If there is one thing that will destroy your self esteem once and for all it is being thrown back into your old single bed in your parents house after living independently for a few years.
The mattress that was so hard to leave during the mornings of your teenage years now feels lumpy and uncomfortable, even though you’ve been living in cheaply furnished rented accommodation in far more uncomfortable beds. But still with every toss and turn you feel that jolt of fear as you nearly fall off the side for the fourth time that night.
The room is a strange mix of the old things you didn’t deem important enough to take with you when you moved out, general junk, and your parent’s rarely used gym equipment. You will sit watching out the window at night time longing for your redhead best friend to arrive in a flying car and take you away…wait. No that’s something else.
Anyway, the ‘adult things’ that you struggled with whilst living on your own are now gone. Things like cooking for yourself, paying rent and thinking for yourself.
In theory this means you have time to focus on your career, saving for a mortgage and all those really important things that you just couldn’t manage because you were too preoccupied thinking about how to change lightbulbs and when Sainsburys shuts on a Sunday. What it actually means is there is plenty more time to procrastinate and procarbinate (that’s wasting time by stuffing as many carbs as possible into your body).
The creative projects that seemed important enough that you would abandon your life to fund them are on are put on hold as you are too busy trying to finish that really important boxset.
There’s the thrilling weekly trip to the supermarket which you are invited to, but other than that you start to get used to the 4 walls of your bedroom and make plans to turn it into a beautiful haven with brand new furniture just as soon as you can get a job.
When you first left the city to move back with your parents your friends would message constantly. There would be offers of sofas to sleep on, there were a wealth of sad face emojis, and each Facebook status was met with “Miss you xx”. That soon dries up because people continue to live their lives even though you’ve put yours on ice while you pay off your horrendous credit card debt – which is selfish really, how dare they LIVE.
Now you are lucky if creepy Ethan (who thinks you are soulmates because you were once in the same bar and coffee shop in one day) messages to say you should take a trip back for his birthday.
You start to fear that returning, once you are financially (and mentally) stable, will be pointless because you will be friendless. So you devote your time to becoming really skilled in online farming games and The Sims, in the hope of making a successful life somewhere other than reality.
When you finally have the glimmer of hope that a job interview brings, you realise that you’ve been wearing the same oversized orange jumper for weeks and any suitable clothes are lost somewhere between your new wardrobe, various suitcases and the boxes you haven’t unpacked in the garage. You end up wearing your Mum’s clothes and feel both wildly uncomfortable and a little like you are playing dressup, which is kind of fun.
Any professional skills you once had have dropped out of your head and you are a frightened 14 year old again. The idea of getting any job other than one where you can walk round in a daze, dreaming about your virtual farm is petrifying.
You speak to the smattering of friends that still text you back and they all reply the same, “You’re great. Any job is lucky to have you”. You don’t believe them. The only people you believe anymore is the Chief Farmer who guides you through new levels on your farm game and various Instagram quote accounts.
The quote accounts urge you to suppress any negative feelings you have ever had, or any feelings ever because people will only love you if you plaster a huge smile on your face and never express any emotion other than pure glowing joy. Emotions and opinions are, of course, deeply unattractive, so you follow their advice and become a big empty smile.
You start to look on the bright side and tell yourself that you are making progress – At least you are used to sleeping in a single bed and haven’t rolled off in at least a week.
Despite the overwhelming positives you are experiencing at home like time to watch Game of Thrones for the 7th time round and a big carby face from their being bread available that hasn’t gone mouldy, you still spend hours scouring through Rightmove trying to find a one bedroom flat with enough space for you, no damp patches, close to the city centre and for £10 rent a month.
It doesn’t exist, so you finally make peace with the idea of becoming a virtual farmer for a few more months.