[Guest post by Diana Palka] – There’s really no glamorous way to come to terms with moving back home with parents.
It’s not that it’s a wretchedly horrific concept–in fact, I didn’t think much of it until I was here. But once the excitement of graduation fizzled away and I settled into a non-academia life for the first time in 22 years, it hit me.
All of the sudden, there was this abrupt realization that I’d entered the front end of a cumbersome transition from a built-in community to a community-less environment.
It’s a transition that no one talks about.
Without anticipation, life was a little lonely. Instead of spending nights in the living room of my apartment with roommates and an intense game of Catch Phrase, they were spent alone in my childhood bedroom. A 10 by 10 bungalow on the second floor of my parents’ home.
Instead of falling asleep on the couch with The Bachelor blaring in the background and my roommates’ boyfriends sneaking in and out of our perpetually cracked-open door, I slept nestled underneath a down comforter in a twin-bed that’s not quite long enough for my 5’11” frame.
A majority of my high school friends had either moved to new cities or stayed in the same cities where they’d attended college.
Gone were the random slip and slides on the quad. Gone were the free movie and bowling nights at the theater slash bowling alley slash arcade in the smallest rural town in the state of South Carolina. There were no more late-night rendezvous to star-gaze on the practice soccer field. No more mattress surfing or impromptu “Real Men of Genius” contests on the lawn beside the lake.
All of it was different.
Now don’t get me wrong, my relationship with my parents is wonderful. They’re the type of parents who have been involved in my life and my interests for as long as I can remember. Their support of me, my sisters and our decisions was and is made obvious through their continual love and encouragement. Bar none.
Moving back home was an adjustment and I had to re-learn how to “live together” with my parents.
It meant being courteous enough to answer my mom’s text and say, “No, I won’t be home for dinner tonight.” It meant pitching in and doing the dishes–even if I didn’t dirty them. It meant calling my dad on the way home from work and asking, “Do you need anything from the store?”
As humans, we hate adjustments and we hate change– even the jingling kind. We don’t like being uncomfortable and we don’t like when our normal is interrupted, flip-flopped or altogether rearranged. It’s awkward and it’s inconvenient.
But it’s in these moments of life–irritation that we are stretched and pulled and tested. It’s in these moments of gross discomfort that we are growing–even if it feels like we took a giant step back toward being high-school versions of ourselves.
Change propels us toward the person we were created to become.
And “becoming” is a process.
It’s a perpetual and, at times, redundant but in the end – it’s so good.
The fact of the matter is that in May 2011, I wasn’t ready to live on my own. (The real kind of living on my own – not the college kind.) I wasn’t ready to pay rent, make sure the doors were locked before I went to bed or remember to buy toilet paper because I ran out–again.
Moving back home with my parents was a necessary stepping stone in the path to being ready.
Moving back to a place that was vacant of the rich-community I’d grown so accustomed to in college really forced me to step outside of my comfort zone.
I had to look for community–because community wasn’t looking for me.
I had to make it happen.
I had to pray–and I had to be intentional about fostering quality relationships.
(If I didn’t, I’d be an island).
And now – as I prepare to move to a new city on my own – I can finally say (with only a little bit of healthy hesitation) I’m ready!
Diana Palka is a Long Island-based writer, runner, lover of words and life-long learner. She has a passion for brave vulnerability that exposes the ugliest of impurities in the light of His perfecting grace. You can read more of her writing on her blog, On The Heights or at the Good Men Project where she serves as the Associate Editor for Education, Humor and Gender.
[Photo: Robert S. Donovan, Creative Commons]