Home and Hustle


“How’s the apartment hunt going,” I asked.

“It’s not,” he responded, looking up from his laptop.

“Oh,” I said, not really sure how to respond. Talking future plans, moves, and finances can be a bit touchy. He picked up on my tone and eased the atmosphere with a chuckle.

“I mean I’d probably be more pressed if my parents didn’t live here,” he said “but since I have somewhere to go, I’m holding out for the idea spot.” It made a lot of sense, it was part of the reason I was still living with my parents.

Once upon a time, living at home after a certain age was taboo. You can argue that folks still side eye 25 year-olds who stay with mom, but in a time where “recession” is a buzz word and unemployment rates make headlines, the push to be on independent isn’t very strong. Not to take away from the facts and stats, but I’m wondering how many of us are home because of the market, and how many of us are home because we can be.

Of course when you’re in it, you don’t really see yourself as just coasting. But a trip to visit friends in NY left me questioning how much I’d accomplished since I’d been home. When I was on my own, I hustled extra hard. I had a lot of bills to pay and a lot of extra curriculars that needed funding. When I got back to Cali I started thinking one of my favorite sayings: Go hard or go home. It’s one of those “if you can’t take the heat, get out of the kitchen,” type of phrases that people kind of throw around, but I questioned whether it’s possible to go hard when you are home. Like really, what’s your motivation?

I did the whole move out at 18 thing. There were no other options. That was part of the plan. You graduate high school, got to college, graduate from college, get a job, and live forever as an adult who is super busy but remembers to make visits home. Well, I left the West Coast and did four Midwest winters for a degree before moving to New York. Then my dad got sick and I moved home. He got better and I stayed home. At first I felt some kind of way about being twenty-something and back in the house where I grew up, but then I stopped tripping. After all, it wasn’t like what I was doing was abnormal.

Some older folks were complaining and sociologists were talking about redefining adulthood while analysts were pointing to the economy, but no matter the reasons or how people felt about it my generation was moving back. Suddenly being home was an option and the new norm put me at ease. Yeah, I could go hard and find a spot that wasn’t quite as dope as my room with my parents, or I could wait for something fly. Just like I could take a job that paid more money but had nothing to do with why I went to school. I could do it all in the name of “the hustle” or “the grind.” But just like my homie, I had somewhere to go. That promised roof and those guaranteed meals meant I had a bit more room and time to explore. It meant I could save up my money. It meant I could pay down my credit cards. And I could do it all without stressing myself too much.

It’s a good setup but there’s the risk of getting too comfortable. And who hustles when they are comfortable? Yes, you should always want more for yourself, but how does that road to “more” and the time it takes to get there change when you are cool with where you are? The things that we identify with hustle, like losing sleep and working multiple jobs to survive while building your small business on the side, are often linked to a need that isn’t present when you have the crutch of home. The pressure to find investors because you’ll be out of an apartment if the money doesn’t start rolling in doesn’t exist. Upping the number of cover letters you submit each day is a bit more pressing when you’re trying to make rent. My guess is that you’re more likely to take that extra shift when you want go on a road trip and your light bill is due. Without those worries you have space to explore and grow without being super stressed. But those are the worries that motivate.

So is it safe to say that home is where your heart is and where your hustle is not?

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  • i live in new york city, on my own. i moved out when i was 17 and havent looked back since…. and i could move home, but i refuse. in my opinion, using the recession or looking for the ideal job is bullshit. when i graduated, i lived with friends, for a month until i was kicked out. no job, no apartment, nothing. but i refused to move home. i have moved out and i was going to assert myself in the real world. so i lived with another friend for a month until i found a new job, then rotated to another set of friends until i had saved up enough money to rent my own little room. worked that job for a year, until i found a better job, then stacked my bread until i had enough cash to move into my own one bedroom spot here in manhattan. dont tell me about a recession. mickey d’s is always hiring, cvs is always hiring. i have friends with college degrees who ‘refuse’ to work in retail or work a job that isnt related to their major, preferring to live at home and mooch off mommy and daddy. but i feel thats a copout. if you want to be independent, get a job, get a place, and be a grown up. work a job to pay the bills and keep working on your main motivation until the pieces fall into place, and, if they dont, reasses your career path. if youre over 25 and live at home, there’s a problem


    • MurkyEarth

      The recession hit a LOT of people hard and there are more jobs lost in this country than jobs gained. Just look how desperate people are in Baltimore to get a job at McDonalds. two people got ran over and there was a huge fight all over applications. Personally I’m home and I’m 28 and I contribute to the household bills. Maybe because I’m a homebody in the first place I don’t see it -that- big of a deal that I’m stressing over it. I definitely want to leave and lord willing and no detrimental things happening in the next year, I would have saved up enough for a deposit with 3 months rent and furniture. I have a great relationship with my mom so I don’t think it’s the worse thing in the world to be here. Do I want to leave? Yes! Am I ready to go do spread my wings again? Yes! But I’m not going to step out for prides sake and suffer because I’m 28 and I’m ‘too old’ to be home. I’m blessed to have a mom that I get along with and a mom that doesn’t try to take all of my money ( I know a few people like this) and is totally understanding that I’m trying to save up so I’m never back. I don’t look down on me or anyone that’s back with their parents to save up to move out.

  • Becca

    I’m caught between the middle of moving out or staying at home. I look at my mounting student loan debt and I feel like I’ll never make it out on my own paying rent, gas, light, etc, etc but then I see everyone around me out on their own and I wish I could do the same. But I also see them struggling each month to make just pay rent and their car note and I feel luck my parents are letting me stay at home.
    Maybe I’m a late bloomer and will give up late nights for peace of mind and money in my pocket.