My two-year college gradu-versary was fifteen days ago, and I’m writing this from my parents’ kitchen. Well, maybe it’s my kitchen. I totally still live here.
Since moving out originally at 18 for college, I’ve lived in three different towns in the Northeast and three different counties. I traveled a little, sowed some wild oats, and yet like 36 percent of Americans 18-31, I’m once again sleeping in my childhood bedroom.
(I promise it’s been redecorated.)
I have mixed feelings about living here. Do I miss coming and going from my own place as I please, not checking in with anyone? Yes. But my Magic Hat Number 9 cap a few days back said “Be grateful, not hateful,” so in an effort to follow the wisdom of beer, here are the reasons why living at home with your parents while you figure life out isn’t the worst thing—and why you should be cool with it, too.
1. Low Cost of Living. I’m lucky enough that my father pays for most of the groceries and doesn’t charge me rent, although I do know some parents who do charge rent. It’s never as expensive as rent would be elsewhere, though, and it’s easier than finding a roommate. No rent? Sweet. That’s another few hundred dollars a month that you can invest in your future. Rent will happen at some point. Bigger bills will happen as well. Somewhere off in the future, you might need to pay for another human (probably one that starts off very small), or maybe you want to backpack through Europe for six months. Saving money is cool, right?!
2. Living with Siblings. Sure, when we were younger, we got on each other’s nerves…fine, okay, we still do. But if you’re lucky enough to have siblings—people your parents force you to be friends with, who you eventually start liking on your own accord—they’re bound to come around your parents’ house. My sister still lives here as well, and it’s nice to have someone to hang out with when I’m just bumming around at home.
3. Company. Maybe your siblings have friends. Maybe your parents have friends. If you live with them, it’s like an automatic social life that you can partake in or totally avoid if you prefer. There’s a good chance that the people who come around your childhood home are the people who have known you since you were in diapers, which means they probably love you for the innocent child you were when you pooped on them twenty years ago.
4. You can save money for what you want to work toward. Tying in the first reason, what do you want to do next year or the year after? A penny saved is a penny earned. Maybe you want to work your butt off now to pay off your student loan debt. Maybe you don’t have any debt and want to spend it on at backpacking trip.
5. But, if you spend a little too much, you’re not as screwed as you would have been. If you buy too many shots at the bar, you’re not going to end up homeless. Your mother might call you a dirty stayout for being out until five in the morning, but as long as you still help her clean up the house, she probably won’t throw your butt out on the street. She’s nice, right?
6. Home cooked meals. Okay, not in my house, but I’m pretty sure some families still do this. This’ll save you money on the Chinese takeout you shouldn’t be eating three times a week anyway—no one needs that much wonton soup.
7. Parental love. Parents will love your unconditionally. They created you and still marvel at the cool shit you do, when you manage to do it. It’s a blessing to come home to this after a long day at work, or a long day on the job hunt if you haven’t quite landed something yet. They’re there to give you hugs and kisses, and tough love when you need it, all because they want nothing more than for you to succeed and live a life a little easier than theirs.
8. We all still have plenty to learn. Your parents are the wisest roommates you’ll ever have. They’ve been around the block a few more times, and never have they run out of things to teach you or the willingness to teach them. Maybe you could still pick up a skill or two in the kitchen, or maybe your mom can talk some sense into your crazy millennial mind when things get out of hand in there. Soak in the opportunities to learn from your parents. Heartbreakingly enough, they won’t be around to teach you things forever.