year gone. (I like to think it’s run off to live happily with all my unmatched socks.)
And home, it turns out, is uncomfortable. For example:
- How did my brothers get so tall?
Last I looked, they were about waist high and I could sit on them if they got too rowdy. Now they’re taller than me, and I just hope I trained them well, ’cause I can’t force them to do anything anymore.
- Do I still have to listen to mum?
I mean, yeah, she’s still my mum, but I’m also officially grown up and able to take care of myself and determine when I should sleep and whether another cup of coffee is good for me, right?
- What is this place and what did you do with my room?
It’s disconcerting, because it has some of my stuff in it, but not all of it, and my sister now guards the place like a sphinx, and I live out of a suitcase on my bedroom floor.
It turns out I’m…c’mere and let me whisper it, because I’m uncomfortable with this word: I’m an adult.
An honest-to-goodness, real-live adult. I know how to pay my own rent and clean my own bathroom. Last year I set up and paid for my own internet all summer, and I’ve stayed in a sketchy motel by myself.
And being an adult makes coming home…well…uncomfortable. I’m in this limbo stage. If I want to do something, should I do it? Ask my parents? Tell my parents? Can I still yell, “MUMMMMMMYYYYY!” if a sibling gets in my space? Do I go on all the family outings?
We’ve found a relatively happy medium: I check with them because I’m in their house, I play nice with the kids, and I help with the dishes—because they feed me for free, and that is a great gift. Being home is kind of nostalgic. Pictures of high-school me on the walls, my siblings’ school things scattered around the hallways, my old junk still crammed in my dresser because I never got around to cleaning it out…
Some days I consider staying home. Free food, my parents’ insurance… But that’s not an option. Not only because my parents would disapprove, but because life is about growth, not comfort. Learning to walk was uncomfortable. Learning maths was uncomfortable. Learning to live like an adult and pay my own bills and find my own jobs? You bet your sweet life that’s uncomfortable.
But people are kind of like hermit crabs: we outgrow our shells, and no matter how happy we are in this place, there’s nothing comfortable about staying once the shell’s too small.
So yeah, I’m loving being home for the summer, marvelling at how tall my brothers have gotten and eating plenty of home cooking. But I’m also looking forward to leaving, finding a new shell, stretching and growing and letting myself feel uncomfortable.
Because if I’m going to have pains, I’ll have growing pains, thank you. Because life is about being uncomfortable.