Do you emotionally live in your parent's basement? I found that the emotional aspect of masculinity is something I never really gave much thought to until recent years. Once I started to dive deeper into this realm I came up with this idea/parallel and thought sharing it could be fun. So here you go.
When I was eighteen I moved out of my parent's house and trekked far across the country to another state. The moments as I was driving away from everything I had ever known, there were massive amounts of instinctual stress choking my gut. I pressed through it though, thankfully. I was on track to being an independent young man who had no idea how to take care of finances or even buy groceries. That didn't matter; I was growing up, detaching myself from my parents and learning to provide for my own tangible needs. I spent the following years learning how to take care of myself. It was not an instant thing. This process seems to be one that takes years to master (which I am still working on). To say the least though, I have been fully independent and providing for myself for years now and it feels great to be able to take care of myself. How does this relate to living emotionally in your parent's basement? It really is not much different at all. You see, when you reach a certain level of maturity you start to take ownership of your life. You know there is a time to move out! Just like I started to take over the financial responsibilities I encounter in life, emotional needs are something every person should mature into taking responsibility over.
I had this conversation with an individual about my internal needs and how I do not really know what it looks like to take care of myself in that respect. As we were conversing a statement was said along the lines of, "Maybe you (Tim) should stop expecting your parents to provide for your emotional needs". The moment this statement was spewed into the air I instantly thought about the thirty-year-old man child living in his parent's basement playing video games. I thought about how vehemently I have judged these stereotypical, socially awkward beings. I held tightly to high levels of judgment against the boy in a man's body who was dependent upon his parents to provide for his needs so he could escape reality. When these thoughts flooded my mind I could not believe the fact that the tables had turned. I was that man living in my parent's basement, escaping reality and depending on my parents to provide for my emotional needs. I may pay rent and buy my own food now, but emotionally I wanted them to be my provider. When this epiphany struck my inner core, something shifted. It was time, as a man, for me to start providing for myself. I needed to not just physically move out from my parent's house but also emotionally. This had nothing to do with my parents being bad human beings. This had everything to do with the fact that as a man I had been running from my heart, wanting to be passive and not face reality. The fact is, this area was something I did not want to handle. However, something happened. The realization that I was being passive in this area of my life really made me desire change. I then started on the journey to seek it out, almost even subconsciously.
So what does moving out of my parent's emotional basement look like? Taking the time to actually know what my own emotional needs are. Realizing that I don't have all the answers. Being willing to humble myself and ask for help knowing life could get a whole lot better. I started making steps and moving forward in the direction of my life that I so recently had been waiting around for other people to handle for me. I am sure there are many more things I can do and will do. Fortunately, since this epiphany has occurred, things seem to be moving forward at a healthy pace in my life. It feels scary and overwhelming at points, but it is a familiar feeling that could be associated and even paralleled to moving out when I was eighteen. Initially I felt incapable of doing anything, but I am slowly learning that I can do this if I take it one day at a time. The freedom I feel now is glorious and I know I will rise to the many occasions in life I am sure to encounter as long as I do not run away. Failure is inevitable. Victory is chosen. Passivity is what I do not want to accept.
This leaves me with a final thought. I wonder what it would look like in today's day and age if men were not only independent financially but also emotionally. I think the dependency on other human beings to meet one hundred percent of one's needs is extremely crippling to both parties involved. I would love to challenge you to think about your emotions and be honest with yourself. If you were to emotionally move out of your parent's basement today, would you be able to take care of yourself? Maybe you have already and that is amazing! But for those of you who haven't yet, are you willing to move forward in life and figure this out? Are there practical steps you can take to move out?
I would love to hear your thoughts!