|picture of me now, sailing my boat|
Parents serve many purposes in your life. They give birth to you, they raise you, they feed, clothe, and shelter you. Hopefully they even provide support for you monetarily and emotionally. (I suppose they do this because the law requires that they do these things, but also because you are their flesh and blood and someday most likely they will find themselves needing to be taken care of themselves and you will have to provide that.) In your early to mid twenties you move out from underneath their umbrella of protection and begin a life of your own. Then when you reach your late 20’s you somehow find yourself living in your parents house once again.
This wasn’t my dream, I don’t imagine that it’s anyones dream, yet it happens. In November when Jaime and I moved from Los Angeles to Seattle we settled into the downstairs living area of my parents house. At the time I felt like a failure having lived on my own for six years three of them all on our own in a foreign city. There had been more than a few times in those years when it felt like everything we’d worked so hard at was about to crumble, yet we always managed to come through it intact. This time however we had failed and it was all but necessary to take my parents up on their offer.
Since November four sets of my friends have found themselves in a similar situation. This was not because we love our parents house so much, but because we were in need of a reboot. We had all moved to other cities, took risks, had new experiences and in the end in order to return to, not our old life but another new life, we needed the support of our parents once again.
It can feel embarrassing to load all your possessions into their house. This can feel even more embarrassing if you’re a couple and even more so if you’re a married couple. I had been in a similar situation with Jaime eight years before and I couldn’t help being depressed that we had taken more than a few gigantic steps backwards.
Had I been fooling myself these past few years? I thought that I was well equipped enough in life not to need to come crawling back to them. I thought I was an adult but at 27 it turned out that really I was still a child.
Moving home could have gone two ways; the first was to become motivated to move out by getting a job immediately and saving up as much as possible. I expected to be moved out by Christmas and not be freeloaders in a spare bedroom but able to pay for things ourselves and contribute to the family. The second was to revert into adolescence. This is where I expected that I would depend on my parents completely and quite possibly not move out until February. I feel into that second path.
My parents seemed to enjoy having us home, we’d been away for three years and in that time all their children had moved away as well. Their enjoyment in having us back aided my transition into adult adolescence. I didn’t have to cook for myself, didn’t have to do my own laundry, or go grocery shopping. I was living rent free and had no responsibilities.
It was not quite as I expected things would go. I got a job by Thanksgiving and in early December Jaime and I found a house very close to my parents. Due of a series of reasons we still didn’t end up moving out until mid January. Like a Harry Potter charm, I was unable to see that I was under a spell until I had moved out and was on my own again. It was at this moment I understood the traps and convenience of being allowed to return to your parents house.
I suspect my reaction was not typical. In seeing just how many of my friends were finding themselves in the same situation I was relieved but anticipated that reverting into that adolescent state as I did is just either not possible or not an option for others. I imagine that what most feel is thankful for being allowed to return but immense pressure to get back out into the real world and be an adult again.
It seems to me that this might be a trend of late twenty somethings who need to right their ship and in order to do so they return home to the helping hands of their parents in the hopes that together you can get upright and sailing again.
To all my friends out there navigating this predicament, once you get through the choppy waters, it’s smooth sailing ahead.