Let’s rewind time to when you were, say 16-17. You might have planned to stay out past your curfew one Friday night or go somewhere with questionable friends that your parents never warmed up to. Some voices were raised, maybe you were threatened with being grounded or had the car taken away from you. And as you stomped to your room, and a few may have even dared to slam the door to create a more dramatic effect, one phrase came to mind every time. “I can’t wait to move out of my parent’s house!”
I remember when that 10 word sentence became my catch phrase during my senior year of high school. I imagined the lavish life I would live once I was on my own, free to make my own rules. I dreamed of all the nights I would casually stroll into my apartment at random hours of the night, the gallons of ice cream I’d openly display in my freezer on nights I’d cuddle up on the couch to watch movies until the sun light was beginning to spill into my window, the clothes that would lay wherever they fell comfortably in my walk-in closet. I was going to be living the life the day I moved out of my parents’ house.
I got a little taste of this “life” my freshman year of college when I decided to dorm. The adjustment was about as easy as AP chemistry and I was sure I was doomed to confide in the same four bedroom walls I had grown up in for nine years. I wasn’t getting along as well as I had hoped with my roommates, I never felt not homesick, and I missed my boyfriend at the time so much that I talked to him all hours of the day longing for the next time we would see each other. Over time, I’d say I adapted slower than others but better late than never. I ditched the boy from back home to help start my new life, I made more friends outside of my dorm room, hell, I even spent several hours a week at the library. Slowly things were coming together, especially when I moved into a new room with only one other roommate. Sure she was a bit out there but that is apparently exactly what I needed. With her came more parties, more friends, more fun but on the downside I also received more bad habits, more drama, and more weight. It became clear to me that the whole “grown up Bri” needed to find a bit of balance especially when the first semester grades started rolling in and the clothes had to be taken out.
The month of winter break back at my parent’s house was heaven. It was then that I questioned why I ever wanted to leave- I had home cooked meals, someone to wash my laundry (for free!) and no drama! That joy lasted until around New Years when I missed the parties, the people, and dare I say- the freedom. Sure my parents were great after not seeing them for a few months. that was until the rules started returning. The curfew- which to me was completely ridiculous since I was beyond my junior license phase, the arguments, the need to be free from the same four walls. Six weeks passed, and I was back to living kinda on my own. My roommate and I made a plan to workout, study harder, and just be better people. For the most part we were sort of successful. Again, the grades rolled in and to say we both forgot our goals is an understatement.
Then it was time for the real hard work to begin- moving back in with my parents FOR THREE MONTHS. I knew that it would be better due to the fact that I was biologically older, claimed to be wiser, and unfortunately working. I started running, working, reading, and trying. Trying to be a more mature daughter to show my parents that living on my own for a few months really did change me. Unfortunately, due to my lack of a social life, confiding to the same four walls everyday after working eight hours made me a bit of a grouch. The desire to be back at school was growing rapidly and by the end of June, I was ready to start packing.
Clearly my intentions changed when I decided to live on my own… on the other side of the country. Not only is it nothing I imagined, it does not compare to ‘living on my own in a dorm’ – to say the least. I mostly roam around my apartment complex, lounge by the pool, spend a few hours at the gym waiting for those day dreams to come alive. As for roaming in odd hours of the night – I’m usually in bed before 11. Due to living with all healthy military persons introducing me to a new healthy lifestyle – there is no ice cream in the fridge. Not even fro-yo. And lastly, I have learned that when living with a male the floor is the last place you want any of your clothes to be. I lucked out on the walk in closet but I’m still coming around to putting all my clothes away right after I take them out of the dryer.
On the bright side, living without the parents has some ups. I’ve adopted a sailors mouth (sorry mom, you can thank my roommates) so watching what I say is rarely an issue. I also have the power of buying food I actually like and although it’s not the ice cream and ramen I imagined, it’s nice knowing my broccoli will be uneaten in the fridge, right where I left it. And I’ll enjoy that broccoli at eight o’clock at night when I’m procrastinating about doing laundry. To be honest I wasn’t even introduced into the world of procrastinating until I was introduced into the world of adulthood so it’s only fair. I’m just that girl who likes to get her broccoli and eat it too.
But on a more serious note, living without my parents in California is totally different from living in a dorm with my parents only being thirty-six minutes away. Yes I miss them and sometimes I miss hanging out with those four walls that have seen me go through this crazy transitional phase but I mean, they were the ones that prepared me for this. My parents were always my metaphorical four walls that helped me establish a structure and a sense of independence. I mean that literally, I didn’t have a bedroom door for some time so I was free to enter and exit as freely as I wanted plus at home I never had to share a bedroom (pros of being the only girl) But that’s aside the point.
All those days and nights I screamed of wanting to be free from my parents house, all those times I slammed doors and buried my face in a pillow, those times would’ve never prepared me for this. Looking back now, they definitely make me grateful. I wouldn’t be where I am now, if it wasn’t for where I was then.
So if you’re reading this while living at home with your parents, and you’re still screaming for your inevitable freedom, just remember that everything is not what it seems. And wanting to load your freezer up with ice cream isn’t even realistic cause let’s face it- you’re probably going to be broke and willing to do some crazy things to trade that bowl of ramen for something your mom or dad made instead. Plus I also discovered that there was a reason your mom always warned you against that second helping of dessert. It’s easier to get fat after you’ve left the nest, tempting worms are everywhere.
And if you’re reading this post mental parental break downs, maybe call your parents and thank them for helping you decorate your four walls. Maybe even reflect a sec and thank yourself for making it through those times when you were sure you were going to lose it if you didn’t get out of that house. And smile about the times you were homesick and thought, “I shouldn’t be sad, this is what I wanted. This is what I was waiting for.” Cause no matter where you go, those same four walls stand tall, silently replaying all the memories- from first kisses, to prom, to all the heart breaks. I know I’ll always be grateful that my four walls are silent cause it would definitely be embarrassing if they could recall all those Friday nights I spent dancing around alone like a crazy lady with my headphones in. No matter what, I’m still pretty grateful for those four walls in that big red house that will always be my home no matter where I hand my hat.
As for which is better, well who am I to say. I’m just beginning my parental-free living. How’s it going for you though?
Until next time,