Stay-at-Home Adulthood

We were at a nephew’s college graduation party this weekend. He finished up classes in the winter and has been working most of 2014.

It’s great to see these Once Little Ones becoming Big Ones, and even Self-Sufficient Big Ones. Still, it’s a sign of the times, I think, that my nephew is still living at home—as are so many other SSBOs.

Sometimes I wonder whether that’s a function of a lack of money to actually get out of the house, or whether young people today are smart enough to realize they aren’t going to live in a place as nice as their parents’ home again for a very long time. Why would you leave? It’s the same question I ask about Santa Claus: why stop believing? I wish I could re-believe in Santa Claus (and the idea of consequence-free desires).

I don’t know if young people feel this, but I certainly do—I fear that few of them will enjoy the comfort and opportunity that their parents have in their professional careers. I look at the salaries commanded today by young people, the competition they’ll face, and I ask myself: how are these smart, ambitious people going to support a family in the same way I have, and my parents did?

Now maybe I’m seeing this completely wrong. After all, the Baby Boomers are going to retire  someday, and when they do, there will be management and leadership jobs for all comers. (There was a pretty awesome 2008 piece on 60 Minutes, with Methuselah himself, Morley Safer, doing the reporting, that made this point.)

Or not. Who says the Baby Boomers have to retire when people have retired previously? Why would America’s most self-enamored generation give up the spotlight so freely? Maybe they will cling jealously to their spot atop the pecking order, till they approach 90. Or 100. That sounds crazy. But so did fluoridated water once.

Anyway, as someone with two boys, one 20 and one 17, these things can preoccupy me, until I remember that this is their problem, not mine.

But I won’t plan to turn their bedrooms into a library anytime soon.


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