3 Editors On Why It Works for Them

There are a few common threads that connect us three editors: wondering if we’re truly “Gen Z,” the urge to share funny TikToks with one another, and still living at home in our mid-twenties.

Whether we’re preparing to move out or planning on sticking around, living at home has fortified and challenged our lives in ways we never expected. Our different-yet-shared experiences ring true for many adults our age and younger, who are just in between their next big steps and holding on to the last of childhood.

Below, we chronicle our experiences living at home in our mid-twenties and how they’ve impacted what home really means to us.

Mia: How I Find Independence While Still Sleeping in My Childhood Bedroom

Mia Ingui

Growing up, I never had a TV in my bedroom. Though my 13-year-old self would’ve loved to stay up late watching the latest Girl Code on MTV, my parents hoped no TV would force my sister and me to spend time downstairs on the couch with them instead—and it did. We spent many nights binging past episodes of Big Brother and judging which house they’d select on House Hunters (notice how they never go for #1?) 

Family TV nights have since evolved as we grew older. Now, at 25, I find myself seated alongside my parents, teetering off the edge of my couch after squeezing in my fiancé, as we all co-watch the end of Wheel of Fortune every other night. 

There are certainly growing pains of still living at home at 25, but children living at home later into their 20s seems almost common, especially after the pandemic.

My big Italian family would keep me home forever if they could (it’s a blessing and a curse), and there was no pressure for me to move out after graduation. Mix that traditionalist culture with missed years and opportunities due to the lockdown, and the result is balancing fierce independence while still living in my childhood bedroom. 

I’m incredibly grateful for the closeness, for the chaos, for the laughs and cries, for living with my family these formative adult years of my life.

When the pandemic struck, I just turned 21. The world was supposed to be my oyster, but rather, I was stuck at home with my family. This period of nearly two years was filled with loss, but I also gained so much being in such proximity to my family. 

We repainted my whole house, and my mom taught me how to avoid dripping paint from the roller onto the floor. I gardened alongside my dad, too—as we yanked weeds from the overgrown beds and prepped the soil for planting, I fell in love. I knew that I would ultimately become the one to run this crop corner from now on, and since then, I’ve kept our mini farmer’s market running smoothly flying solo. Dad just supervises. 

Living at home does come with challenges. I was lucky enough to fall in love (not just with dirt) a few years ago, and somehow, I’m now planning a wedding and a future and dog names and kitchen cabinet paint colors with someone who fills my heart.

But our future plans has definitely made it more difficult for us to still be living in our respective family homes. Though the separation is challenging, we are valuing this last year living with our families and have chosen to make the most of it. 

There are so many wonders of living with my family that I’ll miss—the noisy Sunday chicken cutlet dinners, the Trader Joe’s runs with Mom, the random repairs my dad seems to always need help with, the Christmas cookies and Black Friday shopping and Easter egg dye stains on the tablecloth.

I’m incredibly grateful for the closeness, for the chaos, for the laughs and cries, for living with my family these formative adult years of my life. They’ve taught me everything I know about life, finances, love, happiness, and fortitude. I’m always going to hold a piece of them in my future home.

Aliyah: Choosing to Live At Home to Prepare for the Next Stage of Life

Aliyah Rodriguez

Growing up, I was all too familiar with my mom telling me that I could abide by my own rules once I got my own place to live—until then it was her house, her rules. You can imagine the strain this might have caused in my teenage years, but by the time college decisions came around, I had a choice to make: live on campus “on my own” and find independence or stay at home and commute.

I chose the latter for financial reasons, and it’s a decision that I don’t regret making. As a first-generation college graduate, I wanted my mom—who did not go to college—to be able to experience college with me in whatever little ways she could. It was during this time that it really dawned on me that my mom is just a person figuring out her way too—and, most importantly, that we could figure out our way together.

I’m not saying that living at home at 24 is easy, it’s definitely not, but over the years, my mother has turned into more of a friend than a parent, and I’m really grateful for that—it gives me the space to learn, make mistakes, and find my own way without the fear of parental judgment. Living at home with my mother for this time has taught me many things—just like I’m sure it’s taught her some things—about the home, who I am, and everything in between. 

