30 Oct

Earlier this week my mom mentioned that I’ve been living back home for exactly one month now. Boy time has flown! But who’s counting? Then she asked, “how’s it going?” I actually get that question quite a bit from co-workers, friends, my boyfriend – as if they assume it wouldn’t be going well. I think most people just can’t imagine being under their parent’s microscope again. But much to everyone’s surprise I’m actually really enjoying living back home. And I don’t feel like I’m under a microscope at all – my parents treat me like an equal adult and allow me to live my own life. So today I’m here to set the record straight and share my thoughts about why my recent move back to the nest has been a positive one.

When I made the decision to move back home after my lease with two roommates in Greenlake was up, I wasn’t thrilled. I had been on my own and out of the house for most of college and for three years following, so never in a million years did I think this would be the path I’d take. But I knew it was the right choice (and even the responsible one) for me at the time. I can hear the critics saying “moving home isn’t responsible, you must not be budgeting well” or “your parents supported you your entire life, grow up and just live somewhere cheaper.” Well, there were many other factors that played into my decision besides just saving on rent.

Living with roommates is tough.

Especially roommates that are your good friends. (no offense to any of my old roomies that may be reading this – love you all – but we all know it wasn’t always easy as pie!) If conflicts arise, the overall friendship is strained. And it takes a while to rebuild what you had. I think almost everyone probably has a few good roommate stories to tell. To be able to afford to live somewhere I was comfortable (fairly clean and safe, nearby transit access for my commute, within 15 minutes or so to my gym and the grocery store, among other basic amenities – I’m not asking a whole lot here), the only choice I had was to live with roommates.

According to an article published last month on the Seattle PI’s Seattle Real Estate News blog, the average price of apartment housing in the greater Seattle-area has continued to rise (up 5% from this time last year) and now sits at $1,165 due to increased rental demand (more people are renting over buying these days). So like I said earlier, living with roommates has been the only option at my current salary. (Interesting side note – the Times published a story on Friday arguing that we 20-somethings are the answer to rebounding the housing market – I so wish I could buy!)

After experiencing about 10 moves since the age of 18 and nearly 15 different roommates, I found myself at a stage where living with others was no longer that appealing. Being in the latter part of my 20-something years I have also noticed that most of my friends are at varying life stages. Some are single, some are in serious relationships and some are married, while others work regular 8-5’s while others are bartenders or coffee baristas. To have a successful roommate experience I think it really comes down to matching up the right lifestyles, which can be challenging at this age. There are just so many factors that come into play – many that you don’t even realize until you’re already living with someone and have signed the lease papers.

Time is everything.

Having just begun graduate school while still working full-time, I’ve become overly aware about how I schedule my days in order to get the most out of them. When I had roommates we always lived in Seattle because the city is typically considered to have the most social outlets for 20-somethings, and most of my past roommates worked in Seattle. So I would commute to downtown Bellevue everyday either by bus or car which could sometimes take up to two-hours roundtrip. Three years of the back and forth across the bridge and I just couldn’t do it anymore. My time was getting increasingly more valuable as I tried to squeeze more things in my day, so that long commute just wasn’t in the cards anymore. Living back home on the Eastside has definitely helped add precious time back into my day that I can now use productively instead of sitting in traffic.

Appreciation of family.

You don’t realize how much your parents do for you until you’re out of the house. You also don’t realize how much you miss those simple daily interactions with family members until their gone. While living back home I’ve thoroughly enjoyed reconnecting with my brother over common interests like technology and working out, taking the dog on long walks around the neighborhood with mom and having lengthy conversations on life, and talking about my career and school with dad. Those interactions are more easily had when they’re face to face and I’ve grown a newfound appreciation for them.

Finally this past month I had a small health scare and was in and out of many doctors appointments. Since I was home, my mom and brother were able to lend their support and help me get through the first week of doctor visits (it was difficult for me to drive). I realized that if I hadn’t been living at home this time would have been much more difficult. And so I greatly appreciated them being there for me.

I wanted to end this post with a question for my readers: At what age should we experience living on own own?



  1. Amy October 31, 2011 at 8:28 AM #

    I have never lived alone, so I am not sure of the appropriate age. I did buy a house at 26 and now rent out the rooms, which makes me feel a little better about never living alone.

