At the age of 28, I've had to move back in with my parents. Life as a millennial is hard, but I'm looking on the bright side
After enjoying the independence and freedom of living away from home, I've just moved back to my parents' house. Why? Because I'm a millennial and I can't afford to be independent anymore.
No, I'm not spending my salary on smashed avocado on toast. I don't buy takeaway coffees every day (if ever) and I can't remember the last time I had a big night out on the town.
Every cent I earn goes towards the essentials. Food, transport, somewhere to live, insurance, bills... the list goes on. Unfortunately, money was tight and something had to give.
"Hey, mam and dad? Would it be okay if I came home?"
Sense of worth
The move has certainly impacted my sense of self-worth, not to mention my quality of life.
I'm in my late-20s and I still rely on 'mammy and daddy' to survive. I'm not ungrateful, by the way (more on that later), but it is embarrassing.
While moving my clothes from A to B in a wheelie suitcase, so many people asked if I was "going somewhere nice on holiday". When I said 'no' and filled them in on what I was actually doing, they gave me a sympathetic grimace in return. Remember in Friends, when Richard got divorced and everyone gave him the sympathetic head tilt?
Like him, I've found myself doing the 'I'm okay' head bob.
But... am I okay?
My morning commute has just gone from 10 minutes to two hours (goodbye, short 46A journey and hello, lengthy 39A-and-train combo). It also takes two hours for me to get home in the evenings, and by the time I have dinner and play fetch with the dog, it's time for bed.
It's early days yet, but I am nervous about my quality of life. There'll be no late dinners with friends, nor midweek cinema dates with the other half. It'll just be Coronation Street, (maybe EastEnders) then bedtime.
What's more, I expect to get sick fairly soon. When I last commuted like this, I found myself constantly picking up colds and chest infections. Prolonged periods with sneezy people on public transport means germs – and lots of them.
Still, it could be worse. At least I have a warm, loving home to go to, right?
Trying to look on the bright side
I know some people don't have the option to move home, so I won't take it for granted. I'm beyond appreciative to my parents for agreeing to take me in rent-free – I'm lucky and I know that.
It also gives me some comfort to know I'm not alone in this. According to the census of 2016, almost 460,000 Irish adults are living at home with their parents. It's like I've joined some sort of 'I need my parents' club.
In an effort to make this experience a positive one, I have committed myself to 'self-improvement'. Not only will I listen to more podcasts and audiobooks while on-the-go, but I'm also going to take time out for mindfulness.
What's more, I'm finally going to learn how to drive and save my would-be rent money for an electric (or hybrid) car. That way, I feel I'm being somewhat productive and doing my bit for the environment too.
This is a new, unpredictable chapter for me (and my parents) – we can only hope that it's going to be a good one.
Photo: Erda Estremera on Unsplash
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