(**Warning: Epic Post**)
“So, when are you moving out?”
I think I may have heard this at least three times in the last week, if not phrased as that exact question, then either as a variation of that question, or a declarative statement that I should move out.
This recently came up – within a 48-hour period – while out with work colleagues and close friends, respectively. The latter case was actually an entire conversation about the subject.
Last Saturday night, while out for dinner with a couple of friends, one of them announced she’d be moving out of the home she shared with her parents and brother and finding a place to live, probably in late October or early November. She declared it was time; she needed her own space, and the idea of living at home at age 30 depressed her.
The other mentioned that she’d made up her mind and would be moving in with her boyfriend at a future, unspecified date. It only made sense, she said. She was practically at his place most of the time, and she talked to her dad, who wholeheartedly supported her. She just had to find an appropriate time to sit down and tell her mother.
Me? I was happy for my friends, but I wasn’t really planning on budging anytime soon. I mean, yeah, the distance to get to work blew chunks, but everything else was good. Why change if I wasn’t ready?
And herein lies the continuous struggle, the dilemma of a Boomerang Kid.
Like a number people my age, I had the privilege of going away to school and, at some point during my university career, living on my own. Granted, I had financial help from my parents, but the feeling of independence was there.
When I did my first (and only) internship after finishing school, I lived on my own for four months in a basement apartment, and essentially paid for it myself. When the work ended, so did my stay. I moved back home that September.
Fast forward about six years later. I’m still at home. And while it’s a long commute to work by public transit (approximately 1 hour 20 minutes each way, on a good day), I made up my mind a couple of years ago to stick it out for a few years longer, because I thought it would be smarter to save up my money until I’d squirrelled enough together to put a sizeable downpayment on a place I could call my own – “the best investment a person can ever make”, and all that.
My first vision was to put it towards a freehold townhome. With prices still being what they are, I’d be happy for a decent-sized “starter” condo. And even that mental vision is starting to flicker and fritter away, pixel by pixel, as the housing market gets astronomically more ridiculous.
Sure, I’ve thought about the idea of me moving out, somewhere, anywhere that would get me closer to work. But the feeling subsides sometimes as quickly as it comes on. My parents, I’m sure, would totally understand if I wanted to move out. But I’m just not moved enough to take the plunge. So I put up with that and the stigma – real, imagined, or otherwise – of being a twenty-something who still lives at home.
I’m not sure if my friend said this, but I remember somebody saying to me, something to the effect of, “Who wants to be 35 and living at home with their parents?”
Wait a second. First of all, I don’t have a problem with turning 30, never mind being 30 years old and still living with my folks, so there’s no use in getting all depressed about it. I know people older than me living at home with their parents. And there’s nothing wrong with them. I have a friend whose entire family – herself, her mother, two older siblings and a niece – all live under one roof. Families like that actually exist. And secondly, who said anything about living at home for the rest of my young adult life? I didn’t.
There are pros and cons to living on your own and living at home. My friend made very valid points about renting. Like, for example, being closer to not only work, but things to do and the people you hang out with. And your lifestyle is different – you can entertain friends; if you have a boyfriend, you don’t have to worry about spending your time over at his place all the time – you can alternate. And just general independence. You have more of a life.
And I understand that. But I’d like to think, for someone who lives out with her folks in the sticks (by public transit standards), I think I have a pretty good social life. And yeah, the commute can be a bitch, but that’s the trade-off for not having to pay rent or utilities, which is more money saved. And what if, one day in the near future, I get a job in another city or country? Just think of all the hassle avoided with trying to ship things to a new place.
On top of which, I have things I want accomplish before I finally move out, that I don’t think I can handle if I were living on my own, giving one paycheque a month to a landlord for rent.
Yes, living on your own as an adult and dealing with these things is a fact of life. But so is being an adult child living with your parents. More kids in my generation are doing it. And in a city where lots of people come from their homes in other cities and countries to live here, I consider myself one of the lucky ones who can do that until she’s good and ready fly the coop.
And when I move out, it’ll be on my own terms, and hopefully when people least expect it … or stop asking.