Maybe it’s the economy, or our generation’s refusal to completely grow up, but these days living with your parents is something that many people in their late 20s and 30s are facing. In fact, a record number of 20 - 34 year olds are living at home with their rents.
When I graduated from university, I moved back home for seven months. Even at the age of 22, this was a difficult situation. I was used to living on my own, to coming and going as I pleased, and all of that changed when I took up residence in my old bedroom. In the past few years, I’ve watched as many friends have moved back in with their parents for a number of reasons – losing their jobs, renovating their home, trying to save money for a mortgage or a wedding.
It could very well happen to you. It may have already happened to you. So, as I’ve watched friends trudge back to the family home, I’ve taken notes about all the challenges this transition can bring, and come up with some ‘rules’ to help you keep your sanity in tact.
1. Exhaust all other options.
2. Remind yourself that your rent is free. Remind yourself often.
3. Take down the old posters in your bedroom. They will just end up depressing you.
4. Learn to enjoy watching Holby City with your parents.
5. Start running/doing yoga/taking a Pilates class. Exercise is good for you. (Plus it will get you out of the house.)
6. Take advantage of some of the hidden benefits of your new living situation: sneak your dry cleaning in with theirs, enjoy the variety of snacks, enjoy the endless supply of clean towels.
7. Make dinner for your parents every once in a while.
8. Say goodbye to your privacy.
9. Get used to answering questions about where you were, what you were doing, and who you were on the phone with.
10. Talk to your parents nicely, no matter what they are saying.
11. Try not to get annoyed and revert to your 16-year-old self, slamming the door and screaming ‘You don’t understand!’
12. Get interested in the neighborhood and family gossip. It will help pass the time.
13. Walk the dog and take out the bin before your parents ask you to.
14. Resign yourself to the fact that you probably won’t be dating while living at home. If you decide to pursue this anyway, do so at your own risk. (see #8)
15. Attempt to change the subject when people ask what you’re up to. Ask them what they think of the weather or gay marriage or Yorkies – anything to avoid answering the question.
16. Learn to ignore people’s looks of pity when you tell them you are living with your parents.
17. Update your resume/apply for jobs/look for a new apartment – anything to move forward and remind yourself that this is a temporary situation.
18. Appreciate how clean the bathroom always is.
19. Remind yourself that your rent is free. (You can’t do this enough.)
20. Tell your parents thank you. Tell them a lot. They are the nicest landlords you will ever have.
Jennifer Close is the author of Girls In White Dresses and Things We Need – available on Amazon now.