FunemploymentAm I 16 Again?: What It's Like To Move Back Home At Age 23Kaitlin Coghill

Last month, I decided to overhaul my life. I broke up with my boyfriend (we’re back together now, long story), quit my part-time serving job, turned down a potential second job, packed up all of my belongings (including my cats) and moved back in with my parents. While some may consider this a mid-20s crisis, I consider it a much-needed fresh start.

I had lived in San Diego for over four years, give or take a few summer vacations, and developed a fear of being alone. I was paranoid that I would lose my friends if I wasn’t perfect and always available for them when they needed me, and as a result I became overwhelmed and overly dependent on others for my own happiness. I was stuck in a rut and had a moment of clarity one morning that I needed to get out of the city that was slowly swallowing me whole. So I moved three hours away to Ventura and have started the process of finding my independence so that I can rely on myself, and only myself, when it comes to being content with my life.

But that’s not to say I’ll never need a support system. I think it’s important for all of us to develop close relationships with our family and trustworthy friends because they play an important role in helping us develop a valuable sense of self. I’ve learned through this experience that people really do care about me and that it is worth nurturing my relationships with them and keeping them close to my heart. The encouragement of my friends, parents, sister and boyfriend (even when he was my ex-boyfriend) has reassured me that I’ve made the right decision by moving back to my childhood home, and that it was brave of me to leave my comfort zone as a means of bettering myself.

So what do I do with all of my free time as an extra-unemployed 23-year-old who lives with her parents? I spend my days:

  • designing my future home and wedding on Pinterest (check out my pins here)
  • gathering inspiration from my friends’ blogs
  • relaxing in pajamas
  • reorganizing my childhood bedroom
  • watching Dr. Oz, Ellen and HGTV every afternoon
  • laughing out loud while watching Late Night With Jimmy Fallon
  • watching repeats of Hoda and Kathie Lee on Today at 2 a.m.
  • building up the energy to pick up the pace on finding a job
  • collecting articles to read on Instapaper, my new favorite web app
  • editing my wardrobe and donating a good amount of stuff to Goodwill

While my days may involve an abundance of television shows and interwebbing, they also involve regular heart-to-hearts with my mom and cleaning up after the six animals I now live with. Obviously, I’m living the dream.

Have any of you moved back in with your parents after college? Do you have any advice on how to avoid falling in love with being lazy and becoming addicted to television? Do you have leads on any jobs? Am I too old to put posters on my walls?

  • Elisabeth Miller

    I’m 32 and had to move from California to DC to move back in with my mom after I got very ill and pretty much couldn’t function. I did live with my mom for about a year after college, and that was fine, but THIS is so different. I was independent for eight years and I’m away from every friend and the city I love. I had no choice, what with being sick, but I am so motivated to get my ass in gear. I think it’s a great choice for people who’ve just graduated. The economy is so crappy right now, that it makes a lot of sense. You’ll figure it out!

  • Kerry Louise Martin

    I did a similar thing but I was 26 in a full time job and broke up my 10 year relationshp. Moved back to the nest and got myself together, it was the best thing I ever did even though I lost some friendships and made a big mess. I’m now reaping the benefits and have a great relationship (I moved out after 3 months) and I’m happy with my life. So moving home is a step forward!!!

  • Veronica Kim

    This is seriously going to be the story of my life in 6 months.

  • Bailey Tait

    When I was 20, I dropped out of college and moved back home. I was living three hours away. University was a shock to my system and after 2 long, horrible years I bit the bullet. It’s been 4 and a half years and now, I’m getting out again. Honestly? As hard as the last couple of years have been, I’ve finally come the person I want to be… Or at least, I’m in the process of it. Living at home isn’t easy. Living away isn’t either. Both come with a set of trials and tribulations but both can also be surprisingly freeing.

