Originally posted on The Inbetween.
By Carly Rome
For as long as I can remember, I’ve been one of those kids who is in a rush to grow up. By seventh grade, I was going to the mall with friends to buy eyeliner and push-up bras. In eighth grade, I started regularly going to local punk shows with crowds of fans almost twice my age. Early on in high school, I ditched my babysitting gig for a retail job the minute I got my working papers, and befriended (and dated) kids who were a couple of years older than me. My loving parents didn’t know where their little girl went. I was always getting ahead of myself.
I recently graduated college a semester early, despite plenty of unsolicited advice from elders urging me not to cut my college days short. But for reasons that I can’t explain, I was eager to trade in Tuesday two-for’s and my liberating off-campus apartment for the MTA and an entry-level job. Now, a few months into the post-graduate grind, my rush to grow up has come to a sobering, screeching halt.
I somehow managed to beat the odds and landed a full-time job in NYC, in my field of choice, a few weeks after my December graduation. I jumped on the offer, and I’ve been the good kind of busy ever since. I recognize that unless I move to another major metropolitan area like San Francisco or Chicago (see: distant future), NYC is the only place my budding PR career will flourish. But in the midst of all this growing up nonsense, I’m back at home, living with my parents in the middle-class, suburban Long Island house that I grew up in.
I’m lucky enough to come from a loving, supportive family who doesn’t seem to be kicking me out of my cushy bedroom anytime soon. It’s up to me to make the move—and as much as I am tempted to go off on my own ASAP like I am with everything else in life, I’ve made an out-of-character, responsible decision not to rush it this time. And I think that’s pretty damn mature of me.
Finding the right kind of (somewhat) affordable, decent apartment in NYC requires knowledge, patience, and a commitment that I am admittedly not ready to make yet. Once I’m out of my parents’ house, I’m out for good. That’s it. The part of me that’s always rushing thirsts for my first non-college apartment to prove my independence and “start my life,” and it’s taken a certain type of maturity to tell it to shut up. The kind of maturity that involves having a true sense of self—the kind that doesn’t let you feel like less of a person for taking your time and living with your parents. The kind that allows you to shamelessly admit that, despite your hard work and full-time job, you’re still young, broke and confused as hell.
So while I embrace, probably for the first time in my life, the concept of taking “baby steps,” I’ll make tiny changes to my bedroom walls to make it seem more mature. I’ll scroll endlessly and aimlessly through NYC housing groups, and explore neighborhoods that I think might be a good fit. I’ll pack away money from each paycheck and, while I’m at it, try to improve my spending habits. And I won’t let anyone, not even myself, rush my transition.
Carly is a 21-year-old Long Island native and recent graduate of SUNY New Paltz, where she double-majored in Public Relations and Sociology but actually spent most of her time playing ultimate frisbee. She works for a small PR firm in New York City. Despite being obsessed with documentaries, news, and all things media, she swears she’s more of an outdoorsy type. You can find her on Twitter at @carlyarome.