To Boomerang?

Dec 27, 2013 by

          A few months ago, my mom told me of a conversation she was having with her co-worker about their kids. “Why do you let your daughter live on her own?” he asked my mom.

          Insert the beginning of my laughter at this point in my mom’s retelling.

          My mom responded to him, “Let? You don’t know my daughter. I don’t let my daughter do anything. She first moved out when she was 17. She does whatever she wants.”

          She continued to mimic him, “Aren’t you worried about what she’s doing? What if she has boys over?”

          “If she has boys over, that’s none of my business,” my mom answered. “She’s an adult. She can handle herself.”

          This was a proud daughter moment. Finally, my mom gets it!

 

***

 

          I’m considering moving back into my parents’ house. Didn’t expect that based on the introduction above, did you? Yeah, neither did I at the time of that conversation. I can feel all pride in my independence draining from my body as I write this. Please join me in cringing at the thought of becoming a boomerang.

          The boomerang generation is the name given to young adults that return to live with their parents after a period of living without them. It kills me that I’ve been a member of that generation in the past. Although I’ve mostly lived without my parents for the last six plus years, I have not lived independent of them for the last six plus years straight. I lived with family to save money during the summers between university and for a half-year following graduation, making me a boomerang at times.

          I do not want to wear the boomerang title again. I have chill parents (my dad always has been and my mom has come a long way), who respect that I’m an adult. They are not the issue; loss of pride is the issue. To quote my 15-year-old sister in response to my mom highlighting the advantages of me moving back into their house – Christmas Eve edition (my parents regularly make it very clear that my old room is available to me whenever I want it), “Why would she move back here after already having moved out? She’s 24. Plus, have you seen where she lives? Why would she leave that apartment? It’s so nice!” If a high school student can see the inappropriateness of a mid-twenty-something crawling home to mom and dad, why can’t many of today’s young adults?

          Unfortunately, life isn’t as simple as parents’ house versus pretty apartment. As pretty as my apartment is, my friendship with Olivia has gotten ugly. There is a very real possibility that she and I will soon be parting ways, and I cannot afford to live in our place alone. Even if finding another roommate was an option, which it’s not with only one bedroom (with two beds – to answer the most common question I get in response to saying that), I don’t want to live with anyone else. As recently as a month ago, I didn’t think I’d say this, but I love the idea of living on my own. I’ve found fake solo living to be relaxing, liberating, and socially encouraging. Better yet, actually living alone would ensure the stability of my living situation, preventing my living conditions from depending on the status of my relationships with other people. I hate the fact that my current lifestyle is on the line because my best friend and I aren’t getting along. I don’t want to be in the position of depending on another person for my livelihood going forward. This would be the case whether I live with a random roommate, a friend, or family, which are my only financially feasible options at the moment. However, the family option, being the most budget-friendly, makes the goal of eventually living alone more realistic.

          I need to make a financially smart decision by living within my means. I’ve searched rental listings. The chance of me living solo at the same cost of living that I’m used to now is low. I am not willing to allocate more money to rent than I already do. That would take away from my Europe savings, which is a tradeoff that I’m not comfortable with. Thus, I’m thinking about sucking it up, accepting the boomerang stigma, and going back to my parents’ house to save toward my own place (while still saving for Europe) in order to make living solo a future reality. My twenties is a pivotal period. A little time living at my parents’ house during my mid-twenties could set me up nicely for increased financial independence in my late twenties and onward.

          Contrarily, it could also result in a bad habit. Like I said, this is a pivotal time. What if I get comfortable? What if I stay there for longer than I want to? What if I become one of those adult kids who, despite swearing that living with their parents is a temporary situation, never actually leave without a ring? Honestly, I’ve already calculated the dollars that I can save by staying there for one year, two years, two and a half – because I can’t bear to type three – years. I am somewhat comforted by the fact that, in the last six plus years, the longest I’ve lasted living at my parents’ is five months; but, I also had a best friend willing to split living costs with me whenever I was ready to leave. Without her, I suspect it will take more time for me to get out of my parents’ house than it has in the past. This is especially likely given the down payment that I have to save and the continent that I have to explore. (The continent takes priority over the down payment, by the way.)

