I’m 26 years old, and I live with my parents. And guess what? I absolutely love it.
There’s a lot of factors that have influence my decision to live with my parents.
I have the means to live on my own, but for a myriad of reasons, I hunker down in my childhood bedroom and have nightly dinners with my folks as often as I can.
When I graduated high school I was a few months past 17. I went to school a year early, and so was a year younger than nearly all my peers. I didn’t really know what I wanted to do then, but I knew it was going to be in the arts. I was accepted into a University on the opposite side of the country, and I decided to go.
I spent a year living in residence. Unfortunately there was a TA strike that interrupted classes, which lasted for nearly 4 months – this was my first experience with the listlessness and idleness of inactivity and lack of production. I watched hundreds of hours of television – How I Met Your Mother, Glee, Firefly, Buffy, Friends, the West Wing, and Angel. My days were all about consuming television, hanging out with friends, and eating crappy (crappy!) campus food.
After an unfortunate clerical mixup kept me from transferring programs, I decided not to go back, and instead took a year off. I worked at a sporting goods store for the following year, did some community theatre shows in the evenings, and lived with my parents. They didn’t charge me rent because I was working, and I was able to save most of my income as a result.
(A note on my parents: I would 100% be paying rent if they were in a position where they needed the money, but they’re comfortably settled and laughed when I asked if they would like me to pay rent. As I’m actively saving money for a downpayment, I’m beyond grateful that they’re fully supportive of that goal.)
The following year I attended a University that was slightly closer, but still in the next province over. I lived on my own for 4 years and went through the standard assortment of unfit roommates. I came back in the summers to work for an artistic not-for-profit, and lived with my parents while I was here.
I graduated in April 2014, and moved to the mainland, to live with a guy I’d been dating for a year and a half. I moved into his place in April, but was still working my typical summer job in my hometown, so I mostly spent the summer living with my parents. We ended up breaking up in November – I had been living with him for eight months, but had only spent four months actively living there.
The entertainment world is a foot-in-the-door kind of place. It’s all about who you know, who you’ve worked with, and the luck of your availability. Since I hadn’t gone to school or been involved with any companies in my hometown, none of them wanted to hire me. Thankfully, the companies in my graduating province did. The year following the break-up, I spent 4 months working out of town, 2 months travelling Europe, and 6 months at home. This year I’ll be spending 4/5 months working out of town, and 6/7 months at home.
The biggest reason why I live with my parents is because it makes more financial sense not to have my own place.
Rent is expensive; I’m rarely in the same place for a whole year; and of the dozen-or-more people I’ve lived with, I think only two have been reasonable. I have no desire to share my living space with someone who doesn’t share my views on personal hygiene, accountability, common courtesy, common sense, and the need to honour an agreed upon contract (like paying rent). Because of my desire not to share a house with someone who leaves used lasagna dishes with empty tins of tuna floating around in them in the tiny sink, I think I would need live alone for anything approaching a permanent arrangement (outside, of course, relationships of the romantic / child-rearing varieties). That means I’m looking at $700/month at minimum, for subpar accommodation in my city. That’s a lot to spend when you’re already happy with your living situation.
I like my parents.
I like where they live and our community.
We’re a team; I help them and they help me. We’re a family, and they know I can live on my own. I know I can live on my own. They respect my independence and my privacy, and I respect their preferences living-wise and help out around the house wherever I can. Whenever I come back from a contract there’s at least two-days worth of tech-stuff waiting for me to attend to, and that’s not counting the hours on Skype spent helping them while I’m away.
But most of all, I don’t care what other people think.
Most people scoff and side-eye me when they learn that I happily live with my parents. The thing is, if I had parents like the ones some of my friends have, I’d be out of here as soon as I was remotely able to be. People don’t understand the dynamic of our family – we’re a family. And we’re an immigrant family, with every last one of our relatives living on other continents. It’s just the four of us here. And in my parent’s eyes, we’re all we have. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a huge proponent of friends being the family you get to choose, but I think a lot of parents don’t realize that love runs downhill. In my mind, parents have an obligation to love and provide for their children, but children don’t have the same obligation towards them.
My parents moved to Canada so that my brother and I could have the life we have. We’ve been blessed with so many unfathomable opportunities and experiences because of what my parents sacrificed for us – I remember my Dad marvelling at the fact he had children that flew out to another city to get a post-secondary education. Never in a hundred years would he have guessed he would be able to give his children that, growing up.
I’m so proud and grateful to my parents, and it’s because of them that I am who I am right now, and that I’m in a place where I can pursue my passions. They’ve allowed me to afford to save money like I do, and they’ve made sure that living a thrifty, frugal lifestyle is something I’m not forced into.
I know without a doubt that my parents will always be there for me, 100% of the time, no matter what, no matter where, no matter how. And I have such respect and admiration for what they’ve done, how they act, and for them as individuals, that I will be there for them too. They’ve led by example, and we’re a unit. We’re a team, and the parameters for winning are finding out how to be, and being, happy; all while being there for each other. They’re my support system, and I’m theirs, as is my brother – and that support extended seamlessly out to my sisil even before she formally joined our family.