I’m writing this from the desk of my childhood bedroom, loosely decorated the same and filled with cherished memories…
It’s safe to say that I didn’t expect 2020 to go this way, none of us did. Honestly, I pictured myself taking in the New York skyline from the city’s tall rooftops, barhopping the night away, enjoying the sunset with a non socially-distant picnic with friends in Riverside Park, or having a movie night at someone’s apartment without having to wonder about all of the different places they had been since I had seen them last. I could have still had a summer filled with some responsible adventures during the past few summer months, but I decided to stay at home with my parents, which I realize is a luxury that not everyone gets.
Living in my childhood home has had a lot of pros and cons.
Pro: My mom makes a lot of my meals
Con: I don’t get to decide what to eat every night
Pro: People to hang out with when I’m bored or lonely
Con: No complete privacy when I’m trying to be alone
Pro: A car to drive around when I want to change my surroundings
Con: There’s literally nowhere to go
Pro: Living with my 84-year-old grandmother who I regret not spending more time with over the past couple of years
Con: Feeling like I’m putting her at extreme risk whenever I leave my house
I’m sure I am not alone in the various emotions I’ve been feeling these past 6 months—feeling helpless and bored, but knowing that doing the bare minimum for leaving my house is doing the most of what I can for the people around me.
As the title mentions, this has been the longest I’ve been at home since high school. I graduated high school five years ago and it’s safe to say that things are now a bit different. I’ve successfully lived on my own for the majority of this time, including in apartments for the last three years. Now that I’m back at home, sometimes it feels like all of that time was an illusion. Adapting to this new lifestyle and relationship with my parents (and now my grandmother) has taken the majority of these six months, but it’s helped to change our relationship for the better moving forward. I was lucky enough to also have a brother at home and by my side to help me through all of the parental madness.
Weekends, usually reserved for the more fun events of the week, have been filled with Rummikub, movie nights, reading, or watching Netflix by ourselves in separate rooms. We found excitement in things like Survivor: Winners at War and the latest season of Queer Eye. We start each evening watching Nightly News with Lester Holt and Jeopardy! before whatever show is on primetime television that night. My parents found solace in walks around the neighborhood, while I found mine in writing.
As we enter September, it’s hitting me that summer is really ending. The sunsets happen earlier in the evening and the weather is getting cooler in the morning. I’m frustrated because I feel like I didn’t really do anything exciting. While I didn’t fall into the breadmaking, TikTok, or hair-dyeing trends, I dabbled in a Chloe Ting Shred workout challenge, watched Tiger King, and played a fair share of Quiplash with friends from college. I focused on the stories of people who are oftentimes ignored and unheard and became aware of myself in ways I hadn’t before in regard to biases I had held and mental health issues that had gone unnoticed.
I’ve never been a homebody while being in my hometown, but this situation made me one. I got comfortable hanging out at home because what else can I do? I’m taking this with me when I go back to New York soon as well since we’re nowhere near getting over this thing.
Now that I’m returning back to my home in New York, I’m feeling similarly to how I felt leaving for my first year of college: scared. I’ve retreated back to the comfort I had when I was 18. It makes me nervous to go back into this adult life, even though I’ve spent the last few years building it. I feel like I’ll have some re-learning to do as I adapt to a life I had previously built for myself, but even then it’s still different. This life means learning to be more comfortable alone. While it might seem like I’m simply moving from one home to another, the two worlds feel completely different in both location and mindset.
It’s safe to say that no one knows what the next six months holds for us, or even the year for that matter. We’re so far away from finding a true sense of normalcy. I’m focusing on the positive throughout this time. I’ve counted my blessings an infinite amount and will be thankful to have had this extra time in this home, with this family, and at this age when I wouldn’t have come home for this long in my “regular life.”
I am sure that I’m not the only one who’s feeling a plethora of emotions right now, but I wanted to share my peace. Hopefully you enjoy 🙂