While it’s not good for man to live alone, it’s even worse for him to live at home with his parents.
A recent Pew Research poll reveals that though employment is up, the number of millennials living on their own is down. This failure to launch reflects a widespread cultural regression. By returning home after graduation, this generation’s doing more than just perpetuating adolescence. We’re losing at life.
There might be more room for activities at your parent’s house but there’s little room for personal growth. And if being determines consciousness, then you’ll bring your future down with you when you move back into the basement. It’s time to grow up. It’s time to move out.
We Should Love Our Parents Enough Never To Move Back In With Them
Sure, student loans suck. More than our parents, we’ve had to grapple with unrealistic dreams built on unsteady mountains of student debt. But there’s a place you can go when you’re down on your luck and low on your dough. It’s called the YMCA.
If that sounds harsh, imagine asking your old man if you can live in your old room. By moving home, you could save some cash but only at the cost of your character.
Our parents might love us but they don’t like us that much. And they shouldn’t. In civil society, the family exists to foster maturity and prepare offspring for eventual adulthood not perpetual childhood. Taxing their generosity robs them of the investment of their lifetime. Every mother and father wants to provide their kid with a better and brighter future. After two decades of sacrifice—whether they’ll admit it or not—they want a son with a career, not an overgrown boy with a neckbeard. We ought to actualize the potential they’ve poured into us. We should become adults they’re proud of.
Yea Bro, Living at Home Isn’t Cool
Whatever you do though, don’t kid yourself. Living at home is anything but cool and everyone knows it. “Hey girl, want to come back to my parent’s place?” is a line that even Ryan Gosling couldn’t pull off. Winston Churchill once observed that the spaces we occupy end up shaping us. At 22, our mother’s house is turning us back into children. Like continence, literacy, and a job, a place of your own stands as a general benchmark of responsibility. Go find one.
Cutting a rent check is the first big step toward self-reliance. Millennials don’t have to blaze trails, brave the wilderness, or build cabins to make it in the real world. We just need to scout Craigslist for a place, set up direct deposit, and maybe lower our expectations. That first apartment won’t be ideal but it’ll be necessary. More than a roof, it represents an investment in the future.
Tough finances are a burden but they don’t have to be a permanent roadblock. If you’re drowning in student debt and rent breaks the budget, find a roommate, sublease, or couch surf. Do whatever it takes, because to make it in America, you have to make it out of your mom’s house first.
Get Ahead By Betting On Yourself
None of this should discount the difficulty of leaving home. Lord knows my living situation is hardly on fleek. The place exudes a kind of refugee camp chic with makeshift bookshelves made out of milk crates, scrounged furniture, and a few cheap Ikea pieces. Food and clothing present their own challenges. Since graduation a few months ago, I’ve bleached colors and burnt minute-rice; I’ve shrunk clothes and set grease fires. It’s been rough, unpleasant, and always worth it.
Coming and going each day reminds me that I’m on my own. It’s not a great feat. An apartment’s just the most approachable manifestation of day-in and day-out maturity. Stupid or smart decisions determine whether the rent gets paid or if the lease is lost. If disaster strikes, no one’s coming to the rescue. The world won’t pause for me to get back on. And those four walls remind me, that for better or worse, I’m an adult and that each day my mundane adventure is trying to live like one.
I wouldn’t have it any other way. A cheap apartment produces perseverance; soggy ramen noodles, character; and an on time rent check, hope—hope that I can build an adult life. The goal is simple. You want your dad to say, “That’s my boy. He’s got a place of his own.”
As a generation, we can live at home and languish or we can move out and make our on way. It’s time we take a risk. It’s time we bet on ourselves. If we don’t, no one else will.
Philip Wegmann is a Staff Writer and the Radio Producer for The Federalist. Follow him on Twitter.