From the time I was in 7th grade (11 or 12) I did not think I would make it to the age of 30. By the time I was a sophomore in high school (15-16) I had come to terms with the reality that I would be lucky to live past 22 years old. But now that I’m turning 23 years old in a few months, I’m actually tearing up a little with the new realization that I can now easily make it to my 70s or even 80s, and hey, if I’m good enough, I can even make it to my 90s or 100s. Even though most people in my family die at a ripe old age, they still die of things related to not taking care of themselves when they were younger, and on my biological father’s side everyone usually dies of either cancer or they kick the bucket in an unforeseen freak way. My Oma (grandmother on bio father’s side) died due to her stomach exploding, Opa (grandfather on bio father’s side) died of lung cancer about a year or two after he retired from the military, many member on his side of the family died in car crashes, war, or some weird and freaky accident. My mom’s side, the only time people died young was before they came to America. A lot of her side of the family was killed during their country’s revolution. But besides that, mostly people die past the age of 70 and it’s everything from cancer to heart attacks or their own damn stubbornness to not accept treatment for various medical problems.
I’m glad that I’m able to surpass the age that I thought I was going to live to. And I’m even happier (and a bit proud) that I’m able to become the adult that I always knew deep down that I could be. Everyone always expected that if I made it to the age of 22, then I would be in jail, or I would be a welfare queen, or some type of homeless prostitute. But I always knew that I wouldn’t let myself get like that, I always hoped that I would raise above the situations that I had been born into and raised in and that I would stand on my own two feet and succeed. And so far I have and from what I can see for the future, I will continue to succeed so long as I focus on it and not get stuck in a rut that I see a lot of people around me being stuck in.
I know that moving to Connecticut was the best choice for me, even though no one in my family thought it was. But it was the best move for me because I was able to break away. If I would have stayed then my life would be very different from what it is now. In such a short time; only a few years of living here, I know that if I would have stayed in California then I would have been sucked into the group mentality of my family.
My family consists of not only immediate family, but extended family as well. Because I and my cousins were all born at around the same time, we were all raised like brothers and sisters. My aunts and uncles were second moms and dads. My older sister is about a year old than one cousin. I and two other cousins were born in the same year. And my little sister and the last cousin were born within a month of each other. Since we all lived in the same city, all of us were just a family. Depending on the time of year would depend on whether all of us would spend most of our time either at our home or at an uncle or aunt’s house.
Now my younger sister and two female cousins have children and whenever I do talk with my mother and few family members who still speak with me, the conversation always leads to the same thing “Come back, your generation is having kids so you need to have a kid. If you don’t, then your kid will grow up lonely and coming back will be even harder. Don’t be an oddball, don’t be weird, stop trying to be different.” That’s summarizing, but all conversations lead to that.
But I’m glad that I’m not being part of my family. I am being me, I’m doing what I want to do. It’s difficult, but well worth it in my opinion. I love being able to actually live an American life style; being able to make something out of nothing, and not having to do what everyone else is doing, having to luxury of being able to choose and question things.