So the time has come. You’ve played your last card and, for whatever reason, the only option left is to pack your things and move back to the place from whence you came… home. While this option is becoming more acceptable, still, many college grads see it as a failure; a last-resort that equivocates admitting defeat. Well honestly, that’s bullshit.
I know, because I’ve been there.
It was a cold, dreary January day when my husband and I packed our belongings and moved them back down five flights of stairs, into a moving truck (paid for by my in-laws), and drove ourselves and our stuff three hours back to their house in upstate New York. Admitting that we couldn’t afford to live in the city, that we were unhappy with our life there, and that our only other option was to live in the same house as my husband’s parents was no easy feat. It took a month or so of daily conversations with the usual emotions attached…. Denial, defeat, depression, and eventually acceptance. We had no jobs lined up. We were beyond broke. And we had – we thought – failed at an attempt to live and work in New York City, a place where young folks in our field, film, were supposed to be.
We lived at home for eight months before the time came to leave. And it was, without a doubt, one of the smartest decisions we could have made. Don’t get me wrong – it wasn’t always easy. There were a lot of days of second-guessing our choices, wondering what on earth we were doing and how things could possibly get better. But in retrospect, I see our ‘break’ at home as a time of important self-reflection and essential rejuvenation. We had time to regroup and really figure out the next step, without any pressure to jump into the next phase.
Being home nourished our need for human connection and positive redirection. Your parents, even if they may seem alien to you, offer experience and more years on this planet than you. Even if their example is enough to show you what NOT to do, being in their presence is bound to teach you truckloads about yourself. They may offer boundless support, or they might light a fire under your ass to get out as quickly as possible. Regardless, they are people in your life that you can go to and leave with something. Be thankful to have just that. I will refrain here from reminding you of the countless people in this world without parents or a roof over their head, let alone a college education.
So seize the opportunity, humble yourself, and quit bitchin’. Don’t sit on your ass and feel sorry for yourself… continue the job search. Connect with friends and family near and far, and reignite the quest from a new perspective. This is the next chapter, not the ending. Look for opportunities, get to know the place you grew up with new eyes, and reexamine your path, your choices, and where to go from here. Whether you are home for six weeks or six months, make the most of it, stay positive, and most importantly, remember that this is one step of your journey. You are not, whatever anyone says, a failure.
For more advice on moving back in with your parents, check out this guest article about the Pros and Cons of Moving in with Your Parents after College.