You know that moment while sleeping when you realize your feet are too long for the bed you’ve had since your 16th birthday?
There’s nothing more humbling. Seriously, someone thought combining my headboard with a bookshelf was a good idea. Wrong. Granted the books don’t tumble on your face, sleeping on a shelf-pillowcase feels like having your head plunged into a tree well.
Living in teenage nostalgia is just one of the few delights of moving back into your parents’ house. This topic is such a taboo in our culture, many people including myself have resorted to living double-lives around the matter. We all know what happens when you’re honest:
“So, where you live these days?” Asks the random person at a bar.
Why do you need to know?
“I live with my parents.”
Immediately the whole venue goes dead silent.
“You do what?”
You see our culture associates living at your parent’s house with being a dirty, 40-year-old drug addict who doesn’t change his underwear. That’s not exactly getting the pheromones flowing for the ladies. I’m overblowing this a bit, but still, there is a stigma around the subject.
Maybe it’s time for us to reevaluate this distorted perception.
According to a recent NPR report in 2016, more adults between the ages of 18-34 are living at home than with partners. The reports showed 32.1% lived at home, 31% lived with partners in their residence, and 14% lived alone or with roommates.
One-third of millennials are playing a lot of Facebook cover-up.
While the image of Jack Black in 2002’s “Orange County” – running around his parent’s mansion bare-chested and sweaty – hasn’t helped the living-at-home stigma, moving back with your folks can be a valuable experience if you stop shaming yourself for it.
Here are a few things you should appreciate while back at home:
While it’s easy to get down on yourself for not having the independence you want, the experience is temporary. You’re not there permanently (hopefully), so appreciate the extra time you have with family; the elders won’t be there forever.
Also, appreciate the fact that you have a place at all. There’s a severe homeless population in most U.S cities. You have food, water, and shelter. Most people I know haven’t experienced real hunger and malnourishment. Whether you’re saving money or recovering from a personal event, you’re there to regroup and get on with things. Be thankful you have that opportunity.
One inescapable fact of living at home is that you will have your buttons pushed and will lose your shit sometimes. That’s all part of the process. Think about it, the same power dynamics that operated when you were younger are at work.
If you can make it through living at home, you can handle anything. When relationships flair up at work, school, or with partners, you’re battle tested. Staying with your parents requires relinquishing a certain amount of pride, and you realize you can’t always have control in relationships.
Valuing Time & Money:
It’s easy to neglect responsibilities while living independently (oddly), but when you’re living under your parent’s roof, there’s an urgency involved. You don’t want to be there till Kingdom Come, and your parents probably aren’t thrilled you’re there either; they want their nest back.
Living at home is downright awkward and uncomfortable sometimes, and it should be. It’s not healthy seeing your dad walk around the house without pants.
“Ding! Ding! Ding!” Your mind.
“How’s that security deposit coming along?” The inner voice of reason.
Appreciate this time, but move swiftly. When you look back, you’ll be thankful you came to value your time and resources.
When you only worry about yourself – your goals, deadlines, commitments, and bills – the world becomes very small. However, when your elderly parents and dogs are pleading for help, you might roll your eyes, but helping them is gratifying even if you don’t recognize it immediately.
When I moved back, I realized how caught up in my escape I’d become. Being obligated to help others has inspired me to commit more time to volunteer and get out of my head.
Even Einstein, who crunched formulas all day, figured out the one thing you can’t find in any equation:
“A person starts to live when he can live outside himself.”
Thanks, Albert for relativity.
It’s funny how culture can so powerfully dictate your behavior and beliefs. I cared for a long time about concealing information about my residence, but honestly, if people aren’t going to be open and forthcoming, how will stigmas ever change?
This topic is personal and varies depending on the person. If you identify more lessons, more power to you. The point is to distance yourself from the
stereotype – which is degrading – and focus on the positive experiences with an eye towards the future.