Once the decision to move was made over the summer, I knew I couldn’t re-sign my September 1st lease. I mean, I guess I could have, but I would have been screwing the other two guys in The Clubhouse over when I deuced on them mere months into the new lease. The decision was either sublet from randos for an unknown amount of time, or move back in with my parents in the ‘burbs. The decision for me was easier than your sister: move back home.
Why pay a shit load of money to live with complete wild cards when I could pay substantially less money, live in a big house that actually gets cleaned often, all while knowing exactly what I would be getting from my two new roommates? Plus, the chances of a murderous B&E seemed substantially less in the suburbs, and when you’re offered that kind of safety you gotta jump at the chance. Though my parents are prone to act like they’re in high school, I knew the house would be big enough for me to hide in if they ever drove me nuts.
Would it be weird moving back home after being on my own for three years? Absolutely. Like an astronaut about to be sent to drill a nuke into the center of an asteroid, was I even mentally fit enough for such a move? Could a man-child like me survive the climate of being back home? We were going to find out.
I really had no expectations as to how being back home would go. I remembered the summer after college and being acutely aware of the challenges of being hastily thrown back into captivity after running wild in college. That was fucking awful. I had no job, the Bruins were in the Stanley Cup finals, and I basically just stayed out to all hours of the morning crushing pitchers of beer watching hockey. I couldn’t wait to get the hell out of the house. But now, a few years added to the odometer, was moving back home going to “cramp my style” the same way it did when I was 22?
To add to the experience, upon moving back home, my parents made it abundantly clear to me that their mission for me while I was home was to “de-bro-gram” me. Now, I’m not saying I didn’t need to this. There is no doubt in my mind that my larger than life, loudest asshole in the room stereotype of man-child persona is real. The longer I went as a single guy in the city, the less refined I became. Spending ungodly amounts of hours posted up at a bar drinking beers, crushing nachos, and betting sports fundamentally changes some of your more refined qualities. There’s no arguing that.
But in my defense, my parents also had this picture of me in their brain most recently developed by my online persona, reading blogs about blacking out during the day, and it’s not like I blog about the nights where I stayed home on Friday nights with a lit candle, quaintly drinking Malbec and reading Jhumpa Lahiri novels. So even though it may have come across that way, I wasn’t a complete caricature.
Now, maybe subconsciously they put me through some sort of refinement program. Maybe they didn’t. Do I feel like I’ve changed much by being back home; like those lions that have been in captivity for years, did my basic instincts change? Maybe. I guess we’ll only find out when I re-enter the wild, thrown into a new concrete jungle to roam free in and explore. But what I definitely do know from being back home are some essential tips for being a twenty-something and surviving back home. And I also picked up on some helpful hints on how to be successful when you’re an adult by watching my parents.
Quick Tips For Surviving Back Home
Communicate – Remember when you could just kind of grunt in the direction of your parents every so often when they’d ask you something? You can’t do that anymore. Don’t be a dick; let them know what the hell is going on. Summer after graduation I remember going to drive into the city to smash cellulite with some girl and my mom asked where I was going. I said “to see Nunya….Nunya Business.” Yeah…don’t do that. And if you’re going to be sleeping somewhere else that night that is NOT your own bedroom, text them something as easy as “sleeping out” so when they wake up and see your car isn’t in the driveway, they don’t think you’re at the bottom of a ditch or behind bars.
Plan Ahead – Speaking of not sleeping at home, plan ahead. Not having the home field advantage is tough, so if you strike out trying to play a road game (sex, I’m talking about sex), and you’re rip roaring drunk, don’t drive home. And if you can’t stomach the uber expensive Uber, I don’t blame you. Just make sure you’ve got a buddy’s couch to sleep on. Plan ahead for it, though. If they say no, threaten to drive home drunk. That couch will be yours in a nanosecond.
Spend Wisely – If you’re back home, you’re going to be saving money. Duh. And sure, if you want to buy a little something for yourself, go ahead. You work hard, you deserve it. But don’t get too cavalier with your money. Just because you can afford to go down a few grand to your bookie doesn’t mean you need to bet every college basketball game. Trust me. Save that extra coin. Maybe up your 401k contribution or open up an extra savings account that you don’t touch. Save it for when you really need it, like when you need to buy a ring, or a wedding, or a kid. PS: bookie, if you’re reading this, enjoy that new Armani suit.
Don’t Change Your Routine – If you’ve got a routine, stick to it. Wednesday is trivia night? Don’t forget to go. Maintain a certain diet? Keep buying your own groceries and cooking those meals. Seriously, it can be easy to slip into a different routine if you’re back home. Try like mad to maintain what you were doing that was working for you when you were on your own.
Own It – I dreaded dating the last four months. So much so I barely did it. I get sweaty palms just thinking about telling a girl over dinner that I’m living back at home. I don’t know why, considering I’ve told the entire internet, but I guess there’s no possibility of sex with the entire internet. Don’t be like me. Just fucking own it. Be honest if it gets to the “my place or yours” part of the night and figure it out from there. But I’ll admit, being back home and dating go together like lamb and tuna fish. It’s a rough combo. Not that it was ever easy to get a girl’s number at the Coolidge Corner Trader Joe’s, but it’s that much more difficult when you’re in fact never actually IN the Coolidge Corner Trader Joe’s anymore.
Simple Lessons I Learned From My Parents
After observing my parents for the last several months, I’ve picked up some pointers on that thing we so facetiously call “adulting.” Here were three huge lessons that I’ll be taking with me to my life in the new city (or at least try to).
Know Where Every Cent Is Going – While I was home, my parents were going through the process of updating their Will & Trust, and I snuck a peak at their investments portfolio after they had gone to bed at the ungodly hour of 9:30. While I knew my parents were well off, I was still impressed. So it really struck me when I paid attention to how my parents – with all the money they had – still thought about and approached the subject of money. My dad every week sitting down and going through all the receipts and matching them to the credit card statements. My mom deliberating back and forth if she really should get that Barbour vest she could easily have afforded. How do you get to the point where you can set up a trust fund for your family? It’s by living like you’re poor, and knowing where every fucking cent is going. It’s pedantic, but being scrupulous is how you get to the top, brick by brick. Or I could just continue to flush money into NFL football parlays and hit it big time. Either way.
Be Diligent About Your Body – My parents, even in their fifties, are arguably in better shape than I am. They exercise every day. They hardly eat any meat. They snack on fruit and nuts. They rarely have more than a few drinks in any given night. My dad gets up at like 5 a.m. to work out. A lot of hard work goes into being healthy, and obviously we’re not idiots and we know that, but you can’t let yourself go. My grandfather comes over about once a week. He’s not even 83 yet and he’s having all kinds of health issues, and it’s probably because he didn’t take good enough care of himself when he was our age. You have to find the time to take care of your body, because you only get one. Honestly, I’d be terrified if my parents weren’t in good shape, constantly fearing that they would die young. If you want to stick around for a while, start taking care of your body at a young age and building those healthy habits. I’m sure your kids will thank you for it one day. Plus, healthcare is expensive AF.
Have Friends – Don’t be one of those couples that doesn’t have friends. My dad has his poker buddies; my mom has a Mah Jong group (maybe the most Jewish thing I’ve ever typed). But seriously, you’ll drive yourself bat shit insane if you let your friends go by the wayside the more invested you get into your relationship. Don’t be that couple that doesn’t have friends.
Reading back through this, it was kind of insightful, actually. Maybe I have been reprogrammed. Although I’ve still got a hole to crawl out of with my bookie. Who’s got winners for Christmas Day NBA?.