“Are you living back home, now?”
“No, I’m just staying there for the moment.”
I can not stop myself from distinguishing between “staying” and “living” in casual conversation. The words project from my mouth defensively erasing all confusion about my situation. Until some inquisitive fool asks the ultimate question, “Oh, how long are you staying?”
Damn it, friends and family, I have no idea.
I have no idea how long the job hunt will go on, how long it will be until I can get my ass in gear and get my own place. Is there a possibility I could be here for 6 months? Absolutely. Would I ever, I that time, unpack my suitcases and say that I’m “living” at my mother’s house? Not a chance.
The problem here is not a matter of embarrassment to live at home, nor do I have something against the suburbs in general or specifically the Golf Center of the World (as my hometown’s water towers proudly proclaim. Really.). Its not any of that. It is simply a matter of taking steps backwards. Of working hard to craft a life independent, a life without owing money or favors, a life in which you can do and be anything you choose – and then having to give it all back.
People “live” at home while they go to grad school, save for a condo, after a layoff, or divorce, because their perfect job doesn't provide enough support financially to make the move – because one part of their plan involves saving money for their next step. People also “live” at home because they have no interest in leaving, because they don’t have the experience or education to get a job that would afford them rent money, or because they are afraid. I don’t fit into either of these categories – I’m not an intelligent person who is utilizing the availability of a rent-free home space to get ahead. But I’m also not an almost-thirty who isn’t able/doesn’t want to have a life outside of the childhood home. I’m a person who quit her job in the midst of recession and now has to pay some pound-of-flesh price.
I am incredibly thankful of my mother’s generosity. I’m not just crashing in my own bedroom, and have full use of her car, but I also have a meal plan. I think she feels bad for me a little, knowing how happy it has always made me to pay for things on my own, to live in other cities, to know that no one is worrying about me screwing up. And, to be honest, the whole situation is my fault. I chose this path of unemployment and homelessness, but I guess I never imagined I would feel so helpless.
I can’t get over myself enough to “live” at my mom’s house for a while. I’ll just be “staying” here for the time being, an independent girl independently deciding to hang out at home for a spell.