My story seems to, unfortunately, be a familiar one these days. I graduated college with a humanities degree and ended up moving home in my post-grad, why-won’t-anyone-hire-me phase (seriously, why won’t anyone hire me?!). Now, I could have continued to live in Toronto upon finishing my degree. But if any of you are Canadian or live in a city of comparable size to Toronto, then you know how damn expensive city living is. I just couldn’t justify paying city rent (and other numerable heart-wrenching expenses) while job hunting for an indefinite amount of time, especially considering I wasn’t even dead-set on living in the city.
This left me with the option of moving back in with my parents, to the town where they live with approximately 19,000 other people. Drastically different from Toronto with its population of upwards of 2.5 million people, as you can imagine. While I’m infinitely grateful to have the option of living at home with my parents again (an option not available to everyone), it is a far cry from the Sunday-brunching, sidewalk-stomping city life I grew so accustomed to.
I know there are many out there who can relate to my story. Whether you’ve done so by choice or out of necessity, moving home is a definite adjustment from that #independentlife you’re used to living. Yet that doesn’t mean you have to forget how to be the adult that you are (and nor should you). Here are four ways to still feel like an adult when you’re depending on your parents for your living situation:
1. Create your own work schedule — and stick to it. If you’re working at a full-time job while spending some quality time at home, then you’ll already have a work schedule to stick to. But if you’re in a position where a work schedule isn’t set for you (like being unemployed and looking for jobs or picking up freelance work), then it is crucial to set your own schedule to maintain those independent, adult feelings. You’ll be more productive and overall happier if you take this important step. I find this to be especially true if you’re a post-grad like me and find that living at home seems to drain your productivity by taking off the you-must-find-a-job-now pressure. So, as someone who is currently living at home while on the frustrating and overwhelming job hunt, trust me on this one.
2. Bring in some cash flow (if possible). A large part of feeling like an adult is financial independence. Now, while you may not be fully financially independent (considering you’re shacking up with your parents for the time being), you can still try to find a way to earn some money to offset the lodging aspect of your financial situation. If you moved back home due to a full-time job nearby, then you can still achieve full financial independence by offering to pay your parents rent (and utilities, internet, etc. if you really want to go full-out!). This is still an effective way to save money because your parents will likely charge you a lower rent than other landlords (who you’re not related to) would. But if you’ve retreated home either due to a blip in your career or because you’re new on the job scene and haven’t found that elusive 9-5 “golden ticket, solve-all-your problems” job yet, then you still have options. Try freelancing or picking up part-time work in the meantime. You can still feel like the adult you are, while simultaneously adding useful experience to your resume and building up your emergency fund. That’s the definition of a win-win situation.
3. Maintain your personal hobbies. Ahhh, hobbies. They’re the key to achieving that all-important work-life balance, and you should absolutely keep them up if you’ve moved back home. Better yet, pick up some new ones. As someone who’s declared their aversion to exercise for years, I started following a daily exercise routine when I moved back home. Not only does it keep me productive and help improve my general health, it feels really good to reach goals I’ve set for myself outside of the job-hunting part of my life.
4. Do some damn chores. Okay, I’m going to state the obvious here. Moving home does not give you an excuse to suddenly “forget” how to take out the trash or do the laundry. You’re an adult, remember? Not only do you know how to do all these household chores (hopefully), you also know well enough that your parents don’t want to be cleaning up after you day-in and day-out. So do the dishes. Clean the bathroom. Walk the dog. Show your parents some appreciation for letting you stay with them, and remember the ever-relevant advice: act your age, not your shoe size.
Moving home can be hard. But it’s even harder to be too proud to move home and drain all your savings, just because you feel like you’re too independent to move back in with your parents. Remember that you are taking a step that will aid your financial future immensely, all while getting to spend quality time with loved ones. Once you rid yourself of the idea that moving back in with your parents is a step backward, you can get out of your state of I-don’t-know-what-I’m-doing-so-I’ll-just-do-nothing. So turn off the Netflix and give these four steps a try to regain the feeling of being an actual, human adult.
Brea has an MA in Linguistics from the University of Toronto. She loves chocolate (maybe a little too much), her three dogs, and all things to do with language.
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