At 24 years old, and quickly approaching 25, I’m finding myself in the midst of a new chapter in my life that is causing me various moments of stress, anxiety, complete and utter joy, and staring blankly at the wall in front of me: I’m getting my first apartment.
At times, it has been a comedy of errors or revelations of “whoa, I didn’t think about that.” When cooking dinner on Tuesday evening, I did not realize until the moment that I stuck the pan with the frozen pizza in the oven that I did not have any potholders to get the thing back out when it was time to eat it. In fact, I was on the phone with my mother, asking if the “preheat” portion was really necessary to the cooking of the frozen pizza and, if so, when would I know that the oven was officially preheated.
Then, when wondering if I could use a towel to take the pizza out of the oven, I was a little bummed that the fire extinguisher that came with my apartment was not a full-sized one but a baby-sized one in case sticking a towel in the oven ended badly for me. Luckily for me, and for my neighbors, my apartment complex is still there and unsinged, just like I found it.
Before that, there were the numerous trips between my parents’ house and my apartment that spanned over three days, and the majority of my stuff is probably still at my parents’ house.
Then, my first morning there, I started making eggs for breakfast and then rushed to find a spatula in order to flip and cook the eggs. Before that moment, I had just been feeling proud of myself for remembering the skillet, the cooking spray, and the eggs.
Also, apartments are not hotels. You have to buy your own toilet paper and shower supplies. Luckily, I remembered that ahead of time. And by “I remembered,” I really mean “my mother remembered.”
Sure, I’m a little late to the “my first apartment” game since I graduated college in May 2013. I was one of those college graduates that shows like “Dr. Phil” and movies like “Failure to Launch” like to poke fun at. I was a Boomerang kid. Or Boomerang young adult. Something like that.
Either way, pop culture liked to make fun of people like me for being lazy, when really I was only unemployed for three months in the two years since I graduated. During those three months, I sent out well over 200 resumes and applications as well as did other odd jobs.
Boomerangs like myself can be more than our stereotypes due to some of the burdens and career troubles people in that situation may face. Student loan debt is still a dark cloud over many of our heads.
The total student loan debt outstanding was $304 billion in fall 2003, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s Quarterly Report on Household Debt and Credit in 2012. Since then, the total student loan debt has more than tripled. It surpassed $966 billion by the end of the fourth quarter of 2012. It then surpassed $1 trillion by the end of the second quarter of 2014, according to “15 economic facts about millennials,” a report published in Oct. 2014 by the Council of Economic Advisors on WhiteHouse.gov.
Having the time and space of living at home after college can also help many young adults get on track with the right career, whether using that time to pursue a master’s degree or to find a way to escape working retail, the latter being my experience.
While I’m looking forward to being mostly self-reliant these days, I will still miss having my parents around — who made pretty good roommates — to annoy or to watch “Big Brother” or “Friends” with. The new apartment experience is not lonely, but it is odd being alone at times. There is no one around to laugh at me when I’m scrambling to find a spatula, or when I’m toting way too many empty boxes around in the building’s elevator, or when I’m very alarmed at the size of the spider in the stairwell.
All in all, this Boomerang kid is finally going incognito, trudging headfirst into this new part of adulthood. A fact I will probably celebrate by having French toast for supper tonight.
Sam Wildow is a reporter for the Piqua Daily Call and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.