  • Cassie Culver

    Reading this, and all these comments, makes me feel much better about havint to move back in with my parents. I’m 23, and I saw it as a form of defeat. I’m still in college, and will probably be for a couple more years. I did live on my own with a boyfriend, but we broke up, met someone else and after a while moved in with him..Let’s just say that was a poor choice on my part. He turned out to be much more of a -insert expletive here- than i had thought. SO, here I am..23…living with my parents, and i’m the only one of my friends in this boat.

    Its nice to see that i’m really not. Thanks much, you really put things into perspective.

  • Nefret Salzberg

    I’m in the same boat as you and what has been working for me is the coffee shop and the library, just getting out of the house to do my interwebbing and job hunting. I don’t know what it is but doing something as simple as getting out of the house makes me more productive. More importantly don’t give up hope.

    Oh and for the job hunting if you are looking for work in nonprofits I would recommend and if you are looking for museum work there are a lot of other places I can recommend.

  • Yi Gnojt

    this sounds just like my 22 year old sister who recently moved back home.. xD

  • Amy Danielle

    It’s so nice to know I’m not alone! I’ve been back home for nearly two years now. Only instead of starting over, I feel like I can’t start over until I am out on my own again. But I can’t do that until I’ve got a job, and I can’t get a job without experience, and I can’t get experience without experience.

    So, my days are spent on Netflix, HG, Imgur, reading, and painting my nails. I’m more bored and depressed every day. How do I begin to actually live my life while I’m living with my parents, jobless and broke?

  • Thalia Cerilli

    I’ve had a similar situation… I had move to the big city of Montreal only to move back to my mums place. Got back on my feet in a jiffy (1 year or so) after getting back on my feet and in my head! During the day, Iwas glued to the TV, watching Stephen and Chris, Dr Oz and The View… At night I would be watching movies repeatedly…
    Eventually, I got a break. And you will get one too.
    I say, do what you’re doing now. Enjoy it. Stuff your face with your guilty pleasure and stay in your pajamas.
    Keep an eye for job posting, but don’t revolved yourself around it (unless you ABOLUTELY need a job NOW).
    It was dificult to get back at it. The whole ‘ok I wanna be productive and do this and do that’. What really helped thought was running. It’s my thing now. running here and there. 15 minutes runs are just freaking so liberating.
    Try it.
    Or just go outside.
    It helped me a lot!

    ANYWAY. That was my 2 cent :)

  • Katrina Barnett

    aah! vta! 805 holla etc :)
    If you have to live at home, at least you’re living in a beautiful city and didn’t have to move to the ice and snow of north dakota to find a job! oh ventura. I miss it.

  • Paige Barclay

    I’m 25 and I basically did this same thing just over a year ago. I woke up one morning and realized I was miserable. So I changed what I could, packed up my stuff, and moved back to my dad’s. BEST DECISION EVER! I got myself re-organzied, changed a lot of bad habits, picked up some good ones and now life is awesome. I think for some people moving home after college is a much needed breather. As for the laziness, just enjoy it if you can. It will get boring eventually and at that point you’ll be ready to move on to the next exciting frontier.

  • Kendall De Jong

    I moved home after graduating college in 2008. No shame in it, even when I was spending Friday nights watching Mary Tyler Moore episodes on DVR with the mom… The thing that worked for me was having goals and throwing myself out there until I reached them. Now, four years later, I’ve got a good job (had to go through a couple not so stellar ones to find it), I own my own condo (LOTS of saving up, thanks to rent free stay at the parents’ for a year and a half) and I now rock climb and salsa dance and met some new amazing people through these activities. As far as the boy stuff goes… I’m not sure I’ll ever figure that one out! But it’s definitely normal to revisit ‘the nest’ to get everything in order before jumping into life. Good luck and you’ll be fine!

  • Carolyn Holst

    I’m jealous! I’m 22 and graduating college in 100 days. I’ve been at college 2 hours away from home for the past 4 years. Between school and working part-time nights/weekends, I’ve been home less than 10 times in those 4 years. I MISS HOME!! Now a great job opportunity out here awaits me but I am so tempted to move back in with mom for a couple years.

