Going Home to Live With Your Parents Is Basically Announcing Your Dreams D.O.A.

Woman with a suitcase

A recent study of census data conducted by the Pew Research Center found that millennials prefer to live at home with their folks. In fact, the study found that it's the first time -- since this kind of record-keeping was collected in 1880 -- that living at home has become slightly more popular than living with a spouse or partner. What exactly does that mean? Millennials have successfully (and I use that term loosely) broken a record -- making our parents the most common living arrangement for nearly one-third of us between 18 and 34. Nevertheless, I won't allow myself to fall victim to this particular millennial stat. There is, simply put, no room for this temporary comfort in my long-term plan for growth.  

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Here's the thing, though: We're living at home for a plethora of reasons -- from ever-changing marital habits to the financial instability of our economy and the Great Recession. Therefore we're talking about lower incomes, greater difficulty finding/keeping jobs, and a mound of student loans to pay off.

In the Associated Press report, author Dr. Richard Fry explains that it comes down to our being "concentrating more on school, careers and work and less focused on forming new families, spouses or partners and children."

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That said, there's not one of us who isn't feeling the weight of this pressure -- whether you've been affected by one or all of the issues. 

By no means am I for "millennial shaming," as some may put it, especially when the validity behind so many millennials' moving back home is so real. Truth be told, I'm completely enamored by our generation and our will to require a certain quality of life that has less to do with the things money can buy and everything to do with enjoying the experiences our money gets us.

But I can't imagine a life back home -- and it goes beyond the basics of no longer having a bed or a room (for that matter) to sleep in.

It's because I fought so damn hard to get out all throughout my teenage years, and even on days when I claim I'd trade it all in (the bills, the long work days, and almost all the sh*ttiest parts of adulting), moving back home is merely a fantasy that helps console me in the moment. 

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There's a lot to be said for those who go back home, as the most adult thing that you can do is admit when you need help. Frankly, those are the only circumstances under which I would go home -- great financial ruin. Not to save, not to dream about my big dreams and great plans, and not to fall into a life of nostalgia (as much as I love a moment or two of "remember when?"). Because when it's all said and done, I've learned that the best way to truly get to know yourself, to test your faith, and to live out your dreams is being absent from home and then staying gone. 

From a young age I knew that being home -- not with my family, but in my hometown -- would only squander any dreams of mine. At 12, I was already too big for that place. And as I got older, I realized it's not my hometown in Michigan per se, but any hometown. We outgrow them. We want more than they can offer -- even when you call home New York City. That's part of growing up.

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Certainly you can become an adult living at home, but it's the kind of adult that you're likely to become -- the kind of adult that most millennials (including myself) have opted out of becoming: the mundane; the nine-to-five adult that our parents thought they had to be; the type of adult who believes that dreaming is for kids, instead of realizing that dreaming is merely a form of planning for great things to come. 

Yes, home -- home is the safety net we sometimes need. It can serve as a brief bout of comfort that is the necessary stepping stone to finding peace in the chaos that comes with being an adult. But, that's all that it should ever serve to be; nothing more and nothing less.

And that's why you will never find me living at home -- not while I'm still seeking my true self, anyway. Not while I'm unfurling into the woman I'm meant to be. Living back in the comfort of home means inevitably deferring your dreams. But, moreover, that's why it's crucial that other millennials fight to do the same.

After all, we're in this together. We're all fighting the good fight and dreaming the best dreams -- here's the foolproof formula to turn our dreams into reality. That and a bit of daily grind, because we've learned from prior generations that a little bit of grinding never hurt nobody. 

 

Image via iStock.com/South_agency

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