I come from a very small island town. My oldest brother and my younger brother both went in to the family business. My older sister has been with her man since freshman year of high school, and have two children already. My little sister seems to be following in her footsteps with her high school sweetheart.
I want more. I can’t live the rest of my life staring at the same 350 faces. I’m restless. I’m bored. I feel claustrophobic.
How do I explain to my parents that I need to spread my wings and get out of here? They won’t understand. They were both born and raised on this island.
Help me get out!
Before you flap your wings in their face, figure out what it is you’d like to do. For now. Don’t panic - it doesn’t have to be your life plan. Even if it’s as simple as moving to the closest city to bartend while you figure out your next steps, that’s a step forward.
Once you have an idea, try to find a job and/or living accommodation.
Now that you have a viable plan, and some concrete answers to your parents’ inevitable questions, calmly tell them what’s going on in your head. They may freak out. It’s OK. They’re scared for you, they’ll miss you, they want what’s best for you. But they know what they know, and they’re happy where they are, so they may not understand your position at first.
Stay calm. Keep reminding them that you love them and that this is about you and not them.
My friend doesn’t work. She has one son in preschool and a full-time live-in nanny. In the morning, she goes for a run or to the gym, and then gets ready to drive her son to school. In full make-up, hair done, casual chic. He’s been woken up, fed, dressed and had his lunch made…. all by the nanny.
She calls me three times a week to see if I’m free for lunch. Once I said yes, and she insisted we go to an upscale bistro inside a high-end department store. It was a long drawn-out affair that cost me a fortune.
I learned my lesson and politely declined the next few times she called. But she didn’t get the hint. Finally, I said yes, but we met at a local coffee shop. It took me over 30 minutes to take my leave.
Now she’s calling to ask if I want to go away with her. She’s given me several choices as she has a trip planned every month between now and the end of the year.
I’ll admit that I’m slightly envious of her unlimited free time and bank account, but I’m not remotely in her income bracket. How many times do I have to say no before she stops asking?
This is actually a sad story. Your friend sounds bored, lonely and unfulfilled. Yes, busy people are often envious of those who seem to have endless free time, but you’re probably the type of person who would fill that time quickly. I agree – there just aren’t enough hours in a day.
As far as her abundant financial situation, you didn’t say whether she had made her own fortune when she was younger, inherited a family fortune, or married someone with a lot of money. Either way, if she has a partner, he/she isn’t making use of the free time and money with your friend.
Why don’t you set a scheduled coffee date or walk twice a month? Talk to her and find out what makes her tick. Then suggest things she can do to fill her time. She’ll appreciate your concern and your friendship.
FEEDBACK Regarding the fed-up grannie (Feb. 24):
Reader – “As much as it saddens me, I too have an older grandchild who accepts my monetary gifts but never lets me know it’s been received, and therefore, never thanks me for it.
“I don't want to stop acknowledging special dates and celebrations, but I do want to shake the feeling of frustration and hurt when my gift is not acknowledged.
“I’ve now started to make a charitable donation to a youth centre or charity they’re interested in, and I place the tax receipt that is in their name in the card instead of a gift card or cheque.
“As petty as it sounds, the first time I did this, I wrote a note explaining that I had made a donation in their name and that the charity replied that they were very thankful. Perhaps a little childish, but it felt good!”