          The majority of people whose opinions I’ve asked have advised me to go back to my parents’ house. Like me, most of these people are of southern European descent. Typically, southern European parents have difficulty letting go of their children, and southern European children feel entitled to live with their parents until marriage. While that’s a great option from a financial standpoint, it’s also a lifestyle choice. It’s a decision to be financially dependent on other people. Personally, that feeling makes me anxious. It’s already causing me extreme stress to be financially dependent on my roommate, who I can’t afford my apartment without. Moreover, living at my parents’ house would hit me where it hurts:

 
1. My social life

          What am I supposed to say when my friends suggest my place to pre-drink, watch a movie, or just hang out: “Sorry, friends, I live with my parents now”? (Preferring to go out, I don’t often have friends over, but I like having the option. It’s not that my parents care if I have friends over; rather, I personally don’t want to invite my friends into my parents’ home.) I’m getting chills. I do not want to join the still-living-with-parents 24-year-olds that I know. I judge them. I judge them hard. I realize that everyone’s situation is different, and I believe that people should choose the living situation that’s best for them, living-with-parents option included. However, having lived mostly without family since age 17, when I hear that a twenty-something still lives at home, I can’t stop my initial internal reaction: Really?

 
2. My dating life

          Will guys be turned off by a chick that lives with her parents? I question this because guys drop in attractiveness when they tell me that they live with their parents, especially if they’ve never left in the first place. To me, that’s a sign that they may be lacking the independence, responsibility, and maturity that comes with living away from their mommies and daddies. A guy can recover himself by demonstrating strong money management skills, sound knowledge of personal finance and investment tactics (which is so sexy that clothes immediately seem conservative at the slightest mention of compound interest), and a plan to get out on their own, but at the end of the night: I’m not in his bed.

 
3. My pride

          While renting is nowhere near as financially smart as living with parents to save to buy a place, I am proud to live as I do. My lifestyle is made possible by my own job, my own money, and my own resourcefulness. Moving in with my parents would compromise that independence and the pride that comes with it. I would certainly judge myself for it.

 
          All factors considered and regardless of how I ultimately proceed, I am fortunate that my parents’ door is always open to me. Whenever they see an opportunity to slip it in, they not-so-jokingly remind me that I can move back in with them whenever I want. As much as the thought stabs my pride, I’m very appreciative to have this option. It makes me wonder, though, at what age do people stop depending on their parents? My mom and dad shouldn’t have to save me. Moving in with them would make me feel as though I can’t get myself out of my own mess. I’m not okay with that. (Can you tell that I have a really hard time accepting help from people?) It makes me feel less confident in my ability to autonomously handle similar situations in the future. Are my parents just supposed to keep their doors open forever? Temporary re-dependence could make me more independent in the long run by allowing for a more financially stable future, but is it worth my pride? On the flipside, is my pride worth sacrificing increased future financial independence? Decision TBD!

          Mom and Dad, if you read this, don’t get excited! I am just considering the option. Please don’t get your hopes up! P.S. Thanks for being the kind of parents that would get their hopes up.

 
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3 Comments

  1. Hey, I think you can still retain your independent life by living with your parents, maybe takeover the basement and turn it into your basement apartment so its separate from your ‘family’ space? That way you can still have your friends over without disturbing your parents? Do the ‘solo-living’ whilst saving on rent? lol
    As for judging yourself, I don’t think you should look at it as that. Don’t be so critical, think positive (it’s one of my resolutions this year lol) Think of it as the period where you bridge your self/life from co-dependence to independence? Before you were dependent on your bff to support you socially, emotionally and etc, but during this time, you can really take time to focus on yourself and cross that bridge completely into the independent life that the happiness experiment is suppose to take you?
    It’s not a mess you have to clean up, it’s part of life. Sometimes people move on and decide to take another road. Rather than sit in the mess alone and be overwhelmed, it’s better to take the break and call someone.
    Just my 2 cents 🙂

    • This comment made me smile. At this point, I’m almost certain that I’ll be returning to my parents’ house. I think it is my best option to ensure that I am more self-reliant in the future. Thank you for making boomeranging sound less like failing at independence and more like taking control over my life. I really appreciate your encouraging words.

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