Takeaways From Living at Home
After graduating from college, I moved back home to live with my family in NYC.
So far, it’s served me well. I’ve been here for 6 years and counting, except for a brief stint living with my friends last summer.
Before I expand on the benefits, let me check my privilege at the door. I’m fortunate to have this option at all. I know it’s not available to everyone.
That being said, these are relevant takeaways that you can apply in any circumstance, whether or not living at home is a viable option.
Cherish quality time
First and foremost, it gave me quality time with my parents as an adult.
This was especially important because I wasn’t home for the majority of my formative years. I spent a decade away - 6 years in boarding school and 4 years in college.
When I moved back, I wasn’t a child anymore. Now that we were both adults, our dynamic evolved. We went from a parent-child relationship to being peers.
We developed mutual trust. They learned to respect my decisions and I learned to be more responsible. We took care of each other instead of it being one-sided. They became advice-takers as much as advice-givers. We were equals now.
It was beautiful to watch this new relationship blossom. Sure, there were growing pains but we grew a lot closer as a result. Now, they are some of my closest confidantes.
I’m grateful for this period because I know it will be short-lived. You spend the lion’s share of your time with family in your growing years. Once you’re an adult, it only gets rarer. It becomes scarce as you get busy with your own life - career, partner and your eventual family.
Takeaway: Time with your loved ones is limited. It’s not evenly distributed over your life, either. Cherish it while you have it.
How you can apply it: even if you don’t live with them, you can intentionally carve out time every few weeks/months/years to visit your loved ones.
Extend your runway
Living with my family and having minimal expenses drastically extended my runway.
First, it allowed me to build a safety net when working at Google. Second, it keeps my burn rate low while I’m bootstrapping my business.
As a result, I can virtually do this forever.
This was a crucial part of the strategy, given that entrepreneurship is inherently risky.
Success isn’t guaranteed on the first attempt. In order to win, you need to keep at it. But if you run out of time or resources too early, you won’t have enough shots on goal to give it a real go.
Takeaway: For long-term games, prioritize your ability to just stay in the game. Time in the market beats timing the market.
How you can apply it: even if staying at home isn’t a viable option, you can extend your runway by living frugally or supplementing your venture with an income-generating activity.
Optimize your environment
Staying at home also had an impact on my general wellbeing.
Unlike most other parts of NYC, my neighborhood is quiet and full of greenery. I get a lot of mileage out of this. I go on daily walks to decompress, reflect on the business or contemplate on my life. This is great for my mental health.
There are fewer distractions, too. There isn’t much noise to interrupt my thinking. It’s also far enough from Manhattan that I’m not tempted to be social on the weekdays, but close enough to go at a moment’s notice if necessary. This allows me to focus on work and build momentum during the week, while being able to prioritize friends and fun on the weekend.
Finally, it’s a known variable. We’ve been in the house since I was born, so it’s well settled into. I don’t need to worry about uprooting myself every few years and dealing with moving, furnishing and settling into a new place. This means more time to spend on what’s important.
And I’m not going to lie… the home-cooked meals don’t hurt either. Honestly, they might just be the best part.
Compare this to my living in Manhattan last summer. I had significantly more fun, but it came at a cost to my larger goal of financial independence. I was distracted by friends, new experiences and moving in/out in a short period.
To be clear, I don’t regret it in the slightest. I knew going in that it wouldn’t be sustainable. That’s why the plan was only temporary to begin with. But the point is: you can’t have it all. You have to choose your priorities.
Takeaway: Choose your environment wisely - it greatly influences your daily life. Each option has its unique tradeoffs - pick the one that aligns with your current priorities.
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P.S: You can find more of my thoughts on Twitter @_suketk.