Living in your parents’ basement in your mid-to-late-20s isn’t exactly the ideal arrangement for most millennials. For many of us, the “ideal” is still out of reach. But we have to make the most out of the situation.
Like many millennials growing up, I had this idea in my mind that life would be this straightforward process. I would contribute tens of thousands of dollars towards my education, and as a result I would get a job in my desired field. I’d work to establish a stable financial foundation, and then proceed on to the wants and dreams of life.
My parents would encourage me, telling me how great I would be. I’d listen to them share stories about their own experiences, and I assumed my life would follow a similar path.
I’m 25 now and my life is not even close to being where I dreamed it would be.
The problem is we’re living in a very different world than past generations, and while it’s still possible to follow the same path as our parents, for most of us things probably haven’t worked out quite the way we planned.
My straightforward life? It disappeared the day I realized, “Yeah, this whole Psychology Degree thing, hmm, it’s really not for me!” But, that is OH-KAAY. Slowly, I have been coming to terms with this.
I’m 25 now and my life is not even close to being where I dreamed it would be. I’m a new resident of my old home. The dreams of riding my overpriced education to a sustainable career are long gone. I now refer to my mother as my roommate. My privacy is basically non-existent. And my Saturday evenings are no longer spent sipping copious amounts of red wine over intellectual conversations with friends. Instead, they are just filled with copious amounts of red wine.
Of course, this whole moving back home thing is just a momentary obstacle – one with its equal share of advantages and sacrifices.
My story probably sounds horrific (although entirely relatable for millennials) but moving back home at 25 does have certain benefits.
1. The Familiar Comfort
When I first experimented with the idea of moving home after being on my own for over five years, I felt apprehensive. Anxious. Almost immediately turned off by the idea. But why, when you reach a certain age or a certain point in life, does this place where you once felt so safe suddenly make you cringe at the thought of making a return?
Every day, I remind myself this choice is not forever.
My childhood home was and always will be a place where I feel safe. It’s a place of non-judgment. Despite my mistakes and flaws, my parents still find a way to accept me with unconditional love. Home is always there, and no matter where life takes me, I know I can always return.
Sure, I am 25, and I never thought I would be moving home again to stay. But every day, I remind myself this choice is not forever. It is a segment of my no-rules-or-guidelines-life that I must embrace and be thankful for (while indulging in as many home cooked meals as humanly possible).
2. The Time to “Figure Things Out”
WHAT is so wrong with this? I spent the last couple of years trying to understand why things weren’t “happening” for me. Where is my Prince Charming? Where is this spectacular, brag-worthy career of mine? The truth is, I didn’t even know what I wanted in life – so how can things just happen?
Taking some time to figure it out is perfectly OK. We all need to sit back and listen to our thoughts rather than rushing through life making mistake after mistake, without any idea of what direction we’re headed in anymore. Am I even ready for a career? Or to share my life with someone else? If you don’t know what you want, how do you know how to get it? I am thankful to have my home to figure things out. No judgment, no stress; it’s my safety net, ready to catch me when I fall and help me get back up on my feet again.
3. The Financial Cushion
Ah, here it is. The part where we talk about money – a topic constantly on the minds of millennials. With my decision to move home, I suddenly feel more at ease when the first of the month rolls around. I wish I could say I am swimming in a bathtub full of twenties now that I practically live rent-free. However, that is not (yet) the case. A girl can dream though, right?
My move home has definitely simplified my financial situation. I absolutely contribute to my mom’s household, but it is no longer my sole responsibility. This has allowed me to restructure my financial situation and focus on that step of “financial stability” that we all long and so eagerly work towards. For me, I am lucky enough to have the support of my mom during this crucial time.
Like I mentioned, there are also a number of sacrifices you have to make when moving back home.
1. Loss of Privacy
Who knew the simple pleasures in life, such as walking to and from your bedroom without a towel wrapped around your freshly cleaned body, could be so missed? How about drinking your morning coffee in peace, rather than a 20-question session with your much too curious and wide-awake mother (I mean roommate) at eight o’clock in the morning?
Adjusting to the lack of privacy has been one of the biggest struggles in moving back home. But it has also been one of the biggest motivators. Like I said, this period of my life is not forever. I won’t settle with living in my moms’ basement for the rest of my life. And yet, who knew being able to walk around naked without any disturbances would be such a motivator for wanting to figure out where to take your life next?
2. Lack of a Social Life
When I made the move back home, I had to leave some of my closest friends behind. This is a huge sacrifice. After many years, I finally felt like I had a solid group of friends that I could rely on for whatever curve ball life threw my way.
We had our once-a-week routines. The random Tuesday afternoon lunch dates. The regular red wine rituals. Now, I am back to square one. I’m the new person at the new job, and life gets lonely. Some days I just want to scream, “But I swear we would get along sooooo well if you just talked to me!”
The cool thing about true friends though, is that they are always willing to support you, no matter what. I gave up my social life to move home. However, I don’t think I could have done it without the reassurance from my best friends.
At the end of the day, you have to do what is best for yourself, regardless of how others may look at your situation.
3. Negative Perceptions of the Outside World
The world is full of judgments. We all do it. In fact, I must admit, people-watching at the mall as I sip my Starbucks is probably one of my top five favourite past times. Hmm, perhaps this is why I am taking the time to re-evaluate life?
At the end of the day, you have to do what is best for yourself, regardless of how others may look at your situation. It has taken some time, but I am also at peace with this momentary life hiccup. With the support of my friends and family, I have come to embrace this change. I now realize, no one else’s opinion matters.
While touching on the somewhat negative points of moving home, I do believe that sacrifice leads to happiness. And ultimately that is what we should all be searching for. At the end of the day, you can choose to view it is a “step back” or you can see it as an opportunity to rebuild and change direction. For now, I choose to accept my situation for what it is… then I top off my glass of red wine, and move on with my life.