Miri Gellert is one of more than 3.4 million young adults in the U.K. who still live at home — and she, for one, says that she has come to value the experience despite its inconveniences.
“I’ve been here for about nine years so I’ve gone through a whole different range of emotions dealing with the fact that I’m an adult living at home with my parents,” Gellert, 30, told the BBC. “The hardest thing is that adjustment period when you graduate university and you come back home and have to readjust to the fact that you felt like you were an adult going out whenever you want, and now you come home … They’re letting you live with them and therefore you can’t come and go as you please because it’s not a hotel and there has to be that level of respect.”
Gellert has been working full time as a singing teacher in north London and doesn’t pay rent, but her low pay means that she still cannot afford to live on her own. Her situation is not uncommon. According to the Office for National Statistics, more than 25 percent of adults between the ages 20 and 34 in the U.K. are living with their parents. Gellert says she’s fortunate in that she gets along quite well with her parents, whom she described as open, kind, and fun to be around. Speaking to BBC News, Gellert recalled how her mother reacted when she asked if her parents could make themselves scarce when she wanted to bring a boyfriend home.
“I ended up having this conversation with my mum: ‘Would it be OK if I have brought him back so he would be in the house but you wouldn’t meet him?’” said Gellert, laughing. “She said, ‘Yes, I’ll just check with your father.’” Over time, Gellert added, these kinds of conversations became easier.
“We kind of got to the stage where I’d say: ‘I’m going out. Full stop.’ And mum would say, ‘Okay, you’ll be back?’ Sometimes I’d say, ‘Yes,’ and sometimes I’d say, ‘No,’ and she’d be like: ‘Okay!’” said Gellert.
Her parents’ hospitality didn’t just extend to her. Gellert said that one of her boyfriends ended up living with them for for months, and that her sister and the man who is now her sister’s husband also shared the house with them for two years.
“It’s generally just a very welcoming household,” she explained. “I feel that we’ve got a lovely situation that’s arisen from a really difficult financial climate. I think I’ll look back on this time as some of the happiest years of my life. One never knows how long one’s going to have one’s parents around, and I really think that we’ve had such a beautiful relationship that’s come from that.”
Watch Gellert’s interview with BBC News below.