Some thoughts on being a 23 year old still hogging the nest

02Feb10

I was coming home in the car tonight from work, mum was driving as it is her car, and I thought to myself, ‘my mother is driving me home’. Not only was she driving me home but she was driving me back to the home we share with my brothers, father and cat, and then she would put on dinner and make sure nobody was making any noise after 11pm because my youngest brother is still at school.

I am 23 and I live at home with my parents. I did not expect my 23 year old self to still be living this way.

In all honesty, I don’t know what I expected. A flatshare with friends in London maybe? A window box and a wall hanging from Thailand in an open-plan bedsit I could call my own? A cosy one-bedroom for me and my boyfriend near the bus stop?

I have none of that. I am 23, living at home. Like so many others my age and older.

When I first realised I had to move back home with my parents I was still studying at Salford University and I was actually on the internet after a day of serious flat-hunting with somebody. I jumped the moat of denial, logged onto my bank website and swallowed down the fact that even if I got a job tomorrow I would never be able to pay my way. I called home that night.

I have been back, after living in my little student bedsit in Salford for a year, for seven months. At first it was a welcome vacation but now it is practically a joke. I feel  like the eldest child in the sand pit who has been made to sit there to look after a smaller child and feels really daft. I think it is the feeling of having outgrown something, of having already made the leap and then being reined back in to the pen after having a gallop in the real world.

Had my parents not downsized when I went to study my undergraduate degree, things would have been marginally better. Using their optimistic foresight, my parents moved out of the four-bedroom family home into a two-bedroom bungalow with the intention of extending two extra box rooms and furnishing it for three plus guests. Sadly this meant my parents sleeping in the living room for a year and (when I visited home and for an entire summer) my lodgings being no more than a bunk bed I shared with my youngest brother (other brother doing GCSEs so had own room).

Now, thank Christ, I have my own bedroom however it was designed to be a weekend room slash storage room. Space is limited, walls are thin and bed time is dictated. The only thing missing is a blazer, really.

Sob-story aside, this is a very real issue.  Although I work, it makes more sense for me to be at home even though it is a crippling blow to one’s social, love and independent life. Living away from home would mean higher rent, travel expenses I would struggle with and possibly a flatshare with somebody awful. Home is here, warm, there is always food, the rent is cheap and mum works near my office so I hitch a ride. Right now, I have enough money in the bank for train fares, the odd new work top and to top up my phone. Having recently not been able to afford any of those things, why would I rush away to bean counting after having to do that for five years?

Even while job hunting, my applications were often rejected because my home address was too far away from the job itself – even Manchester jobs cited that as a reason. So if it came to it, would I have to live here in the rural arse of England forever because it is the only place that HR departments think I am local to? Am I destined to live with or near my parents for the rest of my life? Are we going to be one of those weird families who all live on the same road like Gwen and Uncle Bryn? Works for them, I suppose…

My parents want us all to find independence but right now, if it means the load is a bit lighter because I help my brother with his homework, do the ironing in front of Come Dine with Me every Sunday and go out to do the shop plus bring in X amount each month then it isn’t all bad for them either.

But the stagnation of it starts to affect you and right now I’d rather be a church mouse than one in the glass tank at the pet shop. In the cold light of day, however, the depressing list of pros and cons lurches back into view and I come to my senses.

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One Response to “Some thoughts on being a 23 year old still hogging the nest”

  1. 1 Heather

    It does sound like an issue, but if your parents are okay, then you shouldn’t beat yourself up over it.

    If living at home means you can save money to move out to a place that isn’t infested with cockroaches or with a frightening flatmate, there is nothing too shameful in that. You are trying and working toward that goal.. the alternative is that you’re just sitting at home not doing anything and waiting for money to fall out of the sky.

    I find you to be a lot more respectable than the people that live in a nice apartment… but have their parents pay for all of it.


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