The other day I wrote about how two of my kids will be starting high school in a couple of months. My oldest son is already 17 years old. I have another son who is turning 9 years old today too. So, as my kids are growing up quickly, over the past couple of years, Feyma and I have been starting to think about our lives after the kids move on to life beyond our household.
I mean, think about it. One kid who is 17, two entering high school, and another who is nine. The two entering high school will be in college in the blink of an eye, just 4 years from now. It’s hard for me to believe, but my days of having kids in the house are fading away now. We all get older, I guess, and there is no avoiding that. Well, there is one way to avoid getting older, but I’m not ready for that either!
Part of thinking about my changing lifestyle in the not-to-distant future also is the state of the world economy. In the past, I’ve lead a life of plenty. Pretty much, if there was anything I desired, I had it, or got it. Nowadays, though, the world is different. I have a desire to change my lifestyle, live with what I need instead of always having what I want. So, I have decided that I could be quite comfortable with a smaller house, fewer “things” to complicate life, etc. I mean, when you see a lot of people going from being very well-to-do to being poor almost overnight, you start to feel that it’s better to live a simple life. I feel that I could be quite happy with fewer complications in life, and just enjoy the simple things in life.
So, as I have been shifting my thinking to this simpler lifestyle, plans for my post kids-in-the-house days have been going through my mind. The other day, though, a little light bulb went off in my mind:
Wait: You are engaging in American-thought!
What? American thought? Yes. As an American, it is expected that when kids finish up their education, they will move on and start their own life. They will get jobs, move out of the family home and go out into the world to make a go of their own life. That is what has been in my plans. Maybe within 10 years, there would be no more kids in the house. But, the other day that light bulb lit up brightly in the recesses of my mind. I live in the Philippines. Things don’t work like that here in the Philippines! I mean, usually kids don’t leave the family home until they marry, and if they don’t marry, they might continue to live with their parents indefinitely.
So, I am an American, and having my kids stay in the house well beyond their schooling is outside my culture. But, my kids are growing up in the Philippines. Why would I think that they will adapt the American culture when it is just as likely, possibly more likely, that they will adapt the Philippine cultural norm.
I admit, I think I would be more comfortable with the American norm when it comes to how long my kids will live with me. Don’t take me wrong, I love all of my kids very, very much. However, culturally, I am more comfortable with spending my older years with just Feyma and living a slower life, enjoying each other and just keeping everything simple. Am I wrong to feel this way? Honestly, it does make me feel a little guilty. I don’t want to push my kids out, but I am not sure that I would be prepared for them to live under my roof well into my golden years either. It’s hard to decide what the right thing to do is.
I suppose that the best thing is to just go with the flow. Perhaps my kids will feel the American side of their heritage and want to go out on their own. Perhaps they will marry at a relatively young age, and thus it doesn’t matter which side of their heritage they choose to follow. It’s hard to know. I suppose I’ll just play it by ear.
As a sidenote, I’d like to wish my youngest son a happy 9th birthday today! Jared, you are a good boy, and I am very proud of you!