Parent Trap

at 12:35 AM

Since moving back home after graduating from college in June, I've noticed a swift and unsettling change. One day I'm living on the beach at UC Santa Barbara, riding to class on my cruiser without a helmet. Next thing you know, I'm trading in flip-flops for orthotics, sipping warm milk in place of wine and listening to NPR.  

How did I let this happen? At school, I downed coffee on weeknights and Coors on weekends. But rooming with my parents again has changed me from care-free senior to senior citizen. I now take all advice about my health as if it came straight from the AARP. The potential for skin cancer never seemed too menacing when I was sunbathing on the bluffs in Southern California, but a week with the parental roommates warning me against UV rays and picking at their sun spots, I'm now donning my mom's straw hat - and worse, thinking I look good in it!

I eat a half-pint of blueberries daily for the anti-oxidants, a few servings of lentils for all that fiber and have started popping multi-vitamins again. Magnesium deficiency is nothing to toy with, as I've learned from Web M.D.

But I shouldn't complain about this alternative lifestyle. I haven't been hung over since graduation and reading the news everyday is oddly illuminating. My parents and I have taken to eating every dinner on the back deck, where my mother never misses an opportunity to exclaim over her new flowerbeds. I take two-hour hikes with my mom in the morning and then two-hour naps in the afternoon, to compensate for the effort. Plus, the more I do with her, the more she treats me to iced lattes.

I still see the social value of a night out with 20-somethings at a dive bar. I even still long for that cute leather purse on Pinterest; so my old self hasn't completely fallen by the wayside. And I know there's an expiration date on my time here, as I'll be moving to Spain to teach English in September. I worry that before then, though, the practical draw of a fanny pack will be too much to resist, and I'll have officially aged 30 years, just by living two months at home.

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With a Perspective, I'm Jenny Marshall.

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Jenny Marshall has just graduated from the University of California, Santa Barbara.

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