Nothing brings the high from graduation back down like your first week back home. For many graduates, moving back home is a bitter taste of their rapidly encroaching reality.
The reality we never thought would be when we imagined our lives as college graduates. No longer can we afford apartments right after graduation, but fortunately for many, living back home with mom and dad no longer carries the stigma it once held.
Like many things, the first few days back are exciting and pleasurable, as the true reality of your situation is hidden under layers of home-cooked meals, laundry service and clean floors.
It's obstructed by the warm sheets and the loving embrace of your family pet. Then the novelty wears off and your presence is no longer celebrated with toasts and praises and you get tired of the forced homemade meals.
Now you're just another kid living under your parents' roof and they expect certain things. They will treat you exactly how they did when you were a juvenile high schooler, yet expect more from you because you are now a college graduate.
It's a catch 22 and the sooner you get used to accepting your entire existence as a catch 22, the sooner you will acclimate to your new home.
Because you are no longer king of your castle, but a third rate citizen closer to that of an indentured servant, forced to hide your weed and alcohol habits.
The Privacy Issues
You can’t just smoke joints in your living room, watch porn without headphones or keep your bong in plain sight.
You have to hide those habits you became accustomed to living with and tiptoe around that never-locked-door policy your mom insists on keeping.
The Judgmental Looks
Next time you burp, come home drunk or when you wake up hungover, expect the look. You know the one, filled with sheer disappointment and disgust.
There's no way to miss it. But unlike your old apartment, where you were the first one up at noon and got a high five for throwing up in the bushes, there’s none of that here.
The Drinking Infringements
You can’t get sloppy wasted anymore. Not unless you never want to look your parents in the eyes again after passing out and throwing up in their bed.
The days of pounding beers and throwing back vodka shots are over; it’s just not appropriate or worth it and the stories won’t be funny to them.
The Feeling That You’re A Bum
If you sleep past nine, watch too much TV, eat peanut butter out of the jar -- you’re a bum. Anything you do that’s not acceptable by their standards will not be tolerated.
Those lazy, dirty and amazing habits you picked up in college, like Netflix marathons all day and Taco Bell four times a week, will only make you feel like like the worst person in the world, or at least in the house.
The Bad TV
Most likely your parents, your 9-year-old sister and 14-year-old brother don’t have great taste. But it’s not just you and your best friends watching "Real World Cancun" anymore, you have to share the remote.
The Shared Cars
Whether you had a car in college or didn’t, you’re going to find having a car at home is similar to being without a driver's license; there's a car in sight, but you don’t have the time or privilege to use it.
And every time you do take it out, someone is calling you to use it because they HAVE to go somewhere.
The Constant Questioning
Where are you going? Where have you been? Who were you with? It’s the constant parade of questions that you’d love to share with your friends back at school, but telling your parents you were just hotboxing your friend's car isn’t going to be the titillating conversation you were hoping for.
Of course you’re supposed to take out the trash when it’s full and clear the dinner plates. You may not have set a table in college, but you're back home and they’ll make sure to remind you that nothing has changed. If you’re living with them, they accept forced labor in exchange for rent.
The Sudden Obsession With Your Presence
Unfortunately, you are now expected to be around all the time. You are expected to go to dinner parties, weekend trips to Costco and family outings with the rest of them.
Your absence will be admonished and that guilty feeling you start to have when you miss dinner and are out with your friends will only get stronger.
The Constant Scrutiny
Remember that horrible pressure you felt before you left for college? Well, it comes back just as quickly as you fled it. The constant nitpicking and judgmental questioning about your life and the choices you’re making returns with a vengeance.
The Lawn Work
When your parents are out there, making your home a more appealing place to live, you’re expected to be out there or never get anything from them again. It’s back to weeding, raking and hoeing.
The Guilty Feeling About Having More Than They Did
Anytime you so much as whisper a complaint, you will be slammed with the inevitable guilt trip. It’s a heavy burden that’s been placed on us ever since we got cell phones and they didn’t.
Suddenly you’re expected to be this grown adult with manners, self control and, eventually, a job. Living at home means a pile of expectations you must live under, like doing chores because you want to and keeping your room clean.
The New Curfew
Although you’re an "adult” now, living in their house means living under their rules and that usually means curfews.
Even though it may be later, pushed to 1 am or some obscure time, it’s still a constriction and a harsh reminder that you are most definitely not on your own.
The Habit Correcting
It may be for our benefit, but there’s only so much nagging about posture and elbows one person can withstand. Yes, we realize we say dude a lot more now, but that’s just what happens when you smoke a lot of pot.
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