I moved out my parents’ house in Milwaukie, OR when I was a bright-eyed, bushy-tailed 18-year-old. The home that I had shared with my favorite person in the world, my Grandmother, and the only home I’ve ever known.
It was terrifying, exhilarating, and bittersweet all at once. When I was a kid, I couldn’t wait to be an adult.
Staying up as late as I wanted.
Eating whatever the hell I wanted.
Going anywhere and everywhere without asking for permission.
…so yeah, I like being an adult.
Flash forward almost ten years later, the popular idiom, “home is where the heart is”, starts to resonate with me more than ever.
The perks of living at home, at least for me, was that it was a given that I’m going to get along with the people in my house. However, living on my own this last decade has proved otherwise. I’ve never thought of myself as a confrontational person, but that was until I experienced my fair share of shitty roommates. I’m talking about people who do not understand or respect the concept of personal space, boundaries, or common courtesy. My last spot was a goddamn nightmare that was the quintessential culmination of all those lovely qualities.
It’s probably my fault for being complacent and being fearful of having to go through the process of house hunting again, but I couldn’t be any happier when I did find my new place. Finally, it was quiet, it was clean, and there was no weird racism. It was also the most unorthodox living situation any young professional could have possibly found themselves in.
As my fellow twentysomethings go about their glamorous millennial lives living in these sexy downtown lofts, I found myself living with two 70-year-old Vietnamese retirees.
No, it’s not an old folks home and they’re not my grandparents, but they do have my Grandmother’s spirit. I think the one element that I’ve really missed when I was living at home in Oregon with my Grandmother was her warmth and her unconditional kindness. I’m not even talking about cooking and caring for me (but that is welcomed). I’m talking about grown people being able to look each other in the eye and say hello in the mornings without expecting anything else.
No hidden agendas.
No passive aggressiveness.
No roommate drama.
If my Grandma has taught me anything, it’s that no matter how other people choose to treat you, try to find the goodness in everyone. Kindness is not a limited form of currency or an expiring coupon. It’s not tied down by any pretense nor does it discriminate different backgrounds. In other words, it shouldn’t take one to receive kindness in order to give kindness.
KINDNESS IS KINDNESS.
It’s only been a few months, so who knows how this current living situation will eventually turn out, but the one thing I can’t stress enough is whether or not you’re living with someone, being a good person shouldn’t be conditional. It should not be something to be rewarded for. It is inherent and it is as organic as the air we breathe.
That’s what I’m learning from my old friends. They get a bad rap due to our ageist, youth obsessed society, but our elders have so much wisdom left to impart. They’ve seen things! Things we wish we had the pleasure and privilege of witnessing. I’m thankful to continually make new friends no matter the age.
Plus, old Vietnamese folks always have good food stocked in their house.