Sometimes I wish I had never moved out of my mom's house.
Sure, she bought a couch and turned my childhood bedroom into a den the first time I moved out, three months after college graduation. When I moved back in two years later, there was no room for me OR the couch in said bedroom, so it quickly became my storage unit. We shared a bed most nights which, let me tell you, does wonders for a twenty-something's sex life (sarcasm). And sure, I had trouble with some of her more... colorful rules ("wash your hands before you touch that ice tray!").
A 2012 study by Pew Research Center found that 36 percent of the nation's population ages 18-31 were still living at home with their parents. For two glorious years, I was one of them. After living a so-called dream life exclusive to New Yorkers in their early twenties, I quickly realized that shelling out $1200 for my small room in a first floor apartment that faced garbage cans and lacked an oven was simply unsustainable.
After a bit of soul searching (read: coming to terms with the fact that I was actually moving back in with my parent), I decided to head back to Queens "for a few months" while I figured out my next move. Friends had proposed moving in together, and I was tagged in a slew of "looking for a roommate" Facebook posts, but none seemed to feel right. Well, those two months quickly turned into two years and somewhere in that time I decided it would be in my best interest financially to try to buy a place of my own.
The problem was, you guessed it, money. My price range was too low to compete with all-cash offers, but too high for the tiny, unlivable apartments that I thought only existed in scary urban legends. When I finally found a place in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn a year-and-a-half later, I felt like I had found the person I was meant to spend the rest of my life with. After all, it was the only studio apartment I came across that had a closet big enough to fit all of my clothes.
Now, though, that I am out on my own at age 26 (and three quarters) for real this time, living in a perfect, beautiful, wonderful, expensive-as-all-hell studio apartment that I spent my whole life savings on and then some, I pine for the days of stealing my mom's skincare products and never having to make my bed. And I've come to the following conclusion: people living at home are freaking geniuses.
Living at home is almost a guaranteed meal ticket seven days a week, 365 days a year. My mom would never let me starve (save for the few occasions she quipped "it certainly doesn't look like you're starving"). Now when I'm out of groceries, I'm braving the line at Trader Joe's with the rest of the suckers.
Now I'll let a week, two weeks, even a month go by without doing laundry. But at home, my mom was going to do laundry anyway, so why not throw mine in with it? FOR FREE.
Now, I use Netflix and Hulu to stream shows and avoid a hefty cable bill. But my mom doesn't understand Hulu! She's got the cable box, the premiums, the DVR, everything I'd need to sit upon my throne and watch "Game of Thrones" like the boss that I am.
And then there's that dreaded R word. Rent. Or in my case, the M word. Mortgage. Those dreaded words that are not once uttered when you're nestled safely in the warm throes of formica childhood bedroom furniture. Bonus points for New York City kids whose parents live in rent-controlled apartments with more than one bathroom, a luxury I personally only appreciated once I no longer had it.
Of course, living on your own has its many perks (see hand-washing ice tray rule above), but the next time you judge someone for still living in their parents' basement, remember that rent check you have to come up with at the end of the month, and how much more clean laundry that person has than you.
Also on HuffPost: