‘A special kind of hell’

Graduating Home - Joshua Awolade online

Graphic by Joshua Awolade

For the first time since I graduated high school, I am living with my parents again. While I am not alone in this endeavour, it feels like a special kind of hell.

I avoided my small hometown and stayed in Waterloo for at least part of every summer. Moving back home for potentially another year strikes fear into my heart. Thankfully the feeling is mutual between my parents and I.

My mother, on the topic of me moving back home, told me, “It’s not that I’m not pleased, it’s just that you’ll be cramping my style.”

Don’t worry mom, you’re cramping my style as well.

My high school self was a total brat and could not hold a conversation with my parents without it turning into a screaming match. Since then I’ve learned how to communicate with them like an adult; I am trying to be more respectful of their wants and expectations while they are trying to be more respectful of my need for independence.

My mother, bless her heart, is a typical Italian mother: slightly paranoid, but means well.

I constantly receive a barrage of interrogation-style questions about my whereabouts, friends, what I’m eating, what I’m wearing and how the weather is, among various other topics. When I show annoyance with all these questions, we begin to argue.

It usually ends with me giving up and going to play The Sims 3. That family is doing great, by the way.

While it’s easy to just devolve into the dynamic we had in high school, it’s not healthy.

I have always been a headstrong and independent person, and I stopped asking for permission to do things at 16. Now I have to learn to not automatically rely on my parents for everything and instead continue solving my own problems.

Ultimately, it seems like the biggest adjustment has been a complete lack of transportation and my sudden lack of a social life.

My small town does not have a public transportation system, and if I need to get anywhere, I have to walk or drive — which normally would not be an issue but I don’t drive yet. It’s incredibly awkward having to ask your parents to drive you to your friend’s house at the age of 22. On the bright side, there is absolutely nothing to do in my town, so the embarrassment is thankfully rare.

Worse than having no public transportation is no one being in town. My friends are scattered everywhere: some in Waterloo, some back home and some all over Ontario.

Seeing friends now involves a lot of planning beforehand — no more calls asking if your friend is bored and wants to go to Wilf’s. Now we all have to work around schedules, prior engagements and the distance between us.

Ultimately, moving back home is a big (and hopefully temporary) adjustment, but hey, I don’t have to cook for myself anymore so it’s not as bad as it could be.

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