September 01
I went to South Korea after college in search of experience. Following two years teaching English, traveling and writing, I spent six months in Southeast Asia discovering new people and places. I use life as a stimulant and try never to fight the urge to create.

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JANUARY 13, 2012 11:56AM

Unemployed, 26 and Living at Home; A Coming-of-Age Tale

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All of my belongings scattered around me and my iPad in hand, I casually searched for the plane ticket I had saved in my e-mail while the attendant laughed at me. “How do you ever get anywhere you want to go?”  I looked up at him and smiled-- because the answer was so simple-- “It just always works out.”

Once I found my reservation, I handed it to him.  He read through it and deflated my confidence as he informed me I was at the wrong airport.  My plane was leaving from Miami, not Fort Lauderdale.  In my stupidity, I thought it was leaving from Fort Lauderdale and I told that to the guy at the Miami airport as he gestured toward the shuttle I had just missed.

“What can I do?”


A couple days before, I made a hasty decision to meet one of my best friends in Miami for a few days of relaxation and a memorable New Years accompanied by her mini-harmonica necklace.  After playing the blues riff and getting a group of Germans to sing about life in America, a biomedical engineer and an aspiring writer drank too much tequila and woke up in their rented Kia Sorrento on the corner of 5th and Michigan.  I looked at the clock and told her we needed to go. She gazed at her phone and whispered, “No, dude.  We have three more seconds."  No amount of hangover was going to stop me. I was not going to start 2012 having missed a flight. That would be irresponsible.

Instead, I started 2012 somewhere in 2011 when I misread my ticket-- or perhaps never read it at all-- and got confused about the very nature of its content.  The attendant entered my details into the computer and said, “Your original ticket is supposed to arrive in Washington. Would you rather arrive in Richmond… where you’re from?”  I told him that would be great and the tickets came out of the little machine and he said I was all checked in and quoted me the amount of money his good nature had saved me.  As I walked away after another successful New Years with my good friend and said mini-harmonica necklace the attendant yelled after, “Be more responsible!”

When I got home my dad said, “I don’t know how you do it” and I could tell from his tone it wasn’t a compliment.  He hypothesizes that I put myself into difficult situations just to see how I’ll fare. And he’s right.  If you read this blog, on top of the fact that you’re probably of blood relation, you also know the last time I wrote I was heading to Australia to work on a ranch.  Well, I did that. And then I woke up one night after a total of three years abroad and I missed my family desperately.  I decided to save as much money as possible and come home for Christmas and look for a job.

Now I spend my days sorting out the most precarious situation I’ve ever put myself into: unemployment in the U.S., living at home at 26.  With all this extravagance and success, it’s a wonder I stay grounded.  I guess I have my father to thank for that.  Yesterday when my mom yelled at him for blowing leaves into the bushes, he lifted the blower and held it for a long second in her face.  She walked away saying nothing, with her hair pointing back at the sky. Before getting into the car, she burst forth with a simple sentence brimming with venom.  “Vacuum up the pine needles in the foyer!!”

When we got home, the windows were open, the place smelled like gas and there were pine needles embedded into the wall.

So—I say to all you bachelors out there—your parents’ place, or mine?

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Hah!!Great post, and your dad is a wild man~~
Respect, Scanner. My dad and The Dude have something in common.
My 22-year old step-daughter stayed with us recently and is now back living with her mother. I can't imagine when she could manage to live independently. Tough times, these. All the best!
Loved this! Keep writing through it all--and hang out with your dad.
Time for your real education. Good luck. Hope you're still writing when you come out the other side. Most do not.

All due respect, but you're also not gambling w/scared $$--which makes it really easy for you to have these mad adventures and live by the beat of a pulse and not the tick of a (time) clock. Unlike those of us who ARE gambling w/scared $$ and so have to plan life a lot more carefully.

When I graduated college I walked right into Reagan's 1981 recession--and degree or not, I had to take a job typing just so I could re-pay my student loans that suddenly came due when that 9-mo grace period lapsed.

I'd already moved out, but keeping body and soul together necessitated living w/a man I should have long since left earlier b/c going home was never an option (don't ask why, you don't want to know). At age 26 I was beginning a career that went up and down, stopped and started, but finally leveled out fully 10 yrs later and I was finally free to leave that abuse (and I PIFed those student loans, something I’m really proud of).

As for “calling out for bachelors”—think very carefully about that. Moving out that way, you could wind up in a very precarious situation just b/c you “wanted out.” Why not just get a roommate? Does anybody have roommates anymore? It’s not an ideal situation, but if anyone really wants to move from home it’s still one of the best ways to do so.

I'm not putting you down, but it seems to me that you’re living the end results of a reasonable trade: living at home which enables you to become a Citizen of the World, or becoming serious about following some kind of career path and working toward that end, which includes independence. Unless, of course, your folks are loaded—in which case, you’re luckier than most of us working stiffs out here.

Or maybe I just got old and so can't appreciate such spontaneity. I've never had the luxury--and now, at the tail end of nearly 30 yrs of a productive and fairly lucrative career w/a pension pending, I can't say I regret it (not in this fucked-up economy).
Granted we don't know the dynamics between your parents, but I don't see his behavior towards her as something to celebrate. Perhaps he has other redeeming qualities?
You are in for the ride of your life having the 'rents as roomies...But things seem to work out usually.
It isn't easy to go back. It will add to your resolve to be on your own again. And watch out for those pine needles....
Best of luck living with the folks.
At first I just wanted to shake you and say "really?!! really you think that is acceptable to let others have to fix your problems while you just sail on?" but...
You have the life you want, you are exploring and sound happy. Ride it while you can, life is very, very short, and you sound good at living yours.
The rest of us are just jealous we can't be that selfish/free/relaxed, and I don't mean that in a cutting you down kind of way. I mean it in a 'damn, wish I was like that' way.
I appreciate all your comments. Based on some of the reactions this story has garnered, maybe there's a bigger conversation here. Do we as Americans take ourselves too seriously? Or do some of us not take ourselves seriously enough? I wrote this in hopes to continue blogging about the experience of living at home. My story isn't tragic or particularly unfortunate. I just thought it was funny. There are lessons I have learned and still more I need to learn and I appreciate learning with you all here-- whether you agree with my lifestyle or not, think I'm funny or think I'm a 'self-centered little airhead.' Thanks again for your comments and I hope you continue sharing your thoughts.

As for my Dad-- he has many redeeming qualities. They just don't make for as good a story.
Your dad is a true rebel and it's clear where you get it from! I say, never regret experiences you've had traveling and learning about the world. You'll find out what you want to do next, no worries.
I didn't mean to sound snarky; I should have realized that I DON'T know the dynamics and gone to another comment. Yes, keep blogging about being at home. I stayed at the parents for a long time, too, and could probably make some chuckles from it. I did like the part about the plane ticket.
Don't get me started the line if very fine from adulthood to childhood, most people use it as a jump rope of sorts.
My step-daughter is 22, employed and lives here at home. I'm 60, unemployed and have to pay the bills.