On living at home into my thirties
I’ve been home in New York City for about three full weeks now. Home as in the hometown I grew up in, but also home as in with my parents in the apartment I grew up in. Although I’m living at home and in my thirties now, I can’t think of anywhere else I’d rather be. I haven’t gone completely insane yet, but I might be reaching my limit. There are some cons, but the pros outweigh them by far!
Home sweet home
Like they say, there is no place like home. There is a certain kind of comfort that you can only find at home. That’s why anyone who has had to say goodbye to their childhood home go through a bit of mourning and loss. Luckily, I’ve never had to do that.
My parents inherited this apartment from my great-grandfather who passed away in 1989. It’s in a neighborhood which is rapidly getting gentrified in Harlem in Manhattan. We’re lucky to have such a well-located home, but it is small for so many adults to be living together.
Though it is a bit stigmatized, I’m not ashamed to be living at home. As an Asian American and child of immigrants from China, it is quite common to live at home with your parents until you get married or a good paying job. I saved so much money when I was getting my Masters degree while living at home. All things considered, I’m getting to the point where it’s a little uncomfortable for me to continue. BUT, there is no way I’m moving into my own place in New York before I get a full-time job.
Prior to living abroad for the past 4 years, I lived at home for about 5 years. I had just finished undergrad and was in my twenties, so it was the best way to save money and be in the city. Now, though, I’m getting further into my thirties. It’s not just that I want my own space, I would like to build my own life too.
Whenever I come home, I fall into old patterns. My parents cook and clean for me. I don’t have to take care of myself. That’s not so great for trying to feel like an adult.
There are some good things that have happened since moving home. I have picked up a few old habits that are good for me, like eating my meals at a table and eating more salads. There are some habits that I’m trying not to pick up again, like watching TV right before going to bed and getting too lazy to go outside.
The tough bits
Living at home is great for family time, but there’s also the nagging that comes with it. I know they mean well, but a lot of the time it’s like a broken record. I’m sure you know what I mean…
If I won’t be home for dinner, I have to let my parents know. It’s not a big deal, but it does make me feel like I’m in high school again. Over time, I may start to get anti-social and closed off. I don’t like that. My perception of time also gets shifted and time just seems to slip away very quickly.
The other thing I have to deal with when living at home is the changes in moods (mine and my family’s). Being a small apartment, it’s easy to start stepping on each other toes. One of the things I hate is feeling like I’m being rushed, especially when it is unnecessary. I also hate feeling like I’m being scolded. The effect can build up over time and then affect my mood, productivity and general motivation.
The awesome bits
At the same time, there are also things that I wouldn’t be able to enjoy if I didn’t live at home (besides a healthier bank account). These include things like playing with my niece when she wakes up from her naps, watching Planet Earth II or Stranger Things with my family in the evenings, or eating all of the delicious food that my dad makes.
My older sister and brother-in-law haven’t moved into their new apartment yet, so my sister and her youngest (my niece) stay with us 3 nights a week. This is the best time to catch up for me since I haven’t been home much since she was born 1 year ago! They will probably move in next month, so I won’t be so lucky anymore.
It’s also been nice to be around my sisters again. Although we didn’t always get along growing up, we’ve gotten to know each other as adults in the last decade. It’s hard to find time to hang out together, but I hope we can get a few activities in this spring.
NYC is where it’s at
Being able to live in the best city in the world is well worth dealing with all the negatives of living out of my parents’ home. When I felt ready to end my trip, New York was what I was looking forward to. I’m working on dealing with them in the most effective ways. Part of that is looking to the future, which is why I’ve outlined some goals I will work towards over the rest of the year.
Goals for now
Get in shape
If there will be any time in my life where I can pretend I’m a semi-professional athlete, it is now. Without a job, and with loads of free time, I can focus on getting in shape for the ultimate (frisbee) season. Tryouts start in just a few short weeks, and I’ve been going to some group training sessions and to my local gym. Another perk of not paying rent is that I can kinda afford those things!
Get a job
Currently, I’m mainly looking for temporary part-time gigs while I look for a kickass job. Short term goals are to earn enough to pay for my trip to Singapore for my thesis defense (TBD), and my friend’s wedding in the United Kingdom (July 2017). Longer term goals are to earn enough to pay for activities around New York City, travel and other costs for the entire ultimate season (now through October), and monthly payments for training sessions and gym membership.
Plan my next trip!
Besides going back to Singapore for my thesis defense, and my friend’s wedding in the UK in July, I don’t have any trips planned this year. Potential next trip may be out to Colorado to see some friends (who I also met up with and went on safari in Sri Lanka). They are housesitting for the next few months, so it would be good to catch them before they go elsewhere!
Goals for later
Move out of my parent’s place
As much as I love my family and want to be near them, I am turning 32 soon and would like to have a place to call my own. I will figure out if I can do this after I figure out my job situation. Ideally, I’d be able to move in with friends, so I’ll have to keep an eye out for friends looking for roommates!
Mirrorless camera (aka compact system camera or CSC)
I know that on my travels I’ll never get myself to carry around a large DSLR camera, but I could maybe manage with a CSC. For one thing, I’m quite a small person so any added weight takes a toll on me over time, especially if I’m doing something like hiking up a hill. I am thinking I’ll wait until I get a full time job to take the leap, but maybe if my finances are looking good in a few months I’ll do it.
USAU National Ultimate Championships
Although I’ve been playing the sport for nearly 16 years, I’ve never attended the national championships. This year could be the year, seeing as I’m going to train like I’ve never done before (hopefully). I have been saying that I want to play women’s, but I’m also trying out for a few mixed teams.
Thinking about moving home?
It may not be for everyone. I know that I’m lucky to have parents that welcome me home and actually want me to live at home until I get married (because to Chinese parents, that is when you start your new life and become an adult). That may not be possible for everyone.
If it is a possibility for you, I encourage you to think through all the pros and cons. Think about short and long term goals and how this move might make those possible. It won’t be forever, and it may just be what you need at certain points in your life. (If you are trying to save up to travel, it might be a good decision that could boost your savings and bump up your travel dates.)
Are you living at home? What makes it great or difficult for you?