We could go on forever about all of the glorious parts about being home. It’s where the heart is — as well as the freedom from washing our own dishes. We get to spend time with our parents, and more importantly our dog, while dodging the responsibilities that weigh so heavily on us during our time at UC Berkeley. The luxury of never having to make our own meals combined with being coddled by our mothers makes the idea of moving back home extremely appealing. However, staying at home comes at a price, and spending winter break at home has reminded us all of the sweet freedom that we often take for granted. As social contract principle dictates, we trade home-cooked meals for compromised personal freedoms and liberties.
Being home helps us realize how much we value little liberties, such as not wearing a jacket if we don’t want to. While it may be unwise to leave the house without a second layer when there’s an 80 percent chance of rain in the afternoon, we’ll gladly risk hypothermia to exercise self-determination. If we’re going to be freezing cold all day, at least it’s because we made the decision ourselves.
Our autonomy in clothing choice extends beyond just outerwear. During our time at home, we’re faced with the difficult decision of foregoing our inappropriate outfit choices or being lectured about the danger of plunging necklines. Wearing modest and unflattering turtlenecks beats dealing with our mother’s unavoidable lecture admonishing our scandalous wardrobe. According to her, low-cut tops will lead to a chest cold and inevitably death. How she’s able to make such connections is beyond us, so it’s better to take the L with this liberty to avoid such judgement.
We’ve grown grossly narcissistic since living on our own, and visiting home was a wake up call to the many dietary choices that we make for ourselves on a daily basis. There’s no such thing as a free lunch, or in this case, there’s no such thing as a judgement-free lunch. We can eat whatever crap we want without caring about a watchful eye. If we want to eat five Pop-Tarts and a spoonful of peanut butter for breakfast, then we can. There’s got to be protein and fiber somewhere in there — stop judging. Obviously, we would rather have a hot meal most of the time, but our bodies have adapted to thrive off of processed junk food. Taking that away from us now leaves us with the shakes as a result of withdrawal. The hot and hearty meals that we’re fed at home were an absolute godsend, but our food pyramid is alarmingly upside down, and nothing that our parents say can change that.
At home, we actually have to be considerate of how our needs fit in with other peoples’ schedules. Apparently, coming home at 2 a.m. doesn’t fly with our parental units, and we can be sure they’ll let us know. During our time at school, we can barge through the door at 2 a.m. as retribution for our roommate doing so last Friday night. Whereas on the homestead, we lack the prerogative to disrupt everyone with a healthy sleeping pattern. We’re forced to abide by the enforced curfew that we were once prisoners to in high school.
Compromised liberties aside, we would gladly trade plunging necklines, unbalanced diets and late nights to be at home once again.