I Can’t Help Feeling Guilty About Living Far from My Mom
While traveling to a recent event on the T, greater Boston’s public transport system, I felt as if I were in a generic movie about a city-dwelling 20-something. I love living in Boston. While it is not as big as Chicago or New York, after four years, I am still discovering new places, and yet it feels like home. My daily commute involves a scenic walk through the Public Garden and along city streets.
The only thing I would change about my location — besides its windiness — is its distance from my mother.
In a previous column, I shared that my time with her is more precious since her diagnosis and how hard it is to be far away from her. Sometimes it feels as if a clock is ticking, and I am wasting this time that I will never get back.
She raised me to be independent and not to plan my life around her. When I was in college, she encouraged me to travel whenever I got the chance and to avoid feeling obligated to come home during breaks. But I still blame myself for my choice to live so far from my parents.
I choose to stay in Boston because I am happy here and have found a job I am passionate about. I also know that while I want to be near my parents, I’m not overly fond of Chicago and don’t want to work there. Yet, when I go months without seeing them, part of me feels incredibly guilty.
I experience the typical child guilt of, “They’ve done so much for me, am I doing enough?” Though it’s more than that, I also feel a responsibility to my future self not to waste the time that I have now. Though it doesn’t make sense for me to pause my life and spend every moment with my mom, sometimes that’s all I want to do.
My mother will read this and tell me that I have no reason to feel guilty. While I’ll know that she’s right, I can’t control the feeling. I tell myself that I would probably go insane sitting around, or stuck in a job or a city that I can’t stand. If I weren’t here, I wouldn’t have gotten my adorable, but evil, kitten, Persephone. But despite my attempts to reassure myself, the guilty feeling doesn’t go away. Maybe it will one day, but not today.
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