As a film school graduate, it’s no surprise that I think in terms of “movie scenes.” I mentally add soundtracks to real life situations, or dramatically build things up in my head. My stories always involve film analogies, “you know it’s like that part in 500 days of summer…” or, “that guy was so like Mr. Darcy BEFORE we think he’s good enough for Lizzie.”
Needless to say, certain movies have always made an impact on me and resonated in some form or fashion. But one…one hit too close to home, as of late. I was watching one of my favorite romcoms, “My Big Fat Greek Wedding,” and this scene graced my television.
To add insult to injury…I. Was. Sitting. In. The. Exact. Location. Between. My. Parents. You see, I’m one of those so-called Boomerang Kids. Boomerang Kid isn’t just a modern media-catch phrase, it has a real definition now—“a young adult who returns to live with parents after a period of living away from home.” I’ll take that. Sounds a heckuva lot better than, “I’m a 25 ½ year old that lives at home with their parents,” because that just tends to conjure images of creepy men living in basements until they’re forty while they play video games into the wee hours of the morn. Two years ago, a consulting firm Twentysomething Inc., found that 85% of recent graduates were returning home. I can’t see that the number would have drastically decreased due to high unemployment and a dismal future that doesn’t fit most of the “young professional” dreams we had in our collegiate youth.
I feel that so many people see moving back in with your parents as a bad thing, when in a majority of cultures around the world it’s the norm. I see myself as a Boomerang Representative trying to make everyone more globally aware, justifying my living at home with a, “You know in India, they live at home until they marry, and THEN they move in with the husband’s parents,” or, “Did you know that in Italy one-third of all adults live at home, and it reinforces their traditional family structure?” It got tiring having to defend an international trend, so you know what? I said to hell with it. I’m going to OWN it, and that is exactly what I did. That’s right—I’m 25 ½ (side thought: does anyone else still count their half-birthdays?) and I live with my parents, SO WHAT? WHO CARES? So I’m here to drop some knowledge on five noble truths I’ve learned about being a boomerang kid.
1. People will think you are either rich or a mooch.
It’s true. People assume you have a free ride on everything. I’m living on a teacher’s salary, but most goes to my student loans from college…where I didn’t even go to school to become a teacher. That was just a back-up plan when I had no career options in my major. I know this one person who tends to constantly bring up in conversation that she’s “not like me,” that she has a family to take care of and pay for – again stating, “unlike me.” Guess what? I don’t swim in money like Scrooge McDuck, I pay rent. I do. I pay rent to my parents (I’d feel too guilty if I didn’t, I eat like Grace Adler). I don’t get off scot-free by any means; my responsibilities just come in a different form.
2. Sometimes it won’t be pretty.
Living with other humans is just hard sometimes. Roommates, especially parents, will sometimes drive you up the wall, slap-ass crazy. Pure & Simple. At times, your parents will forget you are a 25-year old working adult, and when you say “MOMMMM, I’M 25, I THINK I CAN MAKE MY OWN DECISIONS,” just know that’s not your best moment (FYI: you sure don’t sound or feel 25 when you use your age as a defense statement. Lesson Learned.). I have to say though, my parents have been my favorite roommates I’ve ever had. They make me laugh, their sappy cards make me cry, and we just have the best of times. Maybe it’s cheesy, but they’re my best friends. Also, living with the same people for quite some time truly teaches you about relationships, which I’m grateful for because I’m no rocket scientist at those either…and honestly, I’m surprised they still put up with my antics in most cases. I’d have kicked my own butt to the curb quite a while ago.
3. You gain new life perspective.
When you live with friends your age, you tend to all have the same-ish worldview. They will support you and back you up even at times when, let’s be real, you’re in the wrong. Parents are NOT like that. Not one bit. They are the realest folks. They will be your biggest cheerleaders and have no qualms with telling you that you’re being a royal asshat. Parents open you up to world perspectives you may have never considered. Living with them has showed me new hobbies I didn’t even know I’d enjoy, like gardening. Turns out, I’m a kick-ass gardener, I love planning the landscape, pruning the plants, and keeping things ALIVE. This is something I know I wouldn’t do if I were living by myself or with roomies in an apartment somewhere. Sounds pretty adult to me – maybe an 80-year-old adult, but I don’t care. I get to sit on the front porch every day, take a nap in the big, cushy patio furniture (thank you teacher calendars!), and listen to the birds chirping, bugs buzzing, and the hummingbird zipping past me.
That.Is.My.Life. Like seriously? It’s awesome.
4. Square footage & amenities.
If I were on my own, square footage and stainless steel appliances would be what dreams are made of…but I have a whole wing of a house and just a splendid environment in general. Enough said.
5. Even celebrities do it.
Not that emulating a celebrity is a good thing, by any means, but as an avid celeb-gossip reader I like to see what those famous faces are up to. All the cool kids are doing it. Bradley Cooper lives with his mom. So does the werewolf kid from Twilight (rethinking this mention…don’t really know if that lessens my point or not…). Aishwarya Rai, the Bollywood actress who at one point was notably named the most beautiful woman in the WORLD, lived at home until she married (and that ties back in with my Indian culture reference…see what I did there?). Even Jennifer Lawrence lives at home with good ol’ mom and dad.
If it’s good enough for Katniss Everdeen, then it is sure as hell good enough for me. So if you’re a boomerang kid too, don’t be worried. Be proud you’re on a different path, embrace it, celebrate it, and “may the odds be ever in your favor.”
H.L. is a photographer and teacher hailing from the great state of Texas. She attended the University of Texas at Austin where she majored in Radio-Television-Film and focused on U.S. Latino & Latin American media studies. During this stint, H.L. worked for HerCampus Webzine, where she had her brief love affair with writing editorials and being an online photographer. After living and loving Austin, she returned to small-town Texas to teach young people…scratch that…trying to teach young people and not letting her classroom become a real life version of the “Hunger Games.” Returning felt more like coming on to the set of “Hart of Dixie,” where H.L. feels like she brings big city knowledge & fashion to this small, but sweet, town. Her other loves include sweet tea, Jane Austen anything, Paris, bicycling (complete with basket & bell), LOTR, and folk music.[divider] [/divider]