On why moving back in your folks shouldn’t be considered a bad thing.
Let’s get some things out of the way first. I am paying homage to a Jon Bon Jovi song with the title of this post and I’m not embarrassed about it. I’ve always felt that Bon Jovi sort of got the short end of the stick as far as musical acts go. People rag on him for his hair-band start, representing all things Jersey and having too many cheesy songs to be a real musician. You know what? It’s 2013, he’s still relevant, he’s still playing sold out shows and “Living on a Prayer” is the best bar song ever. I’ve seen him in concert twice and not only is he a very talented vocalist but I’d rate a Bon Jovi concert as 2nd most fun show I’ve ever been at (first is Journey and Def Leppard, don’t ask).
Rant aside, in my quest for finding some direction in life, returning home is always thrown out as an option and in all actuality is a viable one for me. There shouldn’t be that many cons here. While her job market could use some help, I do love Northeast PA unconditionally. I get along great with my parents. Living at home would provide my bank account with a well-deserved respite and my parent’s home has a pool, gorgeous back deck (and front porch) and a well-stocked bar in the basement.
One con I’m consistently listing? I’m 27, and on the latter half of the age where I’m closer to 28 than 26. I’ve been living on my own, 3 hours from home, for four years now and by all accounts have been doing pretty well. Much as going home holds an appeal there’s still that stigma attached, that moving back in with your folks after a certain age and absence represents some sort of failure. This stigma shouldn’t be there and I should be cognizant enough to realize how outdated and truly juvenile it is, yet here we are discussing it.
It’s worth noting that I realize staying home is not in the cards for everybody. It’s the healthiest and smartest choice for some people to get out and away and furthermore not every parent wishes to transition to their children’s landlord after a certain age. So if you, like me, do have parents who aren’t in a hurry for you to leave or would welcome you back with open arms, why wouldn’t you then consider yourself to be lucky?
I moved out three months after graduating college and obtaining a teaching position. I’ve never lived at home while working a proper job but had that been an option, I would have jumped on it. I’m not going to extoll the virtues of having your mother do your laundry or pack your lunch every morning because that’s not what I would have taken advantage of (although I’d take her up on her ironing skills because for some reason I’m terrible at that). Rather it would’ve been a nice way to save up for a year or so and pad my bank account.
Sometimes when I think about all the money I spend on rent and utilities, in somewhere I know I don’t want to be permanently, it makes my head spin. I know people who’ve stayed home for a year and they were able to save up enough to really give them a leg up in the world. I do relatively fine but always have to be very aware of my budget and need several months to save up for any major purchase. Now sometimes I think this would’ve completely backfired in my face (I’d have a pickup truck, and a snowmobile and go international every summer) but hopefully you get my point.
I’d also be gaining a support system living at home. I’ve been blessed with parents very invested in my well-being and while I’d never expect them to do everything for me, it would be nice to have older, wiser people to run ideas by, help out with everyday errands if I got bogged down with work and even just vent to after a long day. Moving (or living) at home, is what I consider to be using your resources and isn’t using your resources a smart thing? A sign of mature and pragmatic thinking?
Why then, does moving back home, or never leaving home come with that aforementioned stigma. Now there’s also plenty of people, who like me, view this as a smart move, but it’s not uncommon to hear phrases uttered like,” oh well, she still lives with her parents,” or “I thought he was a good catch until I realized he still lives with his mother.”
I’ve always argued against this stigma. First of all I’ve never really gotten the rush to fly the proverbial nest. I moved out because of the job market. I was never one of those guys who wanted to leave my small town in the dust and never look back. Being comfortable in the knowledge that you don’t have to prove anything by blowing town is something I think should be lauded. Furthermore, I have friends who’ve lived (or are living) at home, and I’m not talking about the type who’ll never leave mom’s basement, but young professionals who have good jobs but just opt for home for whatever reason, be it financial gain or simply a satisfaction for the area.
You even see it in the media, how my generation has a failure to launch. Why are generalizing so much?
The thing is, despite how argumentative I’ve always been on the subject, the very second I thought it might apply to me, I started having doubts.
I think what I fixate on is how it seems like taking a step back. If I’d been living with my parents for the past couple of years, maybe this wouldn’t be an issue but I haven’t. I’ve been on my own, doing my own thing, and it’s all been very vindicating for me.
Moving home would mean a return and for some reason, returns have a negative connoation, an indication that “he couldn’t make it out there in the real world.” It’d mean moving from a large bedroom with enough space for a sitting area to the twin bed and small closet I used as a teenager and would mean putting things my things into storage since my parents’ home is already furnished. It would also mean having to tell people I’m 27 and still live at home with confidence and self-deprecation rather than see through excuses and over rationalization. I think that’s what stings the most: moving home would somewhat make me confront the fact that I still let other people’s misguided misconceptions affect me.
Moving home is just one option. It’s not something I’ve decided on yet but if I do I need to level with myself that it’s not a step back. I used the whole “take advantage of your resources” spiel earlier today in class, and home might be my greatest one.
photo: stoic1 / flickr