  • Tish Chambers

    Sounds like me when I moved back to my parents’ house after a year of college. I had one job interview, but then pretty much gave in to the laziness. The only thing that got me out of the house was choosing to go to college again.

  • Laura Hough

    I moved home after graduating in 2010 and struggled to find a job that I loved. I only just moved out 4 months ago after a long year with my parents. Use the time at home to figure out what your short term goals are for yourselves, regardless of what everyone else is up to. I found my current job by applying for unpaid internships, and mine just happened to become a paid job at the end. Poster are fine whatever age just so long as you think they are awesome : )

  • Bre Short

    This is fantastic. I’m 22, and moved back home to live with my sister in October. I was living in Pittsburgh for school and dancing with a small company. I thought I had everything figured out until I realized that everything I was doing was for someone else. I didn’t actually WANT to be in the company anymore, but I didn’t want to leave the amazing people I had in my life because of it. I didn’t WANT to live in Pittsburgh, but I loved a man who was there. About a month before I left Pittsburgh, I wrote myself a letter. It was basically a reassurance that even though I’ll be heartbroken and frustrated, I am doing the right thing for ME. I needed to figure out my own life instead of getting caught up in trying to be a part of someone else’s. It helped to write that while in a clear state of mind so that whenever I question my decision I remember that my “higher self” knows this is the right choice.

    I’ve been working 2 jobs (and just lost one of them..ouch) and have made a few trips to NYC for dance auditions. Most importantly, I’ve had time to figure out what I want. In April I’ll be moving to NYC to start a new adventure! In hindsight, I would say that I could have actually relaxed MORE. I panicked and tried to CONSTANTLY be working and moving and feeling “productive” when in reality, I needed to calm down and take a breath. So keep yourself busy and open to opportunities, yes, but take advantage of being able to take a breather. It goes by faster than you think. And the thing is, SO many people our age are doing this. I think we’re just all a little embarrassed to admit it, so no one is talking to each other about it. If we’re all alone or lost for now, then we’re together in that too. G’luck!

  • Mary Dodd

    Funny thing, I’m 23 and I just moved back in with my parents after 5 years of living 18 hours away in the great state of Texas. I spend my days quite like you except I wake up every morning and watch “Live With Kelly”. So. I’m glad we’re in this together.

  • Dani Hawkins

    Story of my life – almost the exact same thing happened to me a year ago. I like to refer to it as my quarter-life crisis. It felt horribly embarrassing at first, but it wasn’t as bad as I feared it would be. I got two part time jobs I was content with for a while, but then the urge for something more kept getting stronger. This will happen to you too. Your determination will finally overtake whatever laziness you’ve become accustomed to – you’re clearly not a bum. I was patient and things just sort of fell into place. When I ran home with my tail between my legs to live with my parents again (after I’d broken up with my boyfriend and lived about 10 hours away), I was having the exact same codependancy issues. While I was at home, I found my legs and independence again. I’ve just moved about 900 miles away and the only person, well thing, I depend on for happiness is my mutt. Don’t worry. Be patient. You will slowly find your feet again. I promise.

  • Jen Pulling

    This is a move that I am deeply considering and it actually terrifies me. My only concern really is that I regress into that teenager who never went anywhere and locked herself in her room all day. And forget the not working thing. I cannot imagine not having a job (just my guilt I guess). I suppose there are aspects of my life that I would lose here on my own, but would gain financially if I moved back home. Is it worth all the money I save?

  • Kelly Wuyscik

    I moved back home right after college (2 years ago) and I’m still living at home. It’s a really smart way to stay afloat in a beautiful economic environment (haha) and so I commend you for moving home as well. Just make sure to throw a little job hunting into the tv mix every once in a while! It can get rather repetitive with little on your plate, but you’ll work all of that out when the time is right for YOU. Now is the time to put you first and make sure you are headed where you want in life. If moving back home helps with that, then I say rock on!

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