Yes we love our families. Yes we appreciate all that they have done for us, all of those sleepless nights before you, a babe in arms, realized how freaking beautiful sleep is and how severely lactose intolerant you are. Yes we appreciate their decades of wisdom spattered with insightful anecdotes. No, we don’t want to move back in with them after living for years out in the real world, balancing jobs, university, a riveting social life and an iron deficiency.
Those of us who have left home and then had to crawl back with our student loans between our legs, all know that the transition can be difficult. There are personality quirks that don’t come out when they visit you at college, or when you visit them over a weekend.
You can hide them away on lunch dates, tuck them into your socks over Christmas. But they will rear their ugly heads by the time you have unpacked your clothes back into your closet. Making you wonder if the past four years were a dream. Or a joke. Or if you should be ahead in life, maybe living out Lena’s or JLaw’s, or Tavi’s early success.
After years in paradise on the South Coast of NSW, I recently returned to my parent’s house in the middle of Sydney suburbia. I’ve pretty much made all the blunders possible during this state of transition, and so, if you would be so kind, let me tell you a few things I’ve learned, that could make your stay a little easier.
1. This is a stepping stone, or a giant rock, or plank. But it isn’t forever.
People move home for different reasons- maybe you didn’t line up the end of your lease with the beginning of your new living situation, leaving you with a six- week break with the parenthood.
Or maybe you have graduated uni and are underemployed and you are doing the responsible thing by not getting into debt. Or maybe you have good work, that might even make use of the skills you acquired at college, but you don’t want to pay the heinous Sydney (insert city here) rent prices until you have gotten yo shit together. Whatever the reason, never fear- there is a very good chance you will not be forty-three and still living with your parents.
It is easy to feel a bit down and out, thinking that everyone has it together except for me. The fact is, no one truly has it completely together. We know this intellectually, but we forget, because of the loveable bastard that is instagram.
2. Embrace all of the good things about living at home.
I’m not going to lie- there are a hell of a lot of perks of living at home. For example:
- Furniture that didn’t come from someone’s front yard.
- Appliances that work.
- No chance that a rat that will run across your lounge room and up your leg while you’re making tea for a room full of friends. This might be because you will never have a room full of friends over at your parents, but the point still stands.
- No housemates who regularly have sex with their door open (not okay) (never okay).
- No mold in your ceiling that you fear might creep into your lungs and ruin you for life.
- There is now no need to continue in your deep googling of celebrities that have died from black mold poisoning.
- A kitchen stocked with products like NutriVital Chia Seeds, Lemon Myrtle Jelly and other products that would make pinterest froth at the mouth.
- People in the house you can speak straight to- who won’t mess you around with passive aggressive text messages because, hey, they will happily yell at you instead! And you them, it’s a two way yelling street. Just the way family should be.
3. Make your room yours now, not yours when you were eighteen and obsessed with Jack Wilson with the shoulder tat.
I moved into my brother’s old room, which was bigger than mine (finally got it! Perks of a
Middle Child returning home 1#) but which did not feel at all like mine until I got a little inspired.
Your childhood home needs to acknowledge that you have changed, you have grown, you now know the difference between the Odyssey and the Iliad and your room is damn well going to reflect this. Once it felt like my room, with my ridiculous amount of candles out and my books stacked just so, I stopped feeling as though I was only home for a weekend. If this is the drab reality of life in your twenties, you might as well make it look pretty.
4. Get involved.
You may feel that you have lost your social life, that you will never again have friends casually drop by for a drink. That any notion of romance has died an early death. But you need to get over that- refer to point number one and try and think about how you can make this period of time worthwhile, for you and everyone you meet.
“But there is nothing to do here”, you say? I hear you petal, I understand. But maybe you just need to dig a little deeper. I missed the ocean so much I found myself in the local aquatic centre, shredding up the pool with my floundering swimmer technique.
If a social life is what you are missing just add up how much time your needy friends used to take up— now you can spend that time hobbying (a verb I discovered is missing in the English language). Fly fishing? Making and selling filmo beads? Writing a blog that tracks your thrift shop purchases? (This I seriously considered). Be creative! Or adopt a pet.
5. Remember: this is the moment in the film before the main character falls in love.
Or has a life altering epiphany, or finally gets their big break.
Watch Bridesmaids, work hard at finding work, say yes to that date, put in extra hours at your job, take your aforementioned film or bead business global, deal with your commitment issues, join a gym. And then watch Bridesmaids again.
6. Be grateful that you have a home to move back in to.
A friend of mine recently commented that she was never all that worried about money while she was at uni, because she always knew that if she lost her job and had to move out, she always had her family to fall back on. I realized that I’d never considered anything else- of course my parents would love to have be back home (they should be so lucky), of course they would help me out during my unpaid teaching internships when I had to stop working and I blew through my savings.
Out of everything previously suggested, I have found this point to be most helpful. It is time to stop moping around and say a heartfelt thank you to the two people you drove mad during your teens for allowing you to live with them again. It goes far to remember that there are so many who don’t have the luxury of a little time back at ma and pa’s, to get us on our feet and out into the real world (round two).