I am 22, and I live with my parents. I graduated from college in May, and moved back in a couple months later while looking for a job. I found a job, but heaven knows I’m still miserable. For those graduating this spring who may go through a similar process, I want to share some things I have learned.
1. Acknowledge that you no longer have any privacy.
It sucks, and I’m sorry, but you can no longer expect any privacy. If your door is closed, they will open it. If you are on the computer with headphones, it does not matter. In other words, be very careful about when and where you jerk off. In other other words, be even more careful about when and where you cry. On that note…
2. Have a good crying schedule.
You are almost definitely very sad, and it’s important to be able to let it out in a controlled manner, without your parents noticing. This will probably happen after they go to sleep–let’s say 11:30 to 11:45, set up shop in the bathroom—set Spotify to Elliott Smith, grab some tissues, and have yourself a time.
3. Do as many things independently as you can.
Do your own laundry. Please, for the love of god, do your own laundry. Despite this state of arrested development (I am describing you, not the show you’ve been binge-watching in your childhood bed), you have to be self-sufficient to some degree or you will go insane. Cook for yourself as often as you can. Do your own grocery shopping, wash your dishes. It’ll help you to not lose your shit, will make you feel like less of a child, and will probably make your parents less likely to kick you out after a month. And when they do, you’ll be slightly more prepared.
4. Don’t bring people over.
Why would you do this? What is wrong with you? I don’t even just mean a romantic partner. Don’t bring friends over. Don’t bring strangers. Not even dogs (maybe for a little bit). Keep your life outside of home, and your parents will remain outside of your life.
5. Get a job.
I don’t mean this in the “get a job, you lazy millennial. This is just for your own good. If your parents are anything like mine, any day you spend unemployed is a day filled with questions: “What did you do all day? What time did you wake up? My friend Joan knows a company downtown that’s looking for an intern! Have you contacted those people you worked for in high school?” It can be any kind of job. Until you get one, apply for at least one job a day so you can combat the questions with “applied for jobs.” That’s enough.
6. Get a pet.
You shouldn’t have to be on the bottom of the totem pole again—get a pet so you’re not the last rung. Boss your pet around, tell them what time to go to bed, and get on their back about not doing their homework on time. Really ride ‘em (literally, if big enough)! This will allow you the power trip that you deserve, and truly need.
7. Don’t pay rent.
Of course, this is contingent on your parents allowing it; it is a matter of privilege to be sure. But if it is at all possible, try to live for free. You’ll be moving out soon (hopefully), and you should save as much money as possible. While this might go against everything else I’ve said—independence, relative self-sufficiency—it’s the only real perk of living at home. If you have to pay rent to live with your parents, you may as well just find roommates.