I am part of the boomerang generation. In other words, I am part of the generation of youngish people who went to school and moved back in with their parents. I have three other siblings, two of whom are twins and in college, one who is also older and living at home.
My parents were generous and helped me out a LOT in college. They were extremely helpful and pushed me when I needed pushing. As well as being financially helpful, they were just good mentors and really prepared me for life. With their help I was able to graduate and have NO debt whatsoever. As I watch so many friends struggle I really really can’t be thankful enough for that. They have sacrificed a lot for me.
I eventually got a job in another country and moved away for a year. Being bilingual turned out to be a huge plus. But my family was very hurt by my move and it seemed like I would be able to get a job when I moved home, as I was now out of college, had two years of experience in my field and outstanding references and connections. Even though I’m the adventurous sort and kind of wanted to stay and live my independence a bit longer, I wanted to go home too, because I missed everyone. So I did- I came home and I started looking for a job.
And that’s how it’s been for three years. Oh, I’ve been working- I have two jobs at the moment, and I’ve also had three or even four to make ends meet. Both part time employment with no insurance that pay peanuts. I also have a car that’s dying. It’s been really hard… it does nothing for my self esteem to know I went from independence to living with my parents scraping by. They do not charge me rent, (I’ve asked and offered). I help around the house by cleaning and cooking.
One of the things I did upon moving back home was sign up for dance classes. There were a few things I’d wanted to do growing up that I’d asked about but hadn’t been able to do (permission or money-wise) and that was dancing and martial arts. So I barely had any money at all, but taking my change to the bank, I had just enough money to sign up.
Dance has been fun. I have met a mess of people I would never have before. Growing up in a conservative household where everyone was Christian was kind of a bubble. It was a growing process in that I had to learn for the first time what kind of people to avoid and what kind of people to embrace.
I have worked my way up and have been told by the instructor I am one of the best dance follows there. Yay! I still have a lot of ways to go, and I’ve made mistakes this year but I’m happy to have found something I really enjoy. Not to mention great for social interactions and exercise.
Now to the issue at hand… dances take place in the evenings. Which means I am out late. Sometimes it is icy and snowy in the winter, sometimes it is three in the morning and I am just tired and don’t want to drive home. I camp out on couches of friends who live next to the dance studio. In order to improve, which is my goal, I go to as many things as possible. This means Friday, Saturday, Sunday… I am Jitterbugging or waltzing. I dance a lot of weeknights, too. Because of work schedules, sometimes I leave right as my parents get home. I do skip different practices and weekends for family events. Birthdays, obviously holidays, and sometimes, hey, it’s been a long week, I just want to veg on the couch a night in my PJs and watch TV with my brother.
However I am away for most of the weekend. Or I go away at 6pm and don’t return home until 6pm the next day. This has caused outrage from my parents. I think they see me as an irresponsible kid who never comes home, and when she does just is waiting until she can go away again. I think they miss me or feel slighted. My Dad asked me if I think of our house as my home and was very offended by my answer of, “I think this is your home, where you are allowing me to stay.”
Because of my getting home late or coming in the next day (for which I now inform them before hand my plans and have to endure their anger before I leave and then again when I get home) there has been talk of making me pay rent and setting up different house rules of curfews. They also are completely horrified to learn I stay the night on my boyfriend’s couch (he also lives with his family) so I now try to make plans with other dancing girlfriends so that I never have to stay there. It’s a pain but it’s not worth the anger of my parents and I’m not willing to lie about where I am or what I’m doing.
(This seems like I sleep over at peoples houses everyday, I do not. I prefer my house and my bed! It happens once, occasionally twice a week)
I think I could understand this and try to work with them except for one thing. My Brother is an avid hunter. He goes away many weekends and weeks to a hunting cabin in the mountains and also has a job that takes him away. He sometimes stays at hotels or friends houses. We often don’t know where he is until later. Yes, he lives here, but his lifestyle and his hobbies/job take him away.
I guess I feel hurt myself. No, my hobby will not be something I can’t mount on a wall or eat for supper. But when he doesn’t call or come in on time, there’s instant forgiveness. He has a real job and makes real money. But he also doesn’t pay rent and I know they won’t make him even though there’s this talk of making me pay.
