Being a twenty-five-year-old living at home wasn’t something I saw for myself when I was younger. Like a lot of people my age, I figured I’d go to college, get a job, and move out. The recession changed that. However, what would have really shocked my senior-in-high-school-self would be that I don’t mind living at home. Like, I really don’t mind. It doesn’t mean I plan on being here in another five years, but it doesn’t mean I’m counting the days until I move out either. Half my friends are apartment living while the other half are in my “conundrum.” Living at home can seem…defeating. More and more millennials are finding themselves in this very situation. Living at home means you can’t afford to rent or own and it’s more affordable to live with family and save money, which can feel like you’ve somehow “failed.” I can’t speak for everyone, but I don’t feel as if I’ve failed at all (in fact I feel more like a pragmatist in a system that has failed me).
With few if any job openings, I could move out and get an apartment and spend my meager earnings on rent (on top of student debt, utilities, insurance, gas, food, etc.) or I could save rent money and invest it. Honestly though, that’s not why I don’t have an issue with moving out. Yes, it’s pragmatic, but that’s not the real reason I don’t care.
To be honest, I have a unique perspective because of tragedy. My dad started suffering from health problems during my college years. I had gone to UC Santa Barbara my freshmen year and transferred home by the time I was a sophomore. The very next year my dad’s health problems began. Up until that point, I had always second guessed by decision to transfer home. It made me feel like if I did I might get stuck. My dad died on December 26, 2014. I would have never thought I would only get twenty-four years on earth with the father I loved so much and while I am still coming to grips with his death and my grief (which will be lifelong), I am so thankful I got 24 years and that I was home–the only place I would want to be.
To me, living at home means getting more one-on-one time with my mom; getting to run a few errands for her, cook dinner nearly every night with her, hear her laugh, see her smile. I miss my dad’s laugh the most; thinking about it makes me smile and causes my heart to ache simultaneously. None of us are guaranteed time. None of us know when we’ll die–or worse, when our loved ones will. People tell you this all the time, but it doesn’t register until someone you love has died. It’s ironic, the older I get the more I find myself understanding my parents. They always told me this would happen. I want to soak up this special time. In the blink of an eye, I’ll have moved out, gotten married, had kids, and it’ll be over–where it’s just the two of us, coexisting in love. I’m excited for the future, but I’m forever savoring the present.
Note: I realize living at home is also a luxury. Many people simply don’t have a choice and if they do it isn’t a free choice or is very well nonexistent for various reasons. I hate to exclude and I want to make sure that I don’t; this is just my own take.