There is nothing more terrifying than coming face-to-face with the real world after college. Suffocating student loans, an entry-level salary, and a pantry full of Ramen noodles? No, thank you. Living at home with your parents instead of getting your own just seems like the smart thing to do. You’ll save up some money, teach yourself to use a grill and then you’ll be on your way, right?
Well, sometimes we get stuck at home without even meaning to. It’s easy to avoid all those extra bills (especially rent) for as long as humanly possible when no one is kicking you out. So how do you know when it’s time to fly free?
1. Your Commute to Work Takes a Million Hours
When I lived with my roommate’s family after I graduated from college, my commute was two hours– each way. While this was an excellent short-term strategy, it burned me out big time. There is a better life, my friends. When you cut down your commute, you never miss out on happy hour.
2. You Love to Go Out
The best way to make your parents angry? Going out three or four nights a week. Our ancestors invented college just for this reason. After the age of 18, you should keep your social life and your family separate. It’s better for everyone.
3. The 12-Year-Old Neighbor Keeps Asking You to Play
Do I even need to explain this one?
4. You’re Still Rocking a Lizzie McGuire Bedspread
You haven’t redecorated your room since middle school– why start now? If your walls are still covered with photos of Justin Bieber, it’s time to go.
5. Bringing Your Significant Other Home is Awkward
Dating is just one giant mess when you live at home. What happens when your date wants to come home with you? Or what if your boyfriend falls asleep on the couch during a “Lord of the Rings” marathon? Should anyone over the age of 21 have to ask these questions?
6. You Still Have to be Home By Curfew
The thing your parents try not to tell you after you head off to college? They still worry about you. When they know you’re out, they want to make sure you get home in one piece. That can sometimes mean requesting you come home before they go to sleep. It’s easy to get angry at them when they treat you like you’re 17, but it’s sort of tough to blame them.
7. You Still Don’t Know How to do Your Own Laundry
Giving this perk up is tough, but as an adult, it’s pretty vital that you do your own laundry. You do have to learn how to remove your own spaghetti stains at some point, my friends.
8. They Wake You Up to Rake the Lawn
The No. 1 perk of apartment living: No yard work. We’re just saying.
9. You Find Yourself Playing Sudoku on Friday Nights
Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for a good game of Sudoku– until it’s the highlight of my week. Living at home can remove you from your friends (and a normal social life). While there’s nothing wrong with a quiet night in, isolation can get depressing.
10. Even Your Cat Takes Pity on You
That judgmental sideways glance he gives you as he steps over your lap? It’s not just you.
11. You’re Really, Really Tired of Meatloaf
There’s nothing better than home-cooked food— for a few months, that is. After that, the monotony of the same family meals over and over again can get a little old. There’s something so gratifying about making your own meals and trying new things.
12. You’re Older Than 30
When your friends are moving back to raise their own children, it’s time.
13. Your Younger Sister Doesn’t Even Live at Home
Your younger siblings will make fun of you if you’re still at home when they leave the nest. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
14. You Still Run Into Your First Grade Teacher
Running into grade school teachers is heartwarming– until it happens every weekend at the gym.
15. Your Mom Keeps Offering to Help You Move Out
When even your parents are ready, you can’t wait any longer.
So yes, you have to give up free food and expensive wine when you move out of your parents’ place, but you’ll gain so much freedom. Staying home was smart at first, but your life is out there waiting for you. It might be time to go begin it.