One of the major things “becoming an adult” around my mother has taught me is the art of making a home.

I will always be grateful for my decision to not rush into adulthood and stay at home just a little bit longer.

She cooks, she cleans, she’s great with family, and she’s got a special talent for being the glue that keeps us all together—all the things that I would have had to learn the hard way if not for her. 

Learning these things also made me realize where I can step up, so over the years I’ve learned how to make home repairs, talk to our landlords, and manage family finances—all things that I’ve taught her along the way myself. 

If not for living at home this long, I wouldn’t have been able to learn these things safely and comfortably without fear of making mistakes (because, let’s be honest, that fear is enough to stop us from doing many things). It’s provided me with tools that will be invaluable during my upcoming stage of life: moving out. 

The decision to move out wasn’t an easy one. I could see myself happily living at home for another 3 or more years, but I’m just at a phase of my life where I want to see what I can handle on my own and am ready to take the risk—and I wouldn’t be here if not for her support.

The past few years have given me all the tools I need to succeed and have left me with such a profound appreciation for my mother and all that she is. I will always be grateful for my decision to not rush into adulthood and stay at home just a little bit longer, and I’m really excited for what comes next. 

Jane: Finding Myself and Creating New Traditions

Jane Kim

My childhood home was my safe haven for my whole life—it was truly all I knew.

It stood strongly at two stories high with red bricks on top of one another and white casings around the front and back. Our gardens were always overflowing with my family’s favorite flowers: a small cherry blossom tree (that never grew past 3 feet, but was charming nevertheless), rose bushes, and various hydrangeas. It was filled to the brim with all my core childhood memories of summer barbecues, late-night stargazing on the deck, and laughter that can be heard from houses down the street.

As I was approaching my senior year of college and began to plan out what adulthood would look like for me after I graduated, it only made sense to center every possible journey I could embark on around my forever home.

I imagined how my morning commute to the city would be on the Long Island Railroad and which bagel stores I would alternate for an easy pick-me-up. I was excited to keep the old parts of me and, simultaneously, welcome adulthood with open arms, ready for some change and growth.

However, all those possibilities and stability seemed to vanish when my parents broke the news that they were going to sell the house. I had a multitude of emotions surge through me: anger, sadness, confusion, and heartbreak. My childhood home was the only thing that felt stable in the midst of everything: the pandemic and the chaotic aftermath of graduating college.

A huge burden felt like it was loaded onto my shoulders while I had to navigate through the next unknown chapter of my life. As more boxes were piling up in the hallways, I felt like parts of my identity were slipping away and being packed up along with the boxes.

Jane Kim

I decided to continue living with my parents and move with them to New Jersey. Our new, temporary place was an apartment that was a quarter of the size of my old home, and it felt bleak the moment I walked through the front door. It lacked character, color, and, most importantly, any memories that reminded me of who I was. I wasn’t quite sure where and how to start.

As I began unpacking boxes for a couple of weeks and redesigning my new room, I began to finally fall into a routine that felt good to me. During the day, I would drive around to explore new neighborhoods and try various cafes and restaurants, and during the night, my parents and I would share our days over dinner.

Over time, it became more apparent how much I needed this move to grow into a new version of myself that didn’t rely on old traditions, places, and things.

Living with my parents has come with its own challenges, but we’ve become closer ever than before, which I’m beyond thankful for. As a child, we didn’t get to spend much time together because they were busy making a living for my siblings and me. Having late-night talks and running casual errands together on a daily basis has easily become my new favorite tradition.

Over time, it became more apparent how much I needed this move to grow into a new version of myself that didn’t rely on old traditions, places, and things.

They’ve helped ground me whenever I get lost thinking about the future or remind me of my core values. They’ve truly been my rock since beginning this new chapter of my life, and I look forward to continuing to create new memories with them in this quaint place I now call home.

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