Last week, I wasn't able to post as often as I usually do because I was out doing thanksgiving-type stuff. We had a wee bit of family drama (who doesn't?) and the person who was in a snit and said they weren't coming did actually show up, and so we were thankful that all the usual participants were there.
Anyway, I was moving more stuff out of storage this weekend, and it reminded me of something that I think varies widely for environmental folks. In the interest of family harmony, I moved out as soon as I had a job, as I've mentioned before. But I know people who lived at home for years after they got a job in environmental consulting. Why? Well, first of all, it isn't exactly a high-paying job. But in addition (especially if you're working for an abusive company), you're not home except for weekends. And you're exhausted on the weekends, so you just sleep and get ready for the next week. Is it really worth paying for an apartment that you're not spending any time in?
This raises another, more general issue. When you move out, do you have some sort of option to move back in? In my case, once I was out, I was out. My mother told me that when I moved to my first apartment after college, she cried for about 10 minutes and then immediately started plotting ways to use the extra room. Bottom line: when I visit my parents, I am a guest. I sleep on a spare bed and I live out of a suitcase. When I moved out of a big apartment (think lots of furniture) and went ridiculously far away to grad school, I couldn't leave anything with my parents. I'm still paying the damn storage fees, which means that by this point it would have been cheaper to chuck everything and then re-purchase it (I'm a big salvation army shopper).
My SO, who came from a more privileged upbringing, is horrified by this. The "kids" rooms are theirs and I guess will always be. So if they move to a smaller apartment, they can stash the overflow in their old rooms. And if someone loses a job (a distinct possibility in this economy), it's easy to come home and retrench.
I never imagined that I would turn into a nomad. When I was younger, I thought I would come back from college, settle down close to my parents, get hitched, and never move again. But circumstances change, and now I've lived in three totally different regions in as many years, and my stuff is spread all over the place. My parents' house hasn't been my house for a long time, and nothing really feels like home right now. Maybe when I finally get rid of that storage space, one way or another...