This post has been a long time coming. I have been living back at home with my parents for four months now, and looking back to when I was living with friends in a uni house, a lot has changed, me included. Moving back in with your parents after three years of independent living has to be one of the biggest changes that comes with post uni life. Unless you're fortunate enough to have a solid plan for when your lease runs out, the bulk of us are forced to take two steps back and move back into the homes we couldn't wait to see the back end of three years previously.
University was an incredible experience for me. I made some friends for life, fell in love, grew as a writer and as an independent adult, and at the end of it graduated with first class honours. Still, none of that gave me any idea of where I was heading after my three years of study, and after a horrible bout of depression I found myself unemployed and living back at home with my parents. Two things, when written down in black and white, still terrify me. Yet, I don't wonder what it was all for. I have a degree; it may not be of any value to anyone but me, but I had a good time while I was working for it, and now it is time to accept my situation and work with what I've got.
|The infamous photo of the best people I met at uni. We called ourselves the mafia. Still have no idea why.|
|And this was the only photo I could find of my favourite gal Cloey, in which I appear to be strangling both her and Beth.|
Uni can't last forever, no matter how much we all wish it would (unless you're one of those people who does two degrees). Eventually, we realise we should be getting ready for the 'real world' we have all been warned about for, well, our whole lives. No one prepared us for moving back in with our parents though.
Fortunately for me, living with my parents has been okay. I would like to live with friends, or at least people my age, work in a job that I enjoy and eat cereal for my tea, but I have had quite the easy ride since I moved back home four months ago. I have enjoyed having a break from cooking for one, cleaning and paying an extortionate amount in rent. Really, it has been quite nice. Of course, everyone's circumstances are different, but what I have found to help with the daily 'what-am-I-doing-why-am-I-living-a-teenage-life-in-my-twenties-oh-my-goodness' panic, are these three things:
- Have a long term goal. If you move back home after uni with no real idea of what you're doing or where you are going, then get one. Make a plan. When I moved back home I decided straight away it would be my 'gap year.' Whereas most people do that before uni, I was doing mine after. My plan was to get a job, save up some money and go travelling in a year's time, then move out and into a place with friends. When I have a bad day, when I get another job rejection or think too much about what I was doing a year ago, I remind myself that living back at home is only for now - that I'm working towards something better. If you move back home indefinitely, you'll get stuck in a rut. So have something bigger in mind, and work towards it.
- Get into a routine. This is especially important if you are unemployed. You'll get on everyone's nerves, including your own, if you sleep 'til one every day and don't ever make any plans. Even if all your friends are in uni still (like mine are), and you are moving back to a town which no longer feels like home (like I did - where is home when you're in your twenties, anyway?) get into a routine. Try and get up at the same time every day. Try and set aside time for work and play, whatever those two may be. For me, work was looking for work, and play was reading and writing.
- Be considerate. This kind of goes without saying, but you know. It is difficult moving back into a family home when you've been doing your own thing for three years with other like minded people who don't care if you eat your dinner without them. Offer to make tea one night, clean up after yourself, engage in conversation that usually, you might not. The way I have been thinking of it is that I am living in someone else's house. It is my home for now, but I am trying to treat it with the respect I would if I were living in someone else's house I did not know. This is my parents house and they have kindly let me move back in for the time being.
It has been difficult accepting that I am now a graduate and have to be a proper grown up, but it is an adventure and one that I am enjoying, surprisingly. My parents have been supportive and, ultimately, my safety net these past few months. Being able to move back into their home has been a true blessing, without which I would be completely lost.