The View From Venus

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Crikey! It's a Boomerang, Mum!

Lessons Lost by Moving Back Home

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Moving day! After a sleepless night full of packing up the last four years of my life, I drive off to my new apartment. I settle in and think to myself, Well, this looks familiar. This is because I am a "boomerang kid" and my "new apartment" is the room in which I spent the first 18 years of my life.

According to countless news articles, that I may or may not have searched for in order to make myself feel better about my own situation, more and more new college graduates are doing the unthinkable: moving back in with mom and dad. Some surveys report as much as 85% of recent graduates are returning home. I have made peace with my fate, well kind of. I accept the lack of privacy, the limited freedom, and even the looming threat of my mother's cooking. I have rehearsed and memorized the speech I recite when friends and family ask me "what I'm doing with my life," and I must say I'm pretty convincing when I say, without a hint of bitterness, "It just makes sense to move back home."

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I do have one very big problem with moving back to my childhood room, and I suspect that many other boomerang-ers have this same issue: the inability to hone newly acquired daily living skills. Residing in cheap apartments in a sketchy neighborhood with two other girls for the past few years has transformed me into a savvy individual with street savoir faire. I've had to come up with creative ways to solve my problems, and now that I'm back home, I'm anxious about regressin, falling back into my spoiled, naive highschool ways.

For instance, at home, I always had heating and air conditioning. I never had to leave the oven door open to heat the apartment, nor did I have to warm my frostbitten hands over the stove's flames. Living with no air conditioner means you become very good at moving as little as possible during the day. In fact, I've found closing one's eyes and leaving all lights off keep you very cool during the day, which leaves plenty of time for living one's life once the sun goes down- purely to avoid the risk of overheating of course.

Moving back home means that all of the talents I have developed due to a lack of major appliances will be all for naught. I always knew that if the whole college thing never panned out, I could have a fairly lucrative career in a circus balancing an impressive tower of dirty dishes in the sink. I never would have known I possessed such a talent had my apartments been eqipped with a dishwasher! And what about my knack for convincing myself and others that clothes really can be worn multiple times before they absolutely need to be washed? What about my forearm muscles, toned solely as a result of lack of blender?

And let's not forget the culinary lessons I have learned these past four years. For instance, the following items should not be cooked in a microwave: marshmallow, hard-boiled egg, and a coffee mug that upon further inspection actually does say "Not microwave safe." How will I continue to grow into a curious and thoughtful human being if I have someone looking over my shoulder getting in the way of all my life lessons?

Clearly, the boomerang graduates resist moving back home not because we want to be able to come and go as we please or because we feel embarrassed having to come crawling back to the parents from whom we so giddily skipped away four years ago. Rather, we dislike the move because it means no more learning. Home is downright luxurious compared to what we've lived through, but going through it gives us a sense of accomplishment that is somewhat lacking when you've got mom there to bring you Saltines when you've got a wittle tummy ache.

On the other hand, it'll be nice not to have to steal toilet paper from public restrooms when we run out...

 

Anastasia Harrell attends the University of Southern California, double majoring in psychology and communication.

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