Have you ever wondered why you like what you like? Why you aren’t comfortable in certain environments? Mostly it has to do with where and how you lived in your early and formative years. We absorb more from our parents, and those around us when we are young than we realize.
You may be thinking well of course I’m just like my mother in this way or that, but did you realize that where you choose to live, what kind of home you choose to live in is also formed by those early experiences?
When my children were young we moved about 20 miles outside the city I had grown up in. That short distance was like moving to another state. The activities children occupy themselves with in a country setting are as different as night and day compared to the activities available in the city. I didn’t realize this for a few years, but when I did it made me realize our move would have a profound effect on my children.
When we first moved I loved the changes. Life moved at a slower pace, cars would stop to allow a mother duck guide her ducklings across the street, that wouldn’t have happened in the city where everyone was in a hurry to get some where.
We had wide open spaces to play in, special areas for children to fish away from the roads, and plenty of outdoor activities in all seasons. It was a dream for me and them. We still went back frequently to the city to visit family and friends, and to pick up things not available in our small town, but were always happy to leave.
Then when my boys were 14 and 17 years old we suffered a devastating electrical house fire. My grandfather welcomed us to stay with him while we got things sorted out. We weren’t there 24 hours when my boys began to complain that there was nothing to do and they were bored.
This experience got me thinking how if I had stayed in the city they would have never felt this way. So what else would affect them by that one simple move?
I began to look at my life and the experiences I had growing up. I lived with my grandparents, so I lived with values that were quite different from those my friends had at home. My grandparents were thrifty and lived in a comfortable yet very small three bedroom home. They had lived in a larger home when raising their children, but once the children moved out choose to downsize to a much smaller home, which is where I grew up with them.
I moved out on my own at age 18, and have sought out small homes every where I have lived. When I have visited friends in larger homes I feel lost and vulnerable. I wonder how someone can come home to a large home and not have an instant need to walk through the home checking that no one has gained entry while they were gone. With a small home, I don’t have that need to search my home before feeling comfortable. And like them, once my children moved out I wanted a smaller home to suit just my needs without realizing that I was emulating their choices yet again.
As an adult I wanted to grow my own food and rather than growing flowers, being in the country I had plenty of wildflowers available for my cuttings.
They frequented family stands to buy other seasonal produce believing they should first support the local farmers before spending their money at the grocery stores and that it was fresher and tasted better. I have followed their example in my life as well.
When we traveled, my grandparents would stay in inexpensive motels rather than hotels. The rooms had to be clean, but they were bare bones. We traveled lightly and brought what we would need.
Today I too look for inexpensive, clean rooms. I don’t care for a coffee pot, iron or other amenities. When I travel with a friend she always wants the comforts and amenities. I never feel comfortable with these places and view the additional costs associated as wasteful. The way we pack is very different as well. I pack comfortable clothes that won’t need an iron, she needs the iron. I pack a very simple pair of earrings that will work with everything I will wear, she brings a box with a couple of choices for each day.
I did have one experience different during those years with my grandparents. I went camping each summer. I got to enjoy the sounds of nature rather than traffic, and that one difference is what I believe stayed with me when I looked to relocate with my children. I missed those summers. I wanted a home that was surrounded by open spaces, I incorporated that need into the other experiences I grew up with.
So what did my children do when they began their adult lives?
- Both shop farmers stands when possible
- Both live in small homes that suit their basic needs, although my boys seek homes with high ceilings. That is due to the fact they are both over six feet tall and feel claustrophobic in spaces with low ceilings. Makes sense to me.
- Both have chosen to live in small towns and can’t picture raising their families in the city
- Both enjoy the outdoors and want their kids to enjoy the same
- Both want to have gardens to raise their own food, and flowers for beauty
- Both travel lightly, and don’t care if their hotel rooms come with extra amenities
Do you see the correlation between how and where you choose to live with what you were raised with? Was there some thing you purposely choose to do differently?