The Twenty-Something Struggles: Living At Home

Contributed by Devynn Maclure

Your Twenties: The time of tiny apartments and cupboards laden with ramen noodles and obscure brands of peanut butter. In American society, the idea of establishing independence as soon as you turn eighteen has become a dauntingly common expectation for millennials. We’re expected to finish high school, move out, go to college and magically find enough time to earn a livable income with only a diploma or GED, all while only visiting the parents on weekends or major holidays. Easy enough, right? I wish.

According to the Pew Research Center, 32.1% of American millennials are rocking that at-home vibe, a number that hasn’t been this high in 130 years. Not exclusively due to laziness, a conclusion many will jump to in regards to my beautiful generation, the matter simply comes down to two major factors: Real-life preparedness and good ol’ money.

Thinking back to the lead up to my big move into adulthood, I was hardly prepared to be an independent member of society. Lost in the world of college applications, AP Calculus and standardized tests, I had no time to think about credit or taxes or the fact that toilet paper costs money. Many millennials share this sentiment and have come to a profound realization: We are taught how to be good students, but not how to be decent adults. So sure, mock us when we burn boiling water or ask what a W2 form is; but understand that when it comes to filling in little test ovals, we will always come out on top.

Moving out into the real world has become a much trickier endeavor with the cost of living going up and college tuition doubling since our parents’ were in school. I would know; I tried it and totally bombed out there. So, just like the 50% of twenty-somethings who move back home (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics), I “boomeranged” after three semesters and found myself back in my childhood digs, now with $18,000 worth of student loans on my back and a looming feeling of failure that I just couldn’t shake.

Two years have passed since I re-occupied my pink and purple bedroom, and I’ve finally come to accept and embrace my situation. Moving back home for a little bit doesn’t make you a loser or a failure; it makes you a person who needs a little extra support before setting out on your own, be it due to financial trouble, mental illness, or just feeling kind of lost. 

As long as it’s alright with your parents and you’re going to school, working or being a productive member of your household, you shouldn’t feel like you aren’t living really living out your twenties. Setbacks are an inevitable part of life, and sometimes we wind up where we least expect it. But if you can roll with life’s curve balls for just a little while and learn a thing or two from them, I can guarantee there will be better days ahead.