Saturday, June 30, 2012

ADVICE: I'm 25 and live with my parents. I feel ashamed. Should I?

Hi again. More advice. A few posts ago, I told people to send their problems and I would fix them. Overpromise? Maybe. But it's still fun. Here we go:

Anon wrote: 
I'm 25 and live with my parents. I feel ashamed. Should I?

Probably. I mean, there is probably something you should feel ashamed about, but I am not sure it's this. I am not sure you're asking the right question, though. Depending on why you are still living at home (or back home, as the case may be) better questions might be: 

When will I move out? Do I like living here? If not, how can I move out and when? etc etc. 

Why are you at home? Did you ever leave? How long do you plan to stay? Are you helping around the house? Paying for anything? 

Sometimes people have to move back home. I dropped out of college, having nearly lost my mind living in Eugene, Oregon, which is pretty much the end of the world. I moved back home for a few months and then moved out. Here's a story about that. Sometimes shame is a useful emotion if it will motivate you to change. Shame is an alarm. Listen to it, do something, then shut it off.

I don't think you need to feel shame unless you've moved back home and you are not making yourself useful. If you don't appreciate your parents' generosity, you aren't pulling your weight around the house, you aren't looking for work, and you're not making progress toward some goal (which includes moving out and being independent), then yeah, be ashamed.

I used to be more staunch about people not moving back home. I sort of still am. But then I think of places like Italy, where kids still frequently live with their parents until they get married. I think Lena Dunham still lives at home.

Why do you feel shame? I don't think it's useful. What do you want instead? I would focus on that rather than the shame. Shame and pity are the worst emotions. Do what you can to eliminate them. And unless you're a really awful person, you are too young for shame. Be useful and kind - to yourself and others - and you won't feel shame wherever you live. 

Image: Traditional Home


Anonymous said...

I concur!
Where do you get this wisdom?
Are you a therapist on the side? Or, do you just play one on the Interweb?

Shawna said...

You have found your calling. Keep dishing out the excellent advice. More than just your advice being good, you say it well.

Decorno said...

Aw, thanks, Shawna. And Anon.

I am not a therapist. I think I just have know-it-all syndrome. Not always a good thing. :)

Kevin said...

I moved out of my parents' house about 2 weeks after my 18th birthday, and I haven't been back for more than a week at a time in the past ... could it be 14 years?

I think if you get along with your parents enough to live with them, count your blessings that you have a supportive family that you get along with. Will some people think you are pathetic for living at home? Absolutely they will, and if you agree, that's when you know you should move out.

mikky said...

Awesome advice. I really liked how you said to do something about it then turn off the shame feeling, that hit me right upside the head because I have felt bad about things, done something to fix the situation but kept on feeling bad long after so I'm going to use this advice too!

carmencatalina said...

I think you should only ever feel shame for actions that hurt people, not for the situations you find yourself in.

Cathy Schwartz said...

Well, I don’t think there’s anything to be ashamed of living with your parents. If you think you’re comfortable living with them, then so be it. However, living independently is also a great experience. You'll discover a lot about yourself, as you go about and try to do things on your own. Either way, it all comes down to you. Good luck!

Cathy Schwartz @ Best Rate Removals