Keeping It Real: Living With Roommates As An Adult
Short of getting married, moving back in with your parents, or buying one too many cats, roommates are an adult’s best option for financial solvency and staying sane.
Golden Girls is one of our all-time favorite shows. And if you’re being honest with yourself, I’ll bet it’s one of yours too. Dorothy, Rose, Blanche, and Sophia had a unique chemistry that balanced snarky one-liners with true friendship. Their harmony was based on the tacit understanding that life is short and getting shorter every day. Therefore, they mutually agreed, why not spend it with your friends?
Revisiting Golden Girls as an adult is strangely familiar. The show has aged shockingly well for a comedy series. It’s interesting how well this group of golden girls embodies shifting contemporary attitudes toward aging, sex, and cohabitation. Unlike its central characters this show doesn’t feel old at all. In fact, most of the struggles the ladies face are actually pretty similar to the daily problems that all of have to deal with in our personal lives and in our relationships with our roommates. These women annoy each other to no end. They gripe. They nag. They deceive. Their tempers are about as short and hot as an elderly chihuahua woken abruptly from its nap. But in the end, they genuinely cared for one another, proving that you’re never too old to be weird with your friends and pool together rent money.
Unfortunately, Golden Girls is a television show, not the daily lives of my neighbors. As such, we all knew that everything would always turn out okay in the end. These women were united! Indestructible! Life is a little more complicated, especially as we get older. A lot of the stuff we put up with when we’re 19 becomes unbearable when we’re actual adults with actual jobs and actual bills and actual relationships. But we’re usually willing to do so if it means saving money and staving off loneliness.
Conventional wisdom tells us that people usually hop off the roommate carousel when they enter into a successful career or when they get married. However, a lot of young professionals are weighted down by crippling student loans. Couple that with the fact that modern generations are increasingly disinterested in the institution of marriage, and you have a massive subsection of single, broke Americans looking for a way to live affordably and make a few friends. As such, millions of professional adults flock to online classifieds or roommates.com to find the perfect roommate. Like younger versions of themselves, they’re looking for living partners who are ambitious, adventurous, and above all clean! However, there are a few additional attributes that older adults should be looking for when seeking out the best possible roommate.
- Career Success: An individual’s professional prospects don’t necessarily encapsulate their identity, but it’s important that whomever you choose to live with as an adult has similar goals as you. Make sure that your roommate is gainfully employed, keeps regular hours, and is willing to help out with financial contributions that exceed just chipping in for rent. There’s nothing more annoying than tiptoeing around the house when you’re trying to get around for work because your roommate is passed out on the couch with a soggy bowl of cereal slowly soaking his bathrobe. Additionally, having a successful roommate is great because you can both experience life to the fullest without having to feel bad about leaving your friend behind. You can go to the same bars, the same concerts, the same weekend trips, etc., which will bring you closer and make you better roommates
- Relationship Status: This is a tricky one because it’s always subject to change. If you’re single and looking to mingle, it’s probably wise to team up with someone in the same boat. There’s nothing more beneficial than an experienced wingman. Plus, this way you can be fairly certain that you won’t be dealing with a freeloading significant other on a regular basis. However, if you’re in a relationship yourself but not ready to move in with your main squeeze, it’s probably best to find a roomie who’s also involved. You immediately gain a built-in double date tandem, and you’ll avoid an imbalance in interests and symbiosis with your roommate.
- Health and Eating Habits: This is one that most of us never would have considered when we were younger, which helps explain the “Freshman 15.” As we get older and our unchanged eating habits from our 20s starts to show, many of us take a serious interest in our health and fitness. We get gym memberships, shop at Whole Foods, and cut down on our drinking. If you’re serious about keeping fit, you should look for a roommate that shares your exercise and eating habits. Trips to the gym become a lot more bearable when you have someone holding you accountable, and eating nutritious meals makes a lot more sense when you’re cooking for two. Most importantly, there’s a lot less shame breaking down and giving in to a bag of Reese’s when you have an accomplice.
There’s nothing embarrassing about an adult who has roommates. It shows that you’re pragmatic, humble, frugal, and adaptable – all extremely attractive features to other adults. But moving in with someone doesn’t mean that you need to revert back to the debauchery of your youth. Be practical, focus on your career, and try not to take yourself too seriously along the way.