I remember back when I was in my early teens and I was in a hurry to grow up. At the time it seemed that there were just too many rules to live by in the borgo household that made me uncomfortable. There were chores to do like drying the dishes after dinner, taking out the trash, cleaning up my room and a whole host of other petty duties that were dreamt up on a whim and beneath my status as a know-it-all, cocksure youth ready to go out into the world and carve my way into it. There were curfews to live by, a dress code of sorts to abide by and a certain fear that arose when you had to ask permission from your parents to embark on a new adventure.
There were friends that were forbidden and the music that I listened to at the time usually invoked a stern “Will you PLEASE turn that shit down!” from my father. Politeness and respect for your elders was taught early on and look out if you gathered up the nerve to address anyone in a position of authority in such a way that would cause embarrassment to my folks.
At the time, I felt stifled. After all, when I turned eighteen, I was gonna make the world my oyster. There was no need for me to stick around with a bunch of control freaks who had nothing better to do with their own sorry lives than to make mine miserable. All I needed was the right set of circumstances to come along and I’d be able to plot my own course and determine my own fate.
It didn’t take long….
Nowadays I read about a recent phenomena occurring amongst the youth here in North America that’s come to be known as the “Boomerang Generation”. For the most part, these are kids who go off to college, get their degree and upon graduation decide that rather than strike out on their own, it’d be easier to return to the confines of their parent’s home.
I mean, who in their right mind would want to do their own laundry, cook their own meals or pay their own bills when mom and pop will do all that for them?
Not so recent studies conducted in Canada have shown that over forty percent of Canucks between the ages of 20 and 29 lived back home with mom and dad. What was once known as the empty nest syndrome has now given way to something that’s being called the “cluttered nest syndrome”.
I don’t know if we here in the States fare any better but my guess would be no.
There are two schools of thought when it comes to the topic of the Boomerang Generation. The first is that it’s a good thing. That by returning home these kids can form a more “adult relationship” with their parents and communicate with them on a more even level. That as the parents age, these children will be more attentive to their needs and not abandon them as they approach their golden years. That by continuing to live at home, these kids are able to save whatever money they make and have a nice little nest egg set aside for themselves when they finally strike out on their own. Some of these Boomerang Generation kids might stay at home until they're well into their 30s or 40s.
Granted, in today’s economy that might seem like the smart, sensible thing to do. As for me, I’m not holding my breath.
I’ve always thought that life, especially when you’re young, should be an adventure. It’s a time to explore the world for yourself and get your own bearings. Sure, there’s bound to be adversity along the way but in the end, I think adversity builds strength. I know you can’t measure character but you sure can build it and I don’t think it’s built by sitting at home staring at the tube with a Coke and bag of chips and your parents to keep you company.
Besides, who wants to have sex in their parents' house?
Back when I was young and somebody hit their mid twenties and was still living under their parent’s roof they were deemed a “loser”.
Times change and today maybe that’s too strong a term. Maybe there are practical reasons why somebody would choose that kind of lifestyle. I’m sure each situation is different and who am I do judge one person's particulars against another’s?
These days, as I quickly bear down on middle age, I can only recall the wild times I had as a youth. There was something daring about the freedom I enjoyed with my friends and the adventures we had when we were young and no longer subject to the approval of our parents. As I do, I recall them with a sense of fondness.
I certainly know I can’t repeat them and nor would I want to. Along the way, I guess a certain measure of contentedness has snuck up on me.
But at least I have some stories to tell.
I’m ok with that.