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So you’ve moved back home with your parents. Do you have an “escape plan” in mind?
In the fall of 2014, I moved back home with my mom. It was a decision I made upon realizing I needed a lot more than a piece of paper saying I was a graduate in order to build a successful career. I felt lost. I was doubting my education choices, and feeling unsure of what career route I wanted to pursue. I needed time to breathe.
Life is hard, you know? It isn’t everything you imagined as a kid. Or maybe for some people it is… All I know is that I needed some time to try and figure it all out again. And sometimes, this means moving back home with your parents – even if it wasn’t part of your “plan.”
Well, here I am, six months later, sprawled out on my mom’s couch smelling a delicious aroma of what will soon be a mouthwatering, home-cooked meal. One of the many this week has entailed. Jealous? I mean, when I think of living at home in this light — life really isn’t all that bad! Moments like these always have me wondering why people focus so much on the negatives rather than the positives in a not-so-ideal situation.
I feel like I should take a moment to clarify: this won’t last forever.
Living with your mother at 25 isn’t a life achievement you want to be shouting from the mountaintops. But these last six months of my life have been far from complaint-worthy. I am happier, I am less stressed, and most of all, I have been focusing on myself — a few things we millennials tend to put secondary in our day-to-day struggles.
Living at home has given me the extra support I have been without for so many years.
The Millennial Pursuit of Happiness
Happiness for me is about surrounding yourself with the people you love. Of course, living with your mom and sharing the one and only bathroom you shower in each morning may be a little too close for comfort, but I must admit, even these instances have put a smile on my face.
Being around a supportive foundation of people will set you up for success. I know we can all agree on that, right? Living at home has given me the extra support I have been without for so many years. And I didn’t even realize I needed it until I moved back home.
I can come home and chat my mom’s ear off about my day or sit in complete silence with her. Either way, she is here for me. Having the luxury of a judgment-free, yet honest, environment has definitely boosted my happiness, and I have my family to thank for that.
Family is forever. Living together in the same dwelling, fortunately, is not.
Letting Go of What You Can’t Control
I have always been afraid of “forever.” Just ask my patient mother, who in the last seven years has moved me across cities and provinces more times than I can count. But at the end of the day, week, month or year, she has always accepted me back with loving, open arms — and a short list of chores for Saturday morning.
I have been pleasantly reminded that these dreams of mine will not come easily.
Like many millennials, I constantly find myself worrying about the future. Perhaps it is because I do not want to settle for anything less than what I believe I am capable of. Being labelled a fresh graduate with no experience doesn’t exactly land you your dream job. And inviting someone over for a dinner your mom has prepared doesn’t scream, “perfect date!” (Don’t worry though; he’ll be back for more… dinner, that is).
In the past six months I have been pleasantly reminded that these dreams of mine will not come easily. (Moms truly do know best). Stressing about the future will not get me any further ahead if I do not focus on my efforts now. And to be honest, for the time being, my mom’s couch is the perfect place to let go of all those things I cannot control.
Living at home has allowed me to tackle the debt I face.
Building Financial Stability
Lately, one area I do feel in control of is my finances. My fortune of bunking up with mom minimizes the financial stresses that many millennials currently face. However, I’m still a long way away from bathing in a tub full of twenties. (That has to be just a rap video thing, right?) Remember that over-priced education I was riding out for four years? Exactly. Still no millionaire!
Living at home has allowed me to tackle the debt I face. It’s there and for once I do not ignore it — something I feel can be so easy to do, and a feat many millennials struggle with. That number does not get any smaller the more you avoid looking at it. Trust me, I’ve been there. But I am taking this as an opportunity to put my debt in the past, for good. And every day I am forever grateful for this.
Tackling the Escape Plan
As comfortable as I have felt in these past six months, I still have to remind myself daily this won’t be my “forever.” Hmm, where should I start? With the naked bathroom run-ins? Or maybe the early morning altercations when I haven’t had enough coffee? How about the conversations in the office I always try to avoid when someone asks, “So where do you live?” (I feel like my lunches packed with delicious leftovers may be giving me away…)
For the first time in a very long time I feel like I am exactly where I am supposed to be.
A strip of my independence has definitely been torn off. For seven years I lived on my own, relying on my parents the odd time for grocery money when I overspent at the bar on a Saturday night. I can look past my lack of privacy for the time being, but definitely not forever. A part of keeping a sound mind and continuing to build my happiness is knowing I am building an escape plan. Even if it is at a snail’s pace.
So, what’s next, you ask?
I wish I could lay it all out for you right here: the perfect plan. Sure I have financial goals set aside for the day I decide to fly solo. I actually gave myself a three month timeline when I initially moved in. As we all know, life never does seem to stick to the plan; and here I am to prove it — six months later, still living with mom.
But guess what? I am happy. For the first time in a very long time I feel like I am exactly where I am supposed to be.
Believe me, one day in the near future I plan to go to the bathroom with the door wide open again. (And I think about that day a lot, I do!) But to be quite honest, this may be the last time I get to spend this much time with the people I love. As one of the many struggling millennials out there, I have decided to put my happiness first and my pride second, and if you’re facing a similar situation I’d encourage you to do the same. Even if it’s not part of the plan…