Here’s a conversation I had with one of my clients at work not too long ago:
Me: Hey, if you’re going to drink that in the car, just please make sure that you don’t spill it. My mom will kill me.
Client: What? This is your mom’s car?
Me: (sighing) Yes _________, I moved back into my old house with my parents after school so that I could save some money.
Client: You live with your PARENTS? (Laughing. Lots of it)
Since moving back here in May, I have received mixed responses to “I live with my parents right now.” Sometimes it’s laughter, like it was above. Sometimes it’s pity. Sometimes it’s skepticism, and sometimes (although rarely) jealousy. The general concensus about living with the folks again after college seems to be “What? You couldn’t make it on your own?” Or at least that’s the way it often feels. I have other friends who are still in college who look at my 9pm bedtime life and say, “I will NOT move back in with my parents. No way. I’m going to ___ (Insert lofty dream here)__.” While I wish them well and hope that they can, my reality screams “Save money; move back home.”
Admittedly, I too thought like that at this time last year. Having arrived back in the states, I found even the confines of regular college almost suffocating. Even though I had lived with a family abroad, I had felt free to do as I pleased and with so many new things to try and places to see, I did. I struggled with being back in MA and told myself “I will NOT move back in with my parents. I have got to get out of here.”
But here I am, back in my hometown, working full-time and living with my parents. I still wish that I could just pack up and get an apartment somewhere totally new; somewhere in a city so that I could walk everywhere and go out on Tuesday nights without worrying about driving or waking anyone up. Still, my months of being back here have also opened my eyes to some of the perks of living at home again for a while.
The first, and most obvious, I AM SAVING MONEY. Big Time. My parents, bless them, are allowing me to live rent-free. Sure I pay for gasoline for my car, my phone bill (which I think I missed this month…Sorry Mom&Dad!), and the occasional grocery bill or bottle of wine, but I smile each 1st of the month knowing that no huge chunk of my paychecks is going to rent. This allowed me the money I needed to pay back the bills on all that freedom I had in Chile, buy a new computer, some new clothes, ect. When it comes down to it, this was the most financially sound decision I’ve ever made.
Second, I’m giving my health a little bit of well-needed recovery time. Years of all-nighters, parties, and low fundage inhibiting me from making healthier choices are being paid back right now. I eat good home-cooked meals (alternately made by me, Mom, or Dad); I sleep a full eight hours (usually); I go on walks; I get outside; I drink less. Now, I’m not saying that I don’t still make some pretty college-y decisions on the weekends, but the option to sit curled up on the couch on Saturday night and watch a Friends marathon with a cup of tea is way less frowned upon here.
Third, I do “lame” things. I have been able to do some of the less cool stuff that I like to do. I guess that could be said about living on my own too, but it’s easier here. I started playing my guitar again and reading books..for pleasure! I write. I bake–like every week. I am relearning how to knit and have started crafting with the kids I babysit. With access to a car, I go shopping, out for lunch, and to the half-priced Tuesday night movies at the theater. It’s not an exciting life, but I can’t pretend it’s all bad.
I’m not saying it’s a perfect situation and I definitely don’t want to be in the same spot this time next year, but I have seen the light of living at home. I miss having my own apartment and living with my best friend, but I’ll be back there soon enough, and I’ll be better off when I get there.