In Her Words
Living at Home
Not my first choice, sure, but the only one I’ve got right now
I remember it like it was yesterday, packing up my college house and dreaming of moving home for a few months, finding a job to brag about and starting my own adult life, free of parents and chores and full of privacy. That was three years ago.
Now, still living at home while we are in the middle of the worst economic streak since the Great Depression, I’m not feeling too optimistic about seeing a few more zeros on my paycheck and finding that great first apartment. The price of gas was at an all-time high this summer, the cost of food is up, people are being laid off and those who did move out are moving back home.
For the past three years, I’ve been paying bills for my car, doctor’s appointments and contributing to my health insurance, while budgeting for manicures and sales at Bloomingdale’s, which, trust me, are trips that are few and far between. And, did I mention I’ve been trying to save money for the day when I can move out – God willing, that day will be before I turn 30.
When I first arrived home after college graduation, reality hit me in the face; actually, it was a car insurance bill that my dad waved in front of me, telling me the party was over. Living just outside of Manhattan (where the cost of living is double, almost triple, than in any other area in the country), I quickly learned that my barely there writer’s paycheck wasn’t going to buy me a loft on the Upper West Side. Who was I kidding, dreaming of a loft–my salary couldn’t even buy me a one-room apartment on a deserted alley in Hoboken. Well, it could, but then I’d be forced to eat Ramen noodles and buy clothes at the thrift store.
Hearing from my friends who lived all over, it became clear that I wasn’t the only one having trouble moving out of my house. Everyone had issues, whether it was paying for student loans, not finding a roommate, or simply refusing to throw away an entire paycheck on rent.
Most of them were able to save some money and move out of their houses recently, leaving behind Mom’s meatloaf, Dad’s handy tools and being able to sneak shampoo and razors on their parents shopping bills. Although I’m jealous that they don’t have to call home if they’re going to miss dinner, I don’t envy their financial situations. One friend living in Pennsylvania is able to make rent every month, but barely anything else and another one in Florida lives in a tiny place with a pretty gruesome odor, but she can still afford to buy Seven jeans and meet her friends for drinks. My friend who currently lives in an apartment with her boyfriend and pays way too much rent is moving back into her house with her parents – and him. Good luck to them.
The trend here is that everyone has made some sort of sacrifice regarding her living situation, depending on what is most important to her. Whether it’s not eating out, or not eating period, or living in a dump, while telling yourself, “at least it’s my dump,” we can’t have it all- at least not yet. Life’s just too expensive.
Yes, it’s important to me to move out; I thought it would have happened a long time ago. However, I think it’s more important for me and everyone else in the same position to realize that just because we are living at home in our mid-twenties doesn’t mean that something’s wrong. I will eventually need to make more money, although the economy isn’t helping me there, but the thing is, I’m not a slacker. I’m just not Paris Hilton or one of the Olsen twins either.
Are you in a similar situation? How has the economic downturn affected your plans?