When Tommy Devito revealed last week that he still lives with his parents it was a point of ridicule. On the surface I admit, it’s a little hilarious — especially when you consider that Devito is already 25-years-old, and even more so when the major selling points for living at home are that you don’t have to do laundry, all your meals are made, and you have a hot tub waiting for you.
I’m not going to pretend I didn’t make jokes too, because we all join in on stuff like this when it happens — but over the last week my perspective has changed completely on this. I get it, I respect it, and it’s actually incredibly smart.
I left home at 18. I moved from Australia to North Carolina, accidentally attended the wrong college, and lived in an off-campus apartment with a friend of mine. I worked full time as the manager of a movie theater to cover my bills, and truthfully I think it set me up incredibly well to have a work ethic that has carried me through life.
Admittedly though, there are times I wish I stayed at home longer. My mom and dad are both getting older, and because I was so busy in my 20s keeping myself afloat I’d be lying if I said we were as close as we could be. Sure, I talk to them all the time — but there’s definitely a formative step I missed by not really transitioning into having adult conversations with my parents about their lives and their mistakes that I would have if I was closer to them. There’s also the reality that they’re in their lates 60s now, and and understanding that my time is naturally winding down with them.
This hit home especially hard because my mom was in town for her bi-yearly trip to see us, and she just left last week. Even as an adult it sucks to be without your mom.
There was this constant belief that working in college was my stepping stone. The path to setting myself up for adulthood, but Devito has already attained exactly what he dreamed of in playing professional football. Not only that, but he’s playing for his home team, as a rookie, at the most high-pressure job in sports.
Too often we deify pressure as a necessity. There’s this “forged by fire” mentality when it comes to how young adults are treated. That rarely actually works, and everyone would be better off with a little more help. Sure, if you’re a 1st round pick with the immediate financial resources to have an assistant handle all your errands for you, with a personal chef and a place bought outright with cash it’s one thing — but in the grand scheme of things Devito is not making the kind of money to afford that lifestyle.
Yes, $750,000 is an extraordinary amount of money to earn in a year — but after tax that’s whittled down greatly. It’s far from enough to set you up for life, so for Devito it’s about earning that next contract in 2024.
What better way to achieve that than invest all his energy into work in a nurturing, stable environment away from distraction? Devito has said his family’s home is just 12 minutes from MetLife Stadium, making it the perfect place with a short commute to work on his craft.
Say it doesn’t work out. Perhaps this is all a one-and-done year for Tommy Devito’s time in the NFL. If that’s the case he’s saved enough money by living at home to buy his own home in New Jersey, where the average price of a house is $495,846. At the very least he comes away from his year in professional football in a much better financial place than most people in their mid-twenties.
What if this turns into something more? What if having that environment around Devito causes him to excel, get another contract and become a long-term NFL player. Then he’s set up not just for this life, but generational wealth for those to come.
So while it might be worth a chuckle to goof on Tommy Devito living with his parents, in the long run it’s actually worth celebrating. He’s getting precious time with his parents that many of us would actually kill for as we get older, and it’s putting him in a place to excel.
We shouldn’t shame that just because it sounds “childish.” There’s no prize for struggling and dealing with distractions just to feign some version of “adulthood.” The only thing I’d tell Tommy is that maybe he should take his parents out for a nice meal or two while he’s there when the season is over. Oh, and make your own bed dude. It takes a few seconds every morning and it shows mom you care.