**Thanks to Jason Michael Carroll for the title idea**
After six years of living with my great-grandpa and three and a half of being his full time caregiver, I have finally moved out. I thought it would feel like a much bigger release than it does. Do not misunderstand me; on one hand, it feels great, but on the other, I feel terribly guilty. I was absolutely elated when my best friend and I first found our apartment, but while packing, I broke down in tears. These weren’t, “I’m so scared, what if I am making a mistake and fall flat on my face out there in the real world” tears. These were guilty, “I feel like I’m abandoning someone who has always been there for me” tears. Fortunately, I have great friends who have been there throughout this ordeal reminding me that the grandpa I remember and love would not want me to be tied down to him 24/7 instead of living my life, and they’re right.
My grandpa was always a proponent of my getting an education and doing something with my life. That’s what I’m going to do. It hasn’t yet been a full week, but I’m completely moved–my room is still partially in boxes, but I’m out–and as I sit here typing this, I’m at my new job. (And yes, I am allowed to be doing this on the clock. It’s fantastic.)
Although my new job is in Indianapolis, I’m still living in Muncie. I couldn’t bring myself to go too far away and I’m still popping in and checking on him, but I can’t bare the burden of his well-being on my own anymore and I’m happy to say that I don’t have to. We have hired professionals to assist with his care so that he can stay at home, as he wished, and I can not stay at home, as I wished.
I’m nearing 25 so for most people my age, moving wouldn’t be as big of a deal, but this is my first real move. (Moving from my parents to my grandpa’s doesn’t really count in my mind.) I haven’t had a “real job” since I left the grocery store to take care of my grandpa. To be working again and on my own, sort of, feels daunting in someways, but perhaps not as much as it should. My current job is only temporary so if I don’t find a permanent job at the end of this assignment, I could be in real trouble. For some reason, I’m not worried. Instead, I’m worried about grandpa forgetting me faster now that I’m not around all day, everyday. Yesterday when my mom went to visit him, he asked her who she was. Just to hear that on the phone was heartbreaking. He’s done the same to me a few times, but each time was in the middle of an “episode” and easier to take. Yesterday, he was as normal as normal can be for him. I don’t know what I’ll do when the day comes that I walk in on a “normal” day and get the same greeting.
Many people are have been doubting my decisions, but they were decisions I had to make. It was time to “grow up.” With that said, I’m terribly sad by the fact that I’m almost 25 and I feel 55. I missed what were supposed to be the best years of my life. I missed the college experience I thought we all got to have. I missed the opportunity to be young and dumb. So while people are telling me it was time to grow up, in some respects, I grew up a very long time ago and now I’m already sick of it.
I suppose there’s not much of a point to this post. To be honest, I guess I’m looking a pat on the back, tell me it’s okay to do what I’m doing, and that the ages of 18-24 don’t have to be the best years of your life. I certainly hope they weren’t.