I Live With Roommates at 37; the Perks Outweigh My Embarrassment

The first time I had roommates, I was 19 and in college. I was one of four residents of a rundown house where in-room dining was the norm and piles of crusty dishes were simply part of the decor.

Although moving was considered a rite of passage into adulthood, I was relieved to return to my parents’ comfortable five-bedroom suburban home.

However, returning to my mid-30s after the breakup of a long-term relationship didn’t seem as cute to me. I felt like I had failed in life, with no tangible assets – or offspring – to my name.

Moving back to my parents made me feel like an overgrown teenager.

I discovered that when I returned home, I had naturally regressed to my adolescent state. I spent a lot of time in my room, answering questions about where I was going, and becoming discouraged when my millennial TV tastes were met with loaded sighs.

Of course, I was grateful for the more than generous family rate applied to my rent, but I felt like I had lost some of my independence.

Due to the soaring cost of living in England, renting alone was out of the question for me as a single self-employed person.

After all, according to the Office of National Statistics (ONS), average rent prices in England rose by almost 9% in the year to February 2024, the biggest annual percentage rise since the start of recorded in 2015.

Eventually, I started to consider home sharing as an option

One day, while browsing Facebook, I came across a post from a 39-year-old woman looking for a roommate.

In her post, she described her lifestyle and interests to increase her match chances. Although I wasn’t quite ready for this type of dating app-based approach to house hunting, I was pleasantly surprised to find that there were other older singles who, for all kinds of reasons, were blocked by the current real estate market.

So at the age of 36, I started toying with the idea of ​​sharing a house and finding roommates.

I looked at a handful of places where homeowners aged between 30 and 50 were looking for tenants, and ultimately settled on a residence in a bustling Birmingham suburb.

Moving in with my roommates was one of the best decisions I could have made

Cat and her two male roommates pose in front of a mirror wearing masks and pajamas.

In a way, we make an unlikely trio.

Cat Thompson

My landlord is a 37 year old man from Romania and also offers a room to a 29 year old Ukrainian refugee. In some ways we’re an unlikely trio, but we constantly talk and laugh about our differences.

Having roommates as an adult is a little different than when I was younger. As an adult, I refuse to leave passive-aggressive Post-It notes claiming my food. Instead, I prefer to note posts offering my leftovers.

Now, halfway through my six-month contract, I know that sharing a house is the best decision I could have made given my situation.

Naturally, sharing a house means I don’t have to worry about shouldering the full burden of rental costs which, according to ONS figures, average around £1,300 a month in England.

Of course, it’s still more expensive than living with my parents. But I get more than just a room.

I can choose to accept independence and times of solitude while still having the opportunity to socialize or break up a tedious work week with movie nights, low-key dinners, and even indulge in my new love for board games.

Cat and her roommate are playing chess on a beanbag.  The cat is holding a glass of red wine.

My roommates and I love having game nights.

Cat Thompson

Since moving into my shared accommodation, I have opened myself up to new social circles, I learned that I was terrible at chess and developed a fondness for red borscht after a culinary meal. introduction to Eastern European cuisine.

It’s those humbling moments when sharing a home feels less like bridging a gap and more like blazing a path — even if I don’t have any plans to move yet.


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