Friday, March 16, 2012

Independent Thinkers

I was reading an article in the Christian Science Monitor today about “boomerang kids” – adults who move back home with their parents after living away for either school or work.

The article says that the move back home is an upward trend. And it claims, “surprisingly, most ... don’t mind living with mom and dad.” The trend, according to the article, has taken hold because of poor employment options and economic situations. Adults without families of their own move home to save money, not live in squalor and to stay off the government doll.

Then, the article takes a more sinister tone. It says, “it also means young adults are caught in a murky phase between adolescence and adulthood.” They ended the article with a quote from the co-author of Not Quite Adults: Why 20-Somethings Are Choosing a Slower Path to Adulthood and Why It's Good for Everyone, Barbara Ray. Ray states, “‘If the “launch” feels blocked for too long, will this generation's optimism curdle into bitterness and skepticism? .... Will a ding to their wages at an important juncture haunt them for years? Will a generation that has been told they can be and do anything – without many challenges as of yet – be resilient enough to withstand this setback? .... Only time will tell.’”

After reading this article, I felt bothered. Whatever happened to adaptation? In nature is the rule not, those who do not adapt to their surroundings die? Why should these adults choose a path that has led others to financial ruin?

I am mixed into a generation who have been told that you go to college (usually with a loan or two), get a job, and if that job keeps you where your parents live, you get a place of your own with a roommate or two. Then, you begin to pay back those student loans and use all those credit cards that you signed up for in the student union to fund your living habit of buying “entertainment” like expensive clothes, going out on the town, etc. Once you get into your late twenties/early thirties, the only roommate you should have is a live-in whatever (if you’re not married). Don’t forget the car with the exorbitant payment too.

Those who do not follow that model get shunned. Funny thing is is that many of the above wouldn’t be able to find independence in a paper bag.

As someone who did not follow my peers down a path most of them later regretted, I applaud these adults. They are thinking independently of the institutionalization that was force fed to them.

Multigenerational households are more prevalent in other cultures than in this modern American culture. Some cultures live with their parents during their married lives as well. Does this make them less of an adult? Are they not able to be responsible for themselves and the decisions they make? To suggest such things is preposterous. Even in America, somewhere in our distant memories, multigenerational homes were commonplace. Today, this practice lives on among many of America’s “old families.”

What this article failed to recognize is that independence begins in the mind. Living with your parents as an adult is completely different than it was as a child. The dynamic has changed. You are now a group of adults who share living quarters. Adolescence is more commonly found in middle aged men, single or not, who play video games to their hearts’ content. Even if these “kids” contribute very little financially to the household, they are ahead of the curve.

In this economy, it may take a while for adults young and old to be financially independent. However, intellectual independence already has taken hold. Survival of the fittest is the way of the world. The generation about whom Ray expresses concern will be better off in the long run because they found sufficient shelter to weather this storm.

Money, like news articles, comes and goes with the tide. Decisions stick with you. Think independent – therefore you are.


  1. I see where you're coming from with this, but I can't say I completely agree with you. I think it's totally cool if a person is content living as an adult with his/her parents simply because I think a person should stay true to themselves and what they want out of life, and no, I don't think he/she should move out on his/her own just because society says we should.

    I can't speak for anyone else but myself, but I just know for me I couldn't be content living with my parents as an adult. Then again, I couldn't as a child either, so not much has changed other than the fact that I'm now legally able to live on my own.

    There's a poignant moment in 'The Weather Man' when the father tells his adult son, 'there's always looking after.' At least in some cases, as in my own, parents don't know when to stop being parents. Leaving the nest was a natural break in that relationship, and one that I found necessary to make that full transition into adulthood.

  2. If one way worked for everyone, we wouldn't all have our own minds.

    My point is that people must do what is best for them and not do what "society" deems to be correct. For that is the cornerstone of independence.

  3. Your point is well taken, and with that I do agree. Just wanted to share my thoughts and opinion because I found it to be an interesting topic for discussion ;o)