There is a running joke among my friends and family. “How are the roommates?” You see, it’s funny because I live with my parents and I’m damn near 30. My people aren’t jerks. I started the joke.
I moved back in with my parents after leaving college in 2004. I went from wanting to be a teacher to wanting to be a social worker. Detroit was a better (and cheaper) place to do this so it made sense. The plan was initially to stay at home until I graduated and then move into my awesome apartment and start the life “Friends” and “Living Single” promised me. Despite my oddly high and not at all reality based high hopes, this was not an easy transition. I had two sweet years of freedom under my belt and had just joined a local sorority. I had a group of friends. I had even gotten used to being 1 of the 10 black people in the whole city. Also, I grew up in Detroit and had neglected to get a driver’s license. I don’t believe there was ever a plan to go back there after college.
As a television and fiction book addict, I took to the reality of my situation slower than the average bear. I held my first regular job which paid as close nothing as possible without becoming a Lifetime movie. The dream that my BSW would gain me entry at a ‘save the world’ was crushed. Crushed. I stayed with aforementioned part time job for longer than anyone with my level of sense should have but that’s another post. I was not living the life. It became a bittersweet experience to be around my friends who owned or rented homes/apartments.
I spent a great deal of time resenting everyone but most importantly my parents. It was a selfish kind of resentment that most shed after graduating high school. I believe from the years 2006-2010, most of my conversations centered around “Man, when I move out” or “Okay, but I have to be home before 2 am.” I would get truly annoyed when they called because they hadn’t seen me all day. My sister was quick to point out the weakness of my position on that end. “So, you’re mad that someone cares if you’re okay?” . There were some real problems and adjustments (on both ends) due to the gray area of not being a child but not being able to afford to pay rent. I would ignore the advice of others who would remind me that the worst thing to do would be leave and then have to come back. I had no plans of coming back so it was okay. I could also work on my relationship with them after I moved into my less awesome but still cool studio apartment or rented a room in a house with my friends.
Every plan I ever had to move out failed. They weren’t great plans. However, I’m not angry. I’m not even sad. I live at home. I live with two people who love me and are constantly looking for ways to help me. If I’m too tired or sick to go the store, someone is there. There are worse ways to live. I’m not going to pretend it’s all great and we never argue. It’s not and we do. Which is bound to happen because we are different people and my parents are parents. I still have times where I have to remind myself that I’m adult. However, moving out isn’t my major goal right now. I’d still love my own place but that doesn’t mean I have to hate my current place.
Few things in life have felt better than when I stopped resenting my parents for choices I made and stopped being angry at myself for not having reached certain goals. Those were my two biggest traps because they required almost no effort at all. The latter is recurring lesson in this blog. The overall lesson of this post is that the average sitcom is wrong. Living at home after a certain age doesn’t make you loser. It doesn’t mean you have failed some great American test of success. Shifting my perspective and acknowledging the positives of my current situation while still planning for the future, has allowed me to become a happier person and a better roommate.