As My Hair Turns Gray, I Move Back Home

As My Hair Turns Gray, I Move Back Home

Story tools

A A AResize

Print

 

The other night, while brushing my hair, something alarmed me. In my thick black curls, I found a long silver hair. There was no mistaking it. Right there in the front of my head, the long silver hair had gone unnoticed for weeks.

Along with the hair was a little epiphany waiting to be discovered: I’m getting older. And, no, not just me. Everyone is getting older. Every second that passes brings us closer to an older version of ourselves. Hopefully, a smarter version--a version of us that has its shit in order--but eventually, a version that is weaker, closer to death.

The one gray hair was a catalyst for an unstoppable chain of realizations that I was not quite aware of until that moment. The aging process isn’t what scares me. It’s the feeling of running out of time. There is so much I want to do and if I’m lucky I will get 80-something-years do them in. I want to travel the world, get in a bare-knuckle boxing match. I want to write novels that my friends love. I want to run a marathon, learn how to play the piano, the harp, the saxophone, and be able to tie a cherry stem with my tongue. But when I’m drinking milk from the carton and fighting for couch space with the family dog, all my goals and ambitions seem far, far away.

Running out of things is a recurring theme of my life. Just last year, I ran out of money to pay my rent. My girlfriend moved out of our apartment and left me with bills to pay. Bills I couldn’t pay, so I didn’t. I moved back home with my father. That was a year ago, when I’m sure all my hair was black.

Back then, I was excited about life and I couldn’t get enough of it. Every cloud had a silver lining and the grass was always green everywhere, I was traveling the country like a real writer. At home I had an apartment and a girlfriend waiting for me. I grabbed life in handfuls like candy in barrels. I filled my lungs with it till my face was blue. I felt young and sharp.

Now, a year after moving back home, now that I’m finding the gray hair, I feel older, a little more bitter. Less Peter Pan and more Hook. I’m without excitement, like a candle burned, melted and stuck to a counter. Home should be where your heart is, but I made my own home and I lost it. I feel like my home doesn’t exist anymore. I can’t drink in bed or smoke out my windows. The person I was becoming when I was happy seemed to stop growing when I moved back home. I’m a man-child stuck in purgatory, with no easy way up or down.

Studies show that young people are moving back home more than ever. Due to the economy and high rent in major cities, more and more young people are finding themselves back in their childhood rooms—and that makes me feel a little better, but not much. That night in the mirror when I noticed the gray hair, I found myself older, chubbier, hairier, and most recently grayer.

When I was on my own I was always on the move. Always doing something. When I moved back it was too easy to slip back in to old habits: leaving my shit everywhere, not cooking for myself, growing stagnant like a manmade pond. Now all I’m good at is getting older.

The stigma of a young black man that lives at home is ever-present in my mind. Society doesn’t look kindly upon people who don’t “pull their own weight.”

I hate the pit in my stomach I get whenever cute girls at bars ask, "So where do you live?" The truth scurries to the deepest darkest corners of my mind so when I lie to them, I almost believe it myself. "I live in Daly City," I say, "with, um, roommates." Lies are a bad thing to start a relationship on, but so are twin-sized beds. The more they ask, the more I lie, the worse I feel.

I don’t want to live like this but my options are slim. As a 22-year-old black man with no high school diploma, statistically I should be in much worse shape. It ain’t as bad as it could get, but it’s as bad as it is.

I do love my father. He has been the biggest role model and inspiration in my life. But I know he wants me to succeed. I know he wants me to be happy and I know he can see that I’m not. He’s done nothing but support me and everything I do. I know it hurts him to see me unhappy.

Most of my friends live at home. We always get together and talk about getting a loft in Oakland, but pipe dreams bust due to the pressure of life. No one I know is focused enough to actually follow through with the idea. Most people seem content with their living situation. Why move out when you basically live in a hotel for free? But in my heart, I know I want more than that. I need my own space. If I am going gray, and if I do have to age, I would like to do it gracefully and alone.

Related Articles:

Leaving Home Reeks of Defeat and Selfishness

Four Generations Under One Roof