After graduating from college, you enter a twilight zone. A twilight zone where half of your friends are scoring their dream jobs and moving to cool cities around the country, and half of them are moving back home with hopes of polishing up their résumés.
It's a twilight zone that first takes effect when you unpack your bags on your old bedroom floor, and stack piles of clothes back into your closet without a clue of when you will be packing them up again.
It's when you're lying on your parents' couch, watching your favorite TV show on an actual screen with cable and not your laptop Netflix account.
It's even when you're feeling hungry, and your mom's voice echoes up the staircase telling you dinner is done... for the fifth night in a row.
You're back home, living like you did when you were a 17-year-old high school rebel with hopes of moving on and meeting new people and seeing new places. But, you've been there and you've done that.
You've made memories; you've learned what you could, and now you're back with not a clue to what is going to be next.
At first, you're bored. You aren't sure what to do now that some of your newest and closest friends aren't an easy walk or drive away anymore, and the freedom you had while you were living on your own has lessoned.
Your parents live in the next room, and your dog is your new nightly cuddle buddy.
Yet, after a while, you learn to like it.
You become completely okay with not having to hand your landlord a check every month, and you're slowly getting used to having a stocked kitchen that doesn't just consist of some scattered cereal boxes, Keurig Cups and beer.
You're comfortable, and you're satisfied.
I have warn you, though; do not get too comfortable with the perks of living back home because if you do, it's going to get harder for you to jump back to the goals you've previously set for yourself.
Convenience causes comfort, and being comfortable will stunt your personal growth.
I know living home is easier than being on your own and facing the "big bad real world," but being too comfortable living in your old house is hurting you more than it is helping -- here's why:
1. You don't need to pay rent.
It's a beautiful feeling, not having to worry about making rent for the month.
You can save your money up so you've got a decent nest egg for when you decide to move out again, and you'll begin to love the feeling of not being broke when the month is over.
Even so, paying rent (and other bills) will obviously help with money management skills, and if you are constantly saving and spending at your own free will, you might end up losing a sense of what it's going to be like when you've got to start paying rent again.
Save what you can, but don't get too used to your lack of monthly financial obligations.
2. The fridge is rarely empty.
If you're living back at home with your family, chances are there is going to be a significant amount of food in the kitchen you didn't purchase.
You parents probably go food shopping, and seeing as they're family, they offer you the food they purchase. Even so, getting too comfortable with the food already in the house may cause a downward spiral in your motivation to go out and buy your own.
When you're on your own, you usually fill the cabinets with the kind of stuff you like. Instead of depending on someone else in the family to buy it for you, get off the couch and go buy it yourself.
3. You have your own room.
You have privacy, peace and quiet and the freedom to do what you please without being interrupted by a roommate (not that all roommates are a burden, but everyone loves a room to call their own).
Again, don't get too comfortable. Once you move out again, chances are you are going to have a roommate, unless you have enough money saved to score a place with your own bedroom.
Don't get too cozy with privacy at your own will, and bear with the fact that you will be sharing your space again in the future. Don't be afraid of the thought that there will be another day where your bedroom isn't only yours.
4. Your best friends live around the corner.
When you're living back home, chances are at least two or three of your best friends growing up are back home, too, living walking distance away from you. They're probably just as confused about life as you are, and you probably enjoy spending time with one another.
Regardless of the amazing friendships you've built in the "back at home" twilight zone, keep in mind everyone's got their own agenda and their own dreams for the future.
Keep your friendships strong and your goals just as sturdy because one day, you will all find yourselves moving out and onto new endeavors at your own rate. Keep your eyes on the future. Your friends will always be there for you, regardless of location.
5. Old part-time jobs will take you back.
You're pulling out your hair and staying up until the sunrise, putting out job application after job application with high hopes of landing something that can suffice as a career.
And, then, your old boss calls you, offering you the job you held down for years in high school. Do you take it? Do you just say f*ck it and work your old part-timer for the sake of making money?
You don't want to be broke, but you don't want to backtrack, either.
You do it. You take your old job back, and fall back into the hours you worked before college, or before you moved out for the first time.
If this is the case, don't fret! Don't get too comfortable working your old job that has absolutely nothing to do with your career. It's a stepping stone that is making you money while you're putting your feelers out for a career. Stick it out.
It's not going to last forever, so make the money while you can while you prepare for what's next. Do not settle until you are happy with the career you are working -- you're probably not going to find it at home.
6. You know all of the good food joints.
You have a favorite bar in town you and your friends visit almost every night. You have your go-to diner for the 2 am breakfast trips, and you won't venture from your favorite dinner spot.
Basically, you are so completely comfortable with the businesses that surround you, you begin to forget there are other establishments rich in culture, new food and new people outside of your hometown.
7. Your parents are around and willing to lend a hand.
Let's face it: Whether you live back home with your mom, your dad, your aunt, your uncle, your sister or your brother, chances are they are going to be around and will offer to lend a hand when needed.
They're family -- that's what family is for. You need to appreciate their will to help, yet, you cannot rely on it.
Accept the generosity you can, but don't take advantage because you need to stay independent for when you move out again and have no choice but to be self-sufficient.
Of course, while you're living home, you need to help your family out, as well, but don't expect their hands at your every beck and call -- that will get old real' quick.
8. You don't need to share.
Your closet is your closet. Your shoes are your shoes. Your alcohol is your alcohol. Your makeup is your makeup. When you're living back home, there's no need to worry about needing to share your things with a roommate.
Even so, don't get too selfish and possessive over your items, because they will eventually be scattered across a room that belongs to not only you when you get yourself together and move out again.
Until then, enjoy the free will to own things in solitude because sharing will become a reoccurring task of the future.
9. You have unlimited WiFi access.
There's no need for resetting modems or rummaging through old paperwork to find a lost WiFi password; your family has got that sh*t on lock.
You have no problem getting online, and it works like a charm. Heck, you don't even need to pay for it. You just sit back and enjoy.
Again, don't get used to it. WiFi is a glorious thing and it's not always going to be handed to you. Be thankful for full bars of connection on your laptop because chances are, down the road, it won't be too easy or free to attain.
10. ...and free cable TV!
The amount of channels on your parents' TV is unreal. You have all of your favorite shows on lock, and scanning through what's on-demand every night is becoming a ritual. Netflix, who?
You don't even need it. You find yourself a fixture on your couch every night, and you aren't sure if you love it or hate it. Even so, you can't stop watching. But, you need to stop. Get off of your couch and unglue your eyes from the television set.
Free cable is a beautiful thing to enjoy, but there are so many other things you can be doing with your time living home, which don't include HBO or reality TV.
Work on your passions and button up credentials for your career. You'll have your own cable eventually, so don't become attached to the box at home.
Trust me, living in your old house and having family that cares about you enough to share their space is a blessing. Even so, they want to see you flourish just as much as you want to achieve your goals and dreams.
Don't get too comfortable living at home. Enjoy it while you can, but keep growing and keep moving forward. Like they say, life begins outside of your comfort zone.