Free Rent, But When Will I Grow Up?

Yeah, yeah, yeah. Everyone says that they wish they lived at home too. Or, maybe that's exaggerating, but a lot of people seem to see it as a sweet deal. They only see the ideal living at home arrangement--which actually happens, believe it or not. I have a friend who's 19, lives at home, and his mom still cooks for him (packs him a lunch, etc.). The ideal living at home situation goes something like this: your mother is your maid, personal chef, and therapist. You can tell her anything and she'll nod, laugh, or offer wise advice. Your parents--because you have both of them in this ideal world--don't give you any flak about your relationships (or lack thereof), shaky employment history, or plans for the future. Not only that, but they give you a brand new car to drive, and pay for insurance, gas, and maintenance on it. You have a sweet room with a flat-screen tv, dvd player, and every game console known to man. You even have original Nintendo. They promise to pay for any and every venture you're interested in pursuing: college, filmmaking, travel, a band. You are truly, utterly, inarguably spoiled beyond belief.

I live at home, but my deal isn't that good. Still, I AM 28, so maybe that's asking a little much. My parents let my drive a red 1986 Toyota Tercel which is on it's very last leg. Since it's their car, they pay for the insurance. It can't handle any trips out of town, but for in-town A-Z travel, it works fine. They don't charge me rent, or hassle me about when I sleep, wake, or how often I work. All in all, it's pretty nice. Sometimes there's even leftovers from the dinner my mom cooked for her and dad.

I shouldn't complain because it's awfully generous of them. My complaint, actually, isn't about their generosity, or the living situation itself. My complaint is about the mental/emotional aspects of living at home. There's something about living at home that seems to rob adults of their motivation, ambition, and--to some extent--sense of identity. Could it be that we revert to a child-like mindset, which sets us up to remain in a child-like mindset?

Before I moved back home, I was a relatively fearless adult. I'd try a job, any job, just to see if I liked it. I'd move to another state if it served my purposes. Now, after living with my folks for 1 year and 9 months, I find that I'm terrified of moving out. I'm petrified of moving out of state, trying new jobs, and so on. This is alarming--to say the least.

I find myself thinking: maybe if I just stay for another year, saving money and making plans, THEN I'll move out and get on with life. But I was thinking that same thing a year ago. Have I landed myself in a metaphorical, real-life black hole? How does one gather the motivation necessary to leave the nest again? ****!!! I feel like I'm in a time-warp, and the next time I turn around I'll be 30 and still living at home.

Motivating factors: I REALLY dislike the cold/snow of Montana (both are plentiful here) and dream of living, working, and studying somewhere warm. I need a degree but screwed myself over at the local college, so I'll have to go elsewhere where I can start a fresh GPA. And, last but not least, I need to get out of here before I entirely regress to an infantile state, and REALLY start loathing myself.

I guess that's how I feel about myself living at home. I almost loath myself in a way. I'm not going to be bringing girls home, or having friends over to hang out; not when I live at home.

There are no easy answers--obvious answers, yes; easy answers, no. The obvious answer is simply to make it a priority to move out ASAP. But, on the other hand, that may not be wise either. I have debts that I need to get current on, a used car of my own to buy, and I'd need money to move anywhere. Yet, it's hard being patient when it feels like my sense of self is diminishing with each passing day.
liferiot liferiot
26-30, M
2 Responses Dec 3, 2006

You're probably right TardyDodo; I do feel incredibly embarassed that I had to move home as an adult. Going from being on my own to feeling like I simply couldn't hack the big game of adult living was quite the shock to my ego.<br />
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So now, more than two years later, I'm trying to convince myself that my previous failure to stand on my own two feet doesn't mean that I'm forever incapable of doing it on my own. I have to believe that when I do move out I'll do so in a wise, measured manner, and succeed. Otherwise what is there to hope for? I'm just afraid that I'll fail again. Each time I fail I'm a little bit older, so it's a little more embarrassing. It's one thing to fail when you're younger. People (like my parents) expect others to fail when they're young. They aren't nearly as understanding of those whom they perceive as being plenty old to be taking care of themselves. <br />
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I worry that I'll get out on my own and find the everyday stresses too much to handle: that I'll have difficulty finding and keeping decent paying jobs, that I'll go back to not paying my bills, that the major depression/anxiety I used to suffer from will all come flooding back, that I'll end up penniless, and out on the street again...but another year older then. Living a normal, stable, balanced life has never come naturally to me. It takes everything I've got to stay on top of a few bills, make it to work on time, and keep my laundry done and my room clean. I'm not sure how much I believe in the whole ADD/ADHD thing, but I certainly seem to fit the ADHD subtype I was diagnosed as being: the inattentive kind. Details aren't my strong suit. Unfortunately the meds they gave me didn't seem to do anything. *sigh* All that to say that I look forward to moving out, but it is awfully easy to spend all my money on one thing or another that *seems* important but generally just acts to ensure that I'll have to keep living at home and working and saving a little longer. Eventually I'm sure I'll mozy my way on out of my parents house; if for no other reasons than that I dislike feeling like a dependent child, that I dislike the ponderous spiritual atmosphere (they're really really strict christians--no drinking, no smoking, no sex before marriage, no coffee, no swearing, etc.), that where we live is blanketed in snow and bitter cold for 6+ months a year. Eventually I'm gonna want to bring a girl back to my place bad enough to get a place I can bring her back to; or I'm gonna want to live somewhere warm enough to move there; or I'm gonna get tired of feeling like a shmoe living at my parents and move out just to see what I'm made of. <br />
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My hope is dual: that I can find the determination to save as much of what I earn as possible, and that I can stick to my plan of saving for the next year and then moving to Los Angeles (rather than moving out of my parents and finding a place here in Bozeman. If I move out and into a place here I probably won't make it to LA for at least a couple more years--which, I think, wouldn't be good). I need to move to LA before I set down roots permanently wherever I am in my mid-30's.

Yours sounds like a very salutory tale about the dangers of moving back into your parent's house! I can imagine how badly that can impact on the psyche. It must also encourage parents to think of and treat their offspring as children. Heck, I'm still trying to convince my parents that I'm a semi-adult and I've been living out of home for years. A thought, however. Perhaps your domestic situation is really just an ex<x>pression of something deeper. Anything that presents a barrier like moving out (again) is much more easily overcome with a sense of purpose. It's possible your brain is so resistant to the idea just because it doesn't want to do another lap of the whole situation all over again. Perhaps. Just some idle thoughts.