Living at home after graduation can feel like a step backwards. For a long time I’ve idolized this post grad life as the beginning of my “real life.” But the truth is that life already started the day I was born and it’s only as good as my efforts to make the most out of it. So rather than wallow in self-pity, I’ve learned that there are a few ways to make the most out of living at home, a second time around.
1. Enjoy It
If your parents are like mine and don’t mind you staying at home without chipping in, living rent free is an enormous blessing! You get extra time and security before worrying about apartment fees and saving the hot water. I know so many people who use all of their pay on their apartment, especially in the pricey areas living downtown, and barely make ends meet with their first job. One of the greatest perks of living at home is the huge amounts of money you save! And don’t forget the amazing food! Nothing compares to Mom’s cooking so enjoy the meals prepared for you while it lasts. It’s also a good idea to learn those recipes when you have the time now for when you’re on your own. But who am I kidding? I’ll never be as good a cook as my Mom.
Life is so short and we waste so much of it. You only get a limited time span when you can truly be with your one and only family. Once the careers start rolling and siblings are tossed in different states, growing a part is inevitable. Cherish this time now. Spend time with your Mom and Dad, and siblings nearby before getting together becomes an enormous effort. Have fun, go on vacations, eat together, ask your parents their life story, have deep conversations, and laugh as much as you can.
2. Pay Your Dues
This was super hard for me because I love being lazy and as the youngest of three I’m used to being spoiled. But this isn’t like the teenage years when you could get by with just good grades. Now that I’m an adult it’s probably a good idea I start acting like one. Doing the dishes, vacuuming, cleaning, taking out the trash, and walking the dog can be lovely little ways to pay back the thanks to your parents. It’s even better if you do it without them asking. Doing these simple chores helped me to appreciate my Mom more and realize all the ways she has cared for me. It feels good to repay just a tiny piece of that. Making life more pleasant for your parents is a great way to show them that you appreciate their help. I mean they are after all offering a totally free way of life, it’s the least I could do. Being a responsible resident will also prepare you for living on your own, so you won’t be totally helpless when the time comes to get your own place.
3. Set Boundaries
Although I’m living at home again it isn’t like before. I’m no longer in need of rides and allowances. I’m also 21 which means I’m semi-ready for independence. It’s a good idea to set boundaries from the get-go. Having a part-time job for now while searching for a job you want is a great way to get out of the house. Living at home 24/7 can get frustrating for you and your parents so having a place to go to every day, whether it’s a job, a hobby, or even a cafe to read or write, to practice being on your own is a healthy way to be independent even while living at home.
4. Have a Schedule
Having a schedule helps keep you sane. Having things to do and goals will keep you actively moving forward because let’s face it, you don’t want to live at home forever. Wake up at a reasonable hour and whether it’s job hunting or working, actually try to accomplish something every day so that living at home doesn’t feel like a waste of time. Living at home can make you feel like you’re in a stand still. But if you’re working and actively pursuing something without the added hindrances of all-out independent life, time spent living at home can still be extremely valuable.
5. Be Social
Your room can be the perfect setting for hermit mode. For the first two months of post grad life I spent so much time in my room just trying to pass time doing frivolous unimportant things. To be honest, I was a bit embarrassed of myself and my life. I have such grand dreams for my life the fact that I’m still jobless and living at home made me not want to face anyone. I was ashamed of myself. But after hearing stories of people who waited months or nearly a year for their first real job, it gave me hope again. There’s no shame in living at home or being unemployed for now. We are so young yet we expect to accomplish everything immediately which is improbable and stupid.
After seeing friends I hadn’t visited for a long while, it was like a breath of fresh air. I didn’t feel ashamed of my life, in fact I felt encouraged to keep on trying. Make sure that even if you live at home you do not always stay at home. Be with the people who make you feel good and happy. It’s such a huge weight lifted when you can just talk to other people.
So even though my anti-social nature kept me cooped in my room for two months, it’s still within my control and everyone’s control to go out and still have fun. I’m not talking about the go out at night, and come in at 2am to make your parents faint, I’m talking about having fun with the friends who still want to be there for you. Or even being social by helping strangers and lending a hand to those who don’t get to live rent free like me. When else will you have the perfect chance and time to do that than right now?