Friday, March 31


My mom hates milk. She always has. When she was a baby she never had to be weaned. My grandma says that she tried to get her to drink milk, but after she was 8 months old she wouldn't do it at all anymore. She says it gives her phlegm. She didn't really care what kind of milk we had at home, and used to buy whole milk because it tasted better when she cooked with it. Eventually she decided that it was too fattening, and switched to 2%. It was only the loud griping of her children that kept her from buying skim or non-fat milk. We all loved whole milk, and would speak of it in glowing terms whenever the conversation came up.

About 4 months after moving from home I had an epiphany. I was at the grocery store buying milk. I remember looking at the dairy case thinking, "I could buy whole milk instead of 2%." I bought the milk, and left the store feeling like a rebel. Later that day I was talking to my roomate about my epiphany and she shared a similar story. We both realized how silly it was that we were buying things we didn't like just because it was what our parents had bought.

Looking back at it now it seems rather silly. My mom doesn't really care what kind of milk I drink. Her interest in my health indicates that she would have at least a vague interest in my eating habits. However, she's not going to beat me when she sees (gasp!) whole milk in my fridge. Many kids, when they leave home, are all too aware of their parent's control over their habits. Moving out is the time when all bets are off, and "I'm an adult now! You can't tell me what to do!"

However, I wonder if those same kids, who are all too eager to drink themselves daffy, are still buying the same brand of laundry detergent that their parents bought?

That moment when I was in front of the dairy case really was a watershed moment in my life. Yeah, the feeling like a rebel was silly, but the realization wasn't. At that moment I became aware of my ability to recreate myself. Until that point I was what my parents and family had shaped me into. After that point I became a work in progress, my own work in progress. I was still wearing the clothes, walking the walk, talking the talk, and buying the milk that my parents did.

My parents had told me what was right, what was wrong, what was important, and what didn't matter. They had done their job, because I could function as a member of society on my own. Now I had the opportunity and responsibility to make each of those value judgements again, but this time by myself. I was able to set my own priorities in a way I never could before. It was the first time when my own opinion was really all I needed to decide.

I'm still in the process of becoming my own person. I may always be in that process. I'm lucky though, that I can remember exactly when it started, and I can look back at that moment for inspiritation when I need it.

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