    • Jordan November 6, 2011 at 12:03 PM #

      Hi Amy! That’s pretty impressive that you were able to buy at the age of 26. It seems like such a far away goal for me! I’m still on the road to getting my own 1-bedroom apartment. So kudos! And I like your idea about taking in some extra cash by renting out the rooms too. Do you rent to friends, an SO or people you found say on Craigslist?

  2. bizzyschorr October 31, 2011 at 1:13 PM #

    I was on my own most of college (excluding summers) and even spent one year in England. All together this was a great experience! After coming home for a year, getting married, and being in an apartment with my husband for a year, we moved back in with my parents, where we have been for two and a half years now. This was primarily a budget decision for us, both of us were having job troubles.

    On the whole it has been a tremendously positive experience for all of us! We have been able to help my parents out with a lot of different things, and their house has allowed us to do a lot we otherwise wouldn’t have been able to do (cast parties!). We have a very special relationship with my parents and it’s been a real treasure.

    • Jordan November 6, 2011 at 12:22 PM #

      Thanks for sharing your experiences Bizzy. I took a similar path as you. Out of the house during college, studied abroad, apartment for a few years then back home. Initially I thought I was taking a step back when I came back home, but I’ve realized sometimes we need to take one step back to then take two steps forward down the road.

  3. Corey Christiansen October 31, 2011 at 1:31 PM #

    I too have never lived alone and I really don’t think there is an appropriate age. Before moving to Germany a month ago, I lived with my older brother for four years and don’t think I could have had a better roommate. Because we’re 9 years apart, I really didn’t know him that well before moving in together. We had an apartment for awhile and then he bought a house so it works out really good for both of us. I’ve always thought about living on my own and even got my finances in order to buy a condo just before the economy crashed in 2008; losing my job at that time may have been a blessing in disguise!

    Like you, I can’t appreciate my family enough. I probably wouldn’t even be here in Germany if I had a lease. I’ve had several roommates (currently living with 3 other international students) and while some have been good and others not so much, living with my bro just makes the most sense and it has really strengthed our relationship.

    Cheers to living with family!

    • Jordan November 6, 2011 at 12:29 PM #

      Appreciate you commenting Corey! My brother and I are closer in age, but he’s back home too and I’m looking forward to strengthening our relationship. Our rooms are directly across the hall from each other.

      In the end you have to think that everything must happen for a reason. Whether it be moving back home or saving to buy but falling back on that money when the economy crashed.

  4. Elizabeth W November 1, 2011 at 12:06 PM #

    I haven’t ever lived on my own, always with roommates or at the parents. I would love to have a space all my own, but that just hasn’t been realistic for me. And owning a house, well, that seems like a far off dream.

    Until this fall, I had been living back home with my parents and I actually really enjoyed it. Like you, I had a great relationship with them and didn’t feel suffocated or parented. Plus, it really did make life less stressful.

    • Jordan November 6, 2011 at 12:33 PM #

      Thanks for sharing Elizabeth! I too feel like home ownership is so far away for me. And I really don’t know if that’s my ultimate goal anymore. It seems the American Dream has really shifted is the last decade or so. I’d love to have my own place one day, but honestly I wouldn’t mind if I were still renting. I know of people my age that have been able to buy and I scratch my head thinning about how they were able to. Did parents offer a down payment? Do they have jobs paying 100k / year? I just don’t understand it. What is the big secret here?

  5. Deric November 14, 2011 at 2:12 AM #

    Living alone is just about real estate. I don’t think people in their minds are really living away from their folks.

    Most Asian’s don’t leave home till they get married unless they moved cities for work purposes.

    • Jordan November 20, 2011 at 7:37 PM #

      You make a good point Deric. In Europe/Asia it’s uncommon for 20-somethings to move out at all unless they have a reason like marriage or an out of town job. I saw this first-hand when I studied abroad in Spain during college.

  6. theironblonde December 28, 2012 at 9:10 AM #

    I, too, am a 20 something Washingtonian living with my parents and trying to go back to school. Even with a full time, okay paid job, its hard to live on my own. Love your thoughts! Good luck!

    • Jordan December 28, 2012 at 1:29 PM #

      Thanks for finding my blog! I’m not keeping it up as regularly these days, but still consistently have conversations with friends, family and colleagues about this topic. I completed school this December and will stay at home for probably a few more months before I figure out my next career move! I can’t imagine how hard the last two years would have been without have the support of living at home. Good for you for making this hard yet practical decision – in the end, it’s worth it! :)


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