As much as it pains me to admit this, I sleep in the same bed that I wet when I was five. The same bed I puked in one Christmas Eve after my cousin and I snuck under the kitchen table at a family party and ate an entire plate of fudge. The same bed that had, over the past four years, come to feel like a rest stop on breaks from college — a place that reminded me of what felt like a past life. And now, it’s become my present again. I’ve moved back in with my parents. Help.
More and more, it’s become an unsavory reality for many young college grads. With unemployment high and the economy hovering between bad and awful, it seems that many of us have no choice but to pull into our parent’s driveway the day after graduation with our degree in the passenger seat and our teeth gritted. This is not what we had envisioned.
I dreamt of an apartment in Brooklyn with my best friend and former college roommate, a steady, entry level job where there was room to grow, and a liberating independence that one can only feel as a 22-year-old young woman living in New York City. What I got was a load of cows, a job as a waitress and my mom’s yell piercing the 8 a.m. air, asking if I have any darks to add to the laundry (Perk numero uno of living with mom: she still does my laundry. Judge me, I deserve it).
Did I expect too much? I’d like to think not, but maybe. Probably. We all create somewhat idealistic expectations before we are flung into the unrelenting grasp of reality.
And yet, here I am. Here we all are. A situation that is not dire, but one that we’d, you know, rather avoid. It’s a set of circumstances that I don’t even know if I can truly get away with protesting. I have a roof over my head, a set of parents who seem to love me a lot and continue to tolerate me leaving my dishes in the sink and eating the tops of their muffins without asking (insert Seinfeld reference here [yes, I really do that]).
The discomfort, the unrest, comes from my ulterior motive — the need to prove myself as an adult, living with no strings attached (or at least most strings detached), in a place I can call my own. A place where I can eat when I want, sleep when I want, walk around naked if I want, put that weird painting I got from IKEA two years ago where I want, and most importantly, have the space to grow into the person I want to be. It’s cheesy, maybe, but I feel like I’ve done all the growing I can do here in this small Pennsylvanian town, and I, like many others, need a change.
I guess the important part is this: there is no key to living with your parents in your 20s. It is a tricky dance that I ungracefully stumble through on a daily basis. I have no answers, and there are none, really. I can’t predict your future or mine. But if you feel a little desperate sometimes, remember that you control the motion in your life, and whether its forward or backward — that’s you’re decision. Perspective and action make all the difference. Philosophy is not my specialty, but I know that’s true. And if all else fails, remember there’s someone else out there getting yelled at for taking too long in the shower — me. I feel your pain.
For those of you who have moved back home, has the experience changed your perspective?