We get on famously, which helps. Me and Dad rub along nicely, and Mum and I enjoy chatting and spending time together. She certainly prefers taking me grocery shopping, as Dad hasn’t a clue how to pack the bags and the eggs always come home squashed.
However, when they took early retirement to relax and spend more time together, I’m fairly sure they didn’t picture me upstairs in my room, still eating their food and hogging their phone line.
There’s even an official term for people like me: The Boomerang Generation. So I’m not alone, but sometimes I feel it.
In the UK, nearly 25% of men approaching 30 are still living at home, and 15% of women. There are many reasons for this, among them student debt and the economic crisis. The price of a house has also rocketed, the average age of a first-time buyer is now 38. There’s even an official term for people like me: The Boomerang Generation. So I’m not alone, but sometimes I feel it. Returning home (three times now, folks!) can often make you feel a bit of a failure, even if you know it’s just for now.
The first time I moved back home was after my undergraduate degree. I’d set off to London, rosy-cheeked and excited to start my new life. But after graduating I couldn’t find a job, so I came back home and found work at a local newspaper. I saved up and set off back to the big smoke, but ran out of cash after 9 months, and back home I came for the second time.
This time I got a job in a local bakery and saved up yet again. I had a foolproof plan. I would save up for 3 years, and move in with my boyfriend. I went to London and returned to university to get my MA in creative writing. ‘I won’t be back this time!’ I promised my mum and dad as they waved me off.
But yet again, money problems after graduating and the slow job market meant both the boyfriend and I, after a great year together, have now moved back in with our respective parents.
It can be hard, but here’s what I’ve found helpful
- I‘ve found you need to re-evaluate your relationship with your family. A lot of my friends only see their parents at Christmas and they all say they revert back to their teenage selves – moody, sulky, arguing over the TV remote and what time they’ll be getting in on Saturday night. But if you live at home full time, you can’t allow yourself to do that. You have to relate to them as an adult.
- Even if your parents don’t want you to pay rent, I advise doing so if you can. Not only does it contribute to the obvious costs you add to the home, it can help maintain your self-esteem.
- Your living space is also important. There’s no chance of feeling like an independent adult if your room still boasts posters of bands you haven’t listened to since you were 17. Make your room your own, and somewhere you feel comfortable, so you won’t resent the time you have to spend there.
I’m lucky really. I could be homeless if it weren’t for my parents. And my mum could be stuck with crushed eggs if it weren’t for me.