I had a fully stocked fridge, a pantry full of fancy booze, and television channels that I wasn’t paying for, but none of it excited me anymore. I’d been living with my parents for the past month and life had become one long vacation. When I would come home for the holidays during college, I would marvel at how easy my life must have been before I moved out. Staying at my parent’s house was five star living compared to the tuna sandwiches and coin laundry rooms of college. Not that I wanted to come back. The freedom of a college dorm room was completely worth roommates stealing my organic chocolate bars and having to wear earplugs when other roommates would bring home some drunken frat boy. Even though my childhood bed gave a sense of security and the home-cooked lasagnas and cheesecakes felt decadent, I never ever wanted to move back home. But, this jerk called money had other ideas.
I moved home right after college in 2009, also known as the year of no jobs. I confidently applied for well-paying positions, feeling shiny and new with my hard-earned bachelor’s degree, but I would soon find that even frozen yogurt shops had no need for me. After 6 months of working as a cashier at an apple farm, I moved to Australia because I thought I’d rather be a cashier there (college was so worth it). This led to five years of moving around the world, teaching English, and not living at my parent’s house. They were golden times, but then it was 2015 and I decided to move back to the States to figure out my next move. That monster named money was like, you think you can afford rent in CALIFORNIA? Then, it laughed for about an hour and told me to call my mom and dad.
At the start, I was pretty stoked to be able to make any meal I wanted to, drink the finest of brews (at any hour because you know homey wasn’t working), and not pay out of pocket. It felt like Pretty Woman, except I’m not a prostitute and my parents aren’t Richard Gere. But, there was a huge issue. Moving back in with your parents immediately makes you eighteen years old again.
“Mooooooooooom, where is my hairbrush?!”
“Honey, I put it back in your bathroom. I needed to use it this morning.”
“MOOOOOOMMM, DON’T TOUCH MY STUFFFFFF! OH MY GOD!”
Yes, I am 28 years old. When we see old friends, we revert back into the person we were when we knew them and with our parents, we somewhat turn into their child again. God knows why they let us come back.
There was also the issue of not having a job. I knew I’d be heading back out to Asia to teach English again, so there was no point in working full-time. I also didn’t have a car, so I was stuck at home like a stay-at-home mom who has a pretend baby. This led to me doing random housework for extra cash. I squeegeed windows, raked leaves, did dishes, and organized our closets. I imagine this is what it was like for Martha Stewart in jail. All the while, I listened to questionable music from my youth and sang it really loudly. My poor dog didn’t deserve my rendition of Ashlee Simpson’s song “Autobiography”, but that’s what he gets for being home all the time.
Sure, I was doing menial labor for less than minimum wage, talking to my dog like he was my best and only friend, and whining to my parents like a pre-teen, but there were some silver linings. I started to see my parents were actually humans and fun ones at that. I enjoyed cooking meals and making cocktails with them, hate-watching The Bachelor and The Voice, and actually listening to their advice on finances and job opportunities. I realized they weren’t as dumb as I thought they were in high school (for what high schooler hasn’t said, “you don’t understand”). And to be realistic, I have to realize that they won’t be around forever. I feel lucky to have had a chance to spend so much time with them and when I look back on these times, I won’t remember how annoying it was that my dad limited my internet time (living in the woods is not great for technological advances) and that my mom judged my pumpkin spice cookies (who doesn’t like pumpkin spice and calls themselves an American?!). I’ll remember how nice it was to have dinner together in the backyard, how helpful they were when I needed to do important errands, and how fabulous it is that I have a home like this to come home to.
I can say all this because I finally will be substitute teaching here, making that sexy as hell money, and moving to Thailand to work once again. If I didn’t have an exit plan, it’s possible I would go live in the woods with my dog, if only for some alone time. So, if you’re thinking about moving back in with your parents, do it. It’s an extremely entertaining time, you’ll save tons of money, and you can trick your parents into buying hard cider because “that’s how people celebrate the season”. But, be careful and don’t stay too long. I’m almost certain that is why internet trolls are born.
Words by Hannah Smith