I’m Afraid to Boomerang

Some refer to us as the “boomerang” generation. As twenty-somethings in this economy, many of us have had to face the tough decision of whether or not to return to the nest after graduating from college. In many ways, it is a practical and budget-friendly option — no rent, no bills, free meals — the list goes on. Recent graduates moving home are much more common in our generation (three in ten, according to a recent PEW study) than in our parents generation.

There are several benefits that could make moving home worthwhile. It can even be a fresh start if you’re stuck in a rut. Like living rent-free? Want to make your bills disappear? Love free meals? Want laundry service? Chez Mom and Dad is the place for you! Sounds pretty great, huh?

Now, if you want to move home, more power to you. But moving in with mama bird and papa bird is one of my greatest fears. I’ve blogged about this before, but that hasn’t alleviated my stress. Don’t get me wrong, I love my parents. I love going home for a weekend and getting a little spoiled, but I’m afraid of turning into the bum in the basement. I worry about boomeranging a lot and I’m always thinking of more reasons that I don’t want to.

There are many social stigmas attached to moving home, which are only perpetuated by the media. Recently, McDonald’s came out with an ad where the main character who has just moved home to sleep in his childhood bunk bed refers to his new place as a “loft” to conceal the fact that it is actually his parents’ home. For years, Hollywood has been portraying a character who moves home as a screw-up who lives in the basement, plays video games all day, and can’t have a successful relationship (think: The Wedding Singer; Jeff, Who Lives at Home). (For the record, I get called Julia Gulia ALL THE TIME. And I love it.).

Other reasons that I’m afraid of moving home include:

  • getting fat from my mother’s delicious cooking
  • tumbling down the Pinterest black hole
  • running out of tv shows to watch on Netflix
  • starting to drink at 10 a.m. with Kathie Lee and Hoda
  • forgetting the last time I left the house
  • developing bed sores
  • becoming a cat lady
  • getting too used to the simple pleasures
  • forgetting how to interact with society and turning into a mole-person

With my career ambitions of being an editor, I know that I will probably have to move away from the good ol’ mitten. So I enjoy the time that I can spend at home with mom and dad whenever I can. But living at home doesn’t fit into my success.

Everyone has their own idea of success. Living at home and being in limbo between jobs gives me incredible anxiety. My hard work ethic and self-definition of success includes a happy life with a job that I love (among other things). I’m not naïve — I know that having that successful life takes work. I’m willing to climb the ladder.

Above all, I’m afraid of losing my independence. I’ve worked hard to get where I am. Last summer was my first summer away from home and my greatest leap toward independence. Sometimes independence sucks, but I wouldn’t give mine up for the world.

Have any of you moved home? How did you feel going into it? Do you have any tips to avoid boomeranging? Or any advice for how to cope with boomeranging? Does anyone know of someone else who will do my laundry for free?

You can read more from Julia Fellows here.

(Image via Shutterstock)

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