A reader writes:
The answer to that question obviously depends on your situation, but for those who lived on their own and had to move home because of economic necessity, the answer is probably yes. It’s not that being at home is miserable per se. It’s that after all those years spent learning and growing up, it feels like you couldn’t make "being-an-adult" stick.
And so I take issue with a passage from the Pew Study that Talbot quotes: "If there’s supposed to be a stigma attached to living with mom and dad through one’s late twenties or early thirties, today’s ‘boomerang generation’ didn’t get that memo." The hell we didn’t.
I’ve heard too many conversations in hushed tones about so-and-so’s moving home to believe that. The Pew Institute’s study can’t even persuasively support its own inference, because this isn’t just a question of behavior, but of attitude. Ask the 12% of adults aged 25 to 34 who are currently living at home whether or not they feel stigmatized. Or better yet, to capture the attitudes of those who may’ve been deterred from moving home by stigma, poll a general sample of 25 to 34 year olds and see what they say. I think you’d find young adults much less okay with the "boomerang" phenomenon than Pew or Talbot would have you believe.
I am a 23-year-old recent college grad who went home for a year to live while looking for a job. I found work about a year ago and moved out of my parents' house. However, I had no qualms about returning home while looking for employment, and looking back on it I actually quite enjoyed the time under my parent's roof. After living in a typical "college house" for years, it was nice to live somewhere that was clean and spacious. Home cooked meals many nights, or eating out on the parent's tab was the usual. They charged me no rent, regularly offered to fill up my gas tank, and were genuinely glad to have me home while at the same time hoping I would find job prospects as soon as I could – for my benefit more than theirs.
But for many of my friends who also went home, they did not enjoy the experience. And here is the difference: they are oldest/older children in their family and returned to choatic, busy houses that still were full of rules and restrictions. I went home as a youngest child to empty-nesters nearing retirement and doing their own thing. They enjoyed having me around to do things with them. They enjoyed my perspective as a 20-year old entering a more unforgiving world. My mother and I would have long discussions on life, morals, religion, my generation, etc. As a man who came out to my mother in college, it was good to spend a year with her to ease her fears of me entering the real world and for her to experience a me living outside the bound of the closet, as the true me.
So going home for a year was probably the best thing for me. It gave me time to recharge, reflect, and gain perspective for the future. It brought me closer to my parents and we got to enjoy each other's company as adults, more free of the parent/child dynamic. And of course, it allowed me to save money which has made my transition into the working world much smoother.