Multigenerational Living: Why My Unorthodox Living Situation Works
Ed. note: This column was written in collaboration with fellow columnist Halsey Blocher for SMA Awareness Month. Read about her experiences with multigenerational living and how the two stories intersect at ”From Where I Sit.”
It was another Friday night at the beach this summer, and I was in my element. An ocean breeze gently grazed my skin. The sun was low in the sky and radiated its last rays of warmth across my face. Live music from the Tiki bar in the distance made me feel like I was in Margaritaville. I could not have been more content when, suddenly, a nagging thought popped into my head — one I grapple with from time to time.
“It’s a Friday night, and I’m with my parents,” I thought to myself. Discontentment crept in as I grew irritated by the thought. Shouldn’t I be out with friends instead? Shouldn’t I be more independent than living with Mom and Dad and going out with them on a Friday night? Talk about a killjoy.
I understand there is no rule book for life, but I often feel pressured by societal standards that tell me to follow an unofficial timeline according to my age. After all, I’m a 30-year-old working woman. I’m driven and responsible. I have my own definition of independence. All signs point to the fact that I should live on my own. But when I think more objectively, and when I factor in my unique circumstances and different housing options, I realize that I choose to live at home. And that’s OK.
I often keep these internal wars to myself, because when I voice them, I get a variation of the same response from people.
“Your situation is different, though,” they try to assure me. And they’re absolutely right. It is different. I won’t negate that. However, the option of living outside of my parents’ home still exists. When others assume that living at home is my only option, I feel boxed in, as though I don’t have as much autonomy as I originally thought.
Interestingly enough, my friend and co-worker here at SMA News Today, Halsey Blocher, has had an entirely different experience. Whereas people assume I have to live at home, others suggest to Halsey she should consider moving out. Despite these polar opposite reactions to our living arrangements, both responses equally frustrate us in their own ways.
Halsey and I were recently discussing this idea of multigenerational living, which is how these crossover columns came to fruition. We didn’t realize how two similar situations could elicit two vastly different experiences. This made us continue into a conversation about how everyone with SMA has a unique lifestyle and must choose what is best for them. Unfortunately, not everyone will be as supportive or understanding.
For me (and Halsey), living at home is a choice I have independently made. It isn’t because my options are limited or because I don’t have a choice in the matter.
The truth is I choose every single day. I am incredibly fortunate and grateful for my living situation. I have two loving and supportive parents (and the two cutest golden retrievers) who respect my independence as an adult even though I live under their roof. We get along. We have fun at the beach on Friday nights. Most importantly, we are a team, and this lifestyle works for us right now.
Even so, this doesn’t suggest I’m incapable of living outside my parents’ home. It simply means I am making the best choice for myself (and my parents) given our current situation. Of course, as time goes by, these arrangements will inevitably change. But for now, I trust my choice to live at home. I trust that my unorthodox living situation will serve me well.
How do you feel about multigenerational living? Please share in the comments below.
Note: SMA News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of SMA News Today, or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to spinal muscular atrophy.