Before I dive in (and get comments from the Angry Mob), please know that I am VERY aware that moving back home isn’t something everyone is able to do and that it’s a privilege. I recognize it’s not a reality for everyone. But I can only speak on what I’ve experienced and how beneficial it’s been for me.
1. Learning to act selflessly.
When you’re a 20-something and living alone or with roommates, you operate differently than you would living with a family. You can afford to be a little more selfish, more impulsive with your actions. But when I came home, I couldn’t do that. I had to think about my actions and the reactions they could create. I took on various chores or other activities related to keeping the household going. I volunteered to take my little sister to her swim meets, did the dishes for my mom, etc. I was an active participant, not just someone renting space.
2. To look at things through my parent’s eyes.
Teenagers are terrible people. Sorry teens, it’s the truth. Even the “perfect” kid hit 13 and was unbearable for a bit. When you turn 18, legally you might be considered an adult, but your brain is still developing and you’re probably just as dumb and intolerable as you were when you were 17. So, you go off to college and start learning what adulthood and responsibility really mean. When I graduated with my degree and temporarily moved back in, I could finally see things through my parent’s perspective. I understood why we got into certain fights when I was younger. I thought about how they might feel in situations. And because of this, I was a lot more understanding and (let’s be real) pleasant to live with as a young woman vs. as a hormonal, angsty teen.
3. Being purposeful in my choices.
Being allowed to live at home is a privilege, and one that I didn’t want to take for granted. Not everyone gets the opportunity or has the resources, so I decided to not waste it. I thought carefully about what I wanted – professionally, emotionally, physically. I learned to say no to things that, in the moment might have seemed good, but I knew longterm wouldn’t be beneficial. I landed a job the November after graduating here (hi Thought Catalog!) and had I not been living at home, I don’t think I would have. I would have been preoccupied trying to just stay afloat, financially. Being at home gave me the chance to go for something I loved, not just something to pay the bills.
4. How to grow the f*ck up.
My last year of college, I was a certified mess. I was flakey, irresponsible, obsessing over boys and skipping work. I was just…not great. But moving home meant no more bullshit. And not to toot my own horn (toot, toot), but my progress has been huge. It’s hard to even remember being that girl now. And living at home gave me a safe space to evolve into a much better human being.
5. How to not sweat the small stuff.
I think for a lot of 20-somethings, there’s this panic after college that’s like, “Oh shit, this is it.” It’s a very turbulent time period, dramatic ups and downs. Being with my family reminded me to let go of the things that don’t matter. Not everything that goes wrong has to be treated like the end of the world. Stress will absolutely kill you, so take a breath every now and then.
6. Confidence in who I am and all my strengths.
Being in your 20s is a time when everything feels kind of up for grabs. Your identity is blurry. It feels like you get to rewrite who you are. And as exhilarating as that is, it’s also terrifying. Being surrounded by the people who love you the most is like having someone hold your hand while you face your biggest fear. You’re still doing the work, but you know someone is there by your side. You know someone loves you. I emerged with more self-esteem than I ever had as a teen or in college, and I credit a lot of that to having my family nearby while I went through my self-exploration.
7. A healthy savings account.
Pretty self-explanatory. Part of the agreement was that I put a LOT of money away. And that means budgeting, not being frivolous with extra cash. Knowing I have a little nest egg that continues to grow makes the uncertainty of life a lot less scary. And for that, I’m very grateful.
8. Deeper relationships with the people who really matter.
There’s a lot of superficiality that enters friendships and relationships when you’re young. The people who are fun to be with, the people who are Cool and for whatever reason we want to impress. Living with my family is a constant reminder that the only people that really matter are those who love and accept you for who you REALLY are. The person who is fun to go get wasted with on a Friday night but regularly makes you feel shitty isn’t worth your time.
9. Having an immediately available support system.
There’s nothing more wonderful than coming home to people who love, support, and want the best for you. There will be days when it takes a village. And I know I am so grateful for the village that raised me.