Editor’s Note: This article was originally published on Sept 2, 2012, and has been updated.
I know I had a pretty good childhood with very loving parents who wanted to provide for me as best as they could and that they did. But sometimes I felt I missed out on certain things in my childhood. Things that many of you probably took for granted.
Although loving, my parents were also very overprotective of their first-born daughter, especially my dad. I wasn’t allowed to go to sleepover parties for quite some time. I was only allowed to sleep over at my cousin’s because they knew her parents. Initially, I had to have a chaperone at birthday parties. I wasn’t enrolled in organized sports because they were considered “dangerous”. I dabbled in various different sports in high school, but never found a particular sport that I could focus on in excelling in. I often wonder if I would have been a decent soccer/basketball/volleyball/tennis, etc player if I had started playing any one of those sports at an early age. Instead, I joined the dance team, student council, and the student newspaper to improve my chances of getting a scholarship.
I was enrolled in things such as piano (which I hated), dance classes (jazz I liked, ballet I HATED) and enrichment math classes (definitely hated that too). I had to beg my parents to let me go on a week-long high school trip. I had to beg my parents to let me go clubbing. I didn’t have the guts to sneak out. So it was quite apparent that I needed to go away to university. Of course, my parents suggested local universities and disagreed with me applying to universities that were more than a 3-hour drive away. So we settled on a university that was an hour away. Far enough to be away from my parents, but close enough to come home on the weekends for groceries and laundry. This was the first adventure for me.
Living on your own in residence, being away from home and friends, juggling a demanding workload in a tough program, trying to make new friends- eventually, it all got to me. As many frosh had experienced, university life was a huge adjustment. The first year was a big adventure I did not end up conquering. I ended up switching programs, having to start over and make new friends, which I was never really good at in the first place. Eventually, everything did end up working itself out. I adjusted to student life, made a great group of friends and managed to finish my program, even though I knew it wasn’t what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.
bf husband lived a completely different life. He grew up with pretty laid back parents who let him do whatever he wanted. He played organized sports and did all the things that most kids were allowed to do. Sleepovers and birthday parties were never questioned. He was so comfortable that he lived at home while he went to a local university. I hate to say it, but he had the childhood I wanted. I actually envied him for being able to have so much freedom at such a young age.
When we talk about how we each grew up (and not too far from each other either), my bf says he felt he got all his sense for adventure out of his system at an early age. I believe it had a lot to do with our individual upbringing and the fact that I was the first born daughter. But also we are of different cultures. His dad grew up in Canada and his mom’s family has lived in Canada for several generations. Perhaps my parents felt they had already taken on so much risk by moving to a new country on the other side of the world (they had actually come to Canada separately and lived in different parts of Canada before meeting in Toronto). Now that I am an adult, I almost feel I have to make up for lost time. Do the things that I never got to do as a kid and more. I constantly want to try new things and go to different places.
Where has this sense of adventure taken me?
Backpacking in Europe, treetop trekking, and zip lining, white water rafting, surfing, mountain biking in Whistler, glacier hiking, portaging, rappelling off a cliff and eventually hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu.
And now it has taken me down the entrepreneur path, helping small business owners increase their potential to make the bacon through blogging, branding and social media. I feel that the older I get, the more risks I want to take and while I am terrified of the potential outcome, I do not let it stop me.
Live life with no regrets. All day and every day.
Budget & the Beach says
However you grew up, it’s great you are trying to fulfill your goals and dreams!
Sometimes I think I was adventurous right from the start. There’s a home video of my older cousin and I jumping off the steps of the backyard porch. I follow his lead going higher and higher until I eventually fall down on my bottom and cry. Of course my dad quickly runs in to rescue me. lol.
DC @ Young Adult Money says
It’s interesting how the way we were raised influences how we live as an adult. I have seen many examples of this (myself included) and your story seems to be no different. Looking forward to reading about your future adventures!
Good point. When I think about my upbringing, my parents’ overprotectiveness could have backfired. I could have turned into some bad ass problem child because I wanted to rebel against their rules. Luckily, I was a shy, nerdy kid. Come to think of it, I still kind of am- shy and nerdy.
Miss T (@prairieecothrif) says
I was raised to be able to look after myself and to work really hard. This has translated into so many facets of my life. It has helped me a lot in life get through some tough times and to be strong. It also has backfired when I haven’t asked for help and really should have gotten some.
As far as adventure goes, I am definitely the most adventurous in my family. I am always traveling to some far off land, doing some kind of crazy sport, etc. It is so much fun. Now my hubby gets to come along for the ride.
That’s awesome. I wish my bf was more of a traveler. Until we went to Costa Rica, he had never been anywhere outside of North America. I was shocked. I get so excited when I get a new stamp on my passport!
Nick (@saftmblog) says
Until I had kids I had similar reactions from my family when I did things they saw as too adventurous. Now that I have 2 kids I generally stop myself… Still can’t give up all the adventure though, so I make sure to have some fun with Wifey McGee as often as we can. 🙂
I think raising 2 kids is an adventure on its own!! 🙂
My Money Design says
Just all the more reason to NOT be over-protective with your own children someday. It’s funny how sometimes we’re so different from how we were raised. I think a lot of it comes from what choices we make when we’re finally out on our own for the first time.
I’m still iffy as to whether or not I want children, but if I do have them, I’ll give them some freedom. Enroll them in soccer, hockey, sleepaway camp- live vicariously through them!
We are very similar! My mother wouldn’t let me do the same things that you weren’t allowed to do. While her reasons were different (we have a horrible relationship and she didn’t want me to have “fun”, seriously), I often wonder how my life would be different as well. And my bf is similar to yours as well!
That is interesting! I think my parents focused more on the crime happening in the city and were convinced that there a lot of crazy people are out there That’s why I think they didn’t let me go out that much or even go to the park by myself. There are a lot of weirdos out there, but there are also a lot of nice, normal people too! 🙂
I had strictish Chinese parents (stricter than Western but not as strict as some of my Indian friends’ parents) so I can sympathise. Mine took it just a little too far and I ended up moving out very young; I think they’ve loosened up for my brother (but he’s also male so they may have made more allowances for him anyway…)
It definitely makes me wonder how I’ll be with my own kids. I want the best of both worlds, you know?
I feel that’s always the case: if you’re the younger sibling, you have it made. If you’re male, even better. This may be somewhat of a generalization, but I found that a lot of parents of non-Caucasian background tended to be more strict on their kids. At least that’s how I perceived it growing up. I grew up in a neighbourhood with people of mainly European background. The majority of the kids in my classes growing up were Caucasian. Many of them were 2nd and 3rd generation Canadian.
I’m also extremely adventurous! My parents were super over protective. I experienced very similar things like you did in your childhood. I was called a rebel by my parents even though I really did not have any of the attributes of the rebel! :p I mean I had an almost perfect 4.0 GPA in high school, did sports, UIL, band, etc. I was such a nerd. This continued unto college and grad school.
So now, that I am grown up I hope I can travel!! Can’t wait 🙂
I like to think I’m still somewhat of a nerd. My bf is kind of nerdy too. I’m attracted to nerdy guys. lol. I think everyone should travel at least some point in their life. You’ll definitely enjoy the experience! 🙂
My hubby is a nerd too. I’m also attracted to nerds. Hehe
I can’t wait to travel more. My husband loves traveling as long as I plan everything.