So I don’t know what to do. I have tried to find roommates and leave but I am in a financial crunch and can’t really afford to. (Luckily dance classes are now free because the Dance Instructor lets advanced level dancers attend dances for free to help beginners.) When I talk about this from the perspective of, “Hey, I am 25 and I want to move out and be independent someday…”, I am met with hostility. “So eager to get away from us?!”
Sigh. I just want to dance. In a world where I have applied to over 50 jobs and where I’m praying that my car survives the winter… I just want to be able to do one thing that makes me feel happy and free and alive.
How do I handle this? How can I live in harmony with my family and still be true to my own interests and life. Am I wrong…? I confess… I would like them to come watch my dance, just once. But dances don’t start until 8pm and that’s too late for their tastes. 0112-15
I’m going to be the meanie in my response. I do not agree with you that your parents “really prepared me (you) for life.” Their financial assistance with your college education already sets you apart from the vast numbers of young adults who work while going through college and/or have student loans that must be paid. You left college having no real idea what the personal cost of working for something you really want. And the fact that your older brother still lives at home paying no rent whatsoever despite having what you refer to as a “real job” with “real money” tells me your parents have no vested interest in pushing a perfectly capable mid-twenties year old male out of the nest to learn how life really is as an independent adult.
I’m the parent of 3 adults in their 20’s and all three have lived at home as adults at one time or another. We did not require them to pay rent as long as they paid their own cell phone service, car insurance, gasoline, auto repairs, bought their own vehicles, and, this one is crucial, they had to save at least $500.00 per month in a savings account or retirement fund. They were required to show evidence of this with copies of bank deposit slips or statements. The other obligation to living in our house was the requirement to be courteous and I’ll expound more on that later. The only times we ever threatened that rent was to be paid was when there was no evidence of any money being deposited into a savings account. Whines that they had no money were nearly always a case of the adult kid having spent money foolishly on what we referred to as “toys”, i.e. completely unnecessary items they could not afford or daily/weekly extravagant expenditures for very upscale cosmetics or Starbucks or clothes.
As the parent of three children who lived at home and worked at retail or food service jobs making somewhat similar amounts of money, I can attest to the fact that there was a difference in how each child managed his/her money. In any group of siblings, it seems one is the “banker” who diligently saves and has more disposable income and on the other end of the spectrum, there is the “shopper” who wastes money on things he/she really does not need and is therefore routinely financially in extremis. The “banker” of my children was able to save 10K to buy a nearly new vehicle with cash, went on a 16-day trip to New Zealand that cost 5K from saved funds, is planning a London trip later this year, yet also has a generous amount of money saved for a down payment on a house AND an IRA retirement account. Meanwhile, the “shopper” moved out of the house owning an old clunker, no savings to speak of, and in credit card debt. And the irony is that the banker made less than the shopper did annually at one point but the difference in how they managed money was light years apart.
You have no college debt, no car payments apparently, you pay no rent and probably little for food, and you have barely two nickels too rub together. At age 25, you are still eligible to be covered under your parents’ health insurance. Something isn’t jiving here and I suspect you are not telling me the whole story. Even working two part-time jobs (and sometimes 3 and 4 as you mentioned) at US minimum wage, you should be grossing 12-15K per year, most of which is not taxable. I’ve had two adult kids working minimum wage jobs…I know exactly how much they netted each year. So, how is it that you have no expenses to speak of yet have no money?
How can you be working “3 and 4 jobs” at times yet have the time to attend dances and dance classes, “Friday, Saturday, Sunday…”, and, “…a lot of weeknights, too”? My family loves contra dancing but if one of them were to dance this much per week while claiming to be financially unable to leave the home, there would be some serious discussions about priorities. If you had to scrape together the money to take dancing lessons, that tells me you are not in a good financial position to pay for the necessities of adult life such as car repairs, and have no long term goal to save money to be able to leave your parents’ home. I am beginning to suspect, perhaps, why your parents are resistant to watching you dance or taking dance classes….you present the case that your dancing is an obsession at a time when you don’t have the means to afford that kind of luxury.
As for telling your parents where you are going, when you will be back, where you are staying the night, and how you can be reached, this is basic common courtesy everyone should extend to those they live with. If you were married, your spouse would have a very reasonable expectation that you will relay that information to keep him apprised of your whereabouts. If you had roommates, this is, again, a courtesy one gives to those one lives with so that they do not needlessly worry about you. So, no excuses for failing to inform your parents of your plans to be away from the home.