Moving back to go forward: moving home as an adult

Zia’s moved back in with her mum to save up for her future

Moving back to go forward seems like a contradictory statement. But there is a significant proportion of the UK’s population that is doing precisely that – moving back to the family home as either a stop gap or a more permanent arrangement.  49% of 23 year olds, according to a Civitas Think tank survey, live with their parents.  There is a plethora of reasons why people make this decision, the root of which almost always comes down to finance.  Whatever the reasons may be, it can’t help but feel like a regression. As someone who is now sharing a home with my mum, I am all too familiar with this feeling.

49% of 23 year olds, according to a Civitas Think tank survey, live with their parents.

I moved back simply to save up the money I needed to pursue my chosen career. I tried to save during my time away from home, but this was proving increasingly difficult when I had bills to pay and living expenses to prioritise. Several months into living away from home, I soon had to make the decision between maintaining my independence at a hefty price, or move back home and have the freedom to save and work on my career, whilst relinquishing the other freedoms that living alone allowed. Since millennials are spending on average a quarter of their net income on rent, as highlighted by The Guardian, it is hardly surprising that this prompted me to swap my house share for my childhood bedroom. Despite it being a conscious decision of mine, I couldn’t help but feel like I had failed.

Despite it being a conscious decision of mine, I couldn’t help but feel like I had failed.

When I was younger and imagining who I would be at 21, I always envisaged leading the life that my Mum had led when she was my age. By the time she was 21 she was renting a flat in Camden Market for £450 and, ever since moving out of the family home at 18, she never once had to return. There was more job stability back in the late 90s and my Mum spent significantly less of her monthly earnings on rent, leaving the remainder for living and savings. Yet I, at 21, had found myself back at my Mum’s front door with my bags and belongings. I was grateful for a home to go back to, but I could not quite shake the feeling of shame that came with moving back as well as the host of other emotions, most dominant of which being inadequacy. Moving out of the family home is a pivotal moment in every young adults’ life. Moving back comes with significantly less fanfare.

I was grateful for a home to go back to, but I could not quite shake the feeling of shame that came with moving back.

There was a real dichotomy between my working life and my living situation.  In the beginning It felt like I was a kid again. Albeit a kid who works 9 until 5 and has a flourishing career.  There was a sense that I had lost some of the independence I had worked so hard to gain and, although my mum always tried to be respectful, I was and still am, living under her roof and must abide by the rules she sets. Initially these factors lead to a jarring transition. My ‘guest’ status in the house meant that I could never truly feel at home especially since I had had a taste of living independently for months before. Simply having the freedom to invite people around, set my own routines, even choose what I was eating that day, was now gone and replaced by the structure and rules that I had lived by as a teenager. Yet it was also a positive move for me because I had returned to an area that I have always loved, my relationship with my Mum improved, and the living situation was a lot calmer than the chaos of the house share I was used to.

There was a real dichotomy between my working life and my living situation.  In the beginning It felt like I was a kid again.

It doesn’t have to be a negative experience to move back. As soon as I stopped comparing my experiences to my Mum’s, it made me realise that just because I still live at home doesn’t make me any less of an independent and motivated adult. The current social and economic climate has forced families to adapt to the changing norms that once would have been the exception mere decades ago.  Once I had realised that my story was the same as thousands of other young adults, I felt like less of a failure and accepted that this is a common path for many people of my generation. As a result of returning to the family home, I now have the means to be able to push forward with my life and career, something that I would never have been able to achieve if not for my mum’s support. Not only can I save but the stress of bills and living is alleviated, allowing me to focus on the work that I need to do. The security of knowing that I will always have a home ensures I can choose the jobs that I want to do, rather than the jobs that I need, and I have the luxury of time that few people have.

Once I had realised that my story was the same as thousands of other young adults, I felt like less of a failure.

Moving back home should never be seen as a lapse in progression, rather it should be recognised as a necessary step towards moving forwards with our adult lives.

Have you moved back in with your family? What have your experiences been like? Let us know on social media.

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