I’m one of those kids. I’m the kid who graduated college and moved back in with her folks. I’m currently living in my parent’s basement, clearing the stuffed animals off my bed each night, and scrounging through the refrigerator to see what my mom bought at the grocery store. While I swore that I would give myself a year at home after college and then move out, eighteen months has passed and I’m still here. Some days I completely hate it, but in many ways, I think there are some definite advantages to moving home after college.
1. Paying off debts. College is expensive, and even by graduating in three years, the debt piled up. The types of job I walked into out of college were in no way enough to make a dent in my college loans. By living at home, working a semi-professional job, and having a little help from my grandparents, I was able to get that student loan taken care of.
2. Learning about “real life” in a sheltered way. Driving away from my university for the last time, I had such high hopes. My mind was busy sorting through my views of pacifism, social justice, and how to change the world. I anticipated walking into a high paying writing job, transferring to a big southern city, and getting my own apartment within six months. I was in for a huge wake up call when I discovered college hadn’t prepared me for the “real world.” As a high schooler, I didn’t care much about balancing a budget, choosing the right cut of meat, figuring out tax information, or doing car repairs. Suddenly, those were the types of issues I had flying at me from all directions. Being able to take my dad with me to the mechanic’s or having my parents teach me how to use a fuse box saved me from quite a few mishaps.
3. Developing a deeper respect for my parents and elders. Coming back home after being away for a few years allowed me to see my parents with an adult pair of eyes. Sure, I see their flaws more clearly now, but I have also developed a deeper respect for them. I am able to appreciate the sacrifices they made for me and my sisters and see the reasoning behind their choices. I’m able to glean wisdom about marriage, child rearing, work situations, and religion that I never thought about before.
I’m living in the situation I swore I would never stay long in, but I’ve come to peace with it. While I’d still love to get my own place before too long, for now I’m enjoying getting to know my family from a “grown up” perspective and preparing for life on my own.