First, let me make it VERY clear that I’m aware no one says dude anymore, but I just don’t care. You can take the boy out of California but..
Secondly, I’m constantly amazed by the number of people who find it interesting (or even odd) that I still live with my family. The truth is, I feel blessed that our family can live under the same roof without killing each other (most of the time)!
Every single family is different and I get that. Ours is different – in that we are more like best friends than relatives. We’ve been through so much drama, trauma and change that we could create an award-winning television series, a series of children’s books and a Broadway play. We’ve supported each other when the rug gets pulled out from under each other – I can’t tell you how many times I’ve driven across country to help someone move or flown out to get them and bring them back home. We’ve been there when relationships go south. We’ve been a shoulder to cry on. We’ve become professionals when it comes to giving someone emergency money and PayPal loves us. And if you’re a friend (or a friend of a friend), we treat you like family. You always have a place to go if you need it. That’s what family does, and we wouldn’t have it any other way. I can’t tell you how many times my friends from school would come over to my house and say “damn, can I move in with you guys? I love it here.”
My immediate family is big – I am one of five siblings – and we were always raised to support each other no matter what. If you can’t rely on your family, then who else is there? And we naturally seem to follow each other around the country, so support is never too far away. When you fall, you rarely fall very far before someone is there to help you get your shit back together.
I currently live in Portland, Oregon with two of my siblings and my mother. Until a few days ago, I was the primary breadwinner through a series of events. My mother is “retired” because the job market sucks and we made an agreement that I would pay her bills if she kept the house in order (cleaning, doing laundry, etc.) My youngest sister and her adorable daughter moved in to start their lives over and my brother moved in recently so we can save up some money and either rent a bigger house or (hopefully) buy a place to officially put down roots here.
The more common name for our situation is “multi-generational family household,” and this type of living is actually more popular than you might think. A 2010 study by Pew Research Center suggests that “as of 2008, a record 49 million Americans, or 16.1% of the total U.S. population, lived in a family household that contained at least two adult generations or a grandparent and at least one other generation.” The study also points out that in other parts of the world, including Latin America and Asia, it’s more common for multiple generations of the same family to live under the same roof. A recent article in the Guardian said Italians are more commonly living under the same roof.
Obviously, some of the upward trending is due to the economy, increased costs of living and other circumstances.
So, while family roommates don’t work for everyone, it works for us. Don’t be hatin’.