It may partly have to do with the economy, but after college many students are returning home to live with their families. It’s not uncommon to hear of someone in their mid-twenties (and increasingly older) still at home or back at home. It makes financial sense to move home, but by going back I fear that many of us will not develop the skills necessary to be financially and emotionally stable and independent.
I’d like to blame TV talk show hosts, parenting books, modern fads in childcare and the media at large for many of the issues with my generation. Many of these outlets are telling us that we can’t raise our voices at children, cannot tell them “no”, must be the most nurturing and loving people all the time. No one should ever abuse children physically, mentally or emotionally, but I do believe some hardship is beneficial.
When we overcome adversity, whether it is a physical disability or an emotional trauma, it builds strength. If you always tie your child’s shoes for them, then they may never learn how to do it themselves. They will probably buy only Velcro products, will feel entitled to everything and then spend more money on additional therapy because they’re ungrateful and unskilled. None of those outcomes are positive. By facing challenges we gain tools for the future.
As for seniors, I have noticed that people seem to be aging better and staying fit longer. A look at the 2012 Summer Olympics shows the oldest Olympian was 71 and that there were nearly 200 athletes over 40! My own grandmother is 90 years old and exercises three times a week. She and the Olympians may be outside the norm, but they’re still doing it.
So where do young people living at home and fit older people coincide?
I’m in a bit of a bind here. Part of me knows if I’m likely to live a long life, (hopefully I got the good genes!) then preparing for the road ahead is more than critical. On the other hand, these may be some of the most carefree (no dependents, no mortgage) and healthy years of my life. Do I want to live comfortably when I’m older? Yes. Do I want to get the most out of my 20’s and increasingly into my 30’s? Yes. Finding a balance between responsibility for the future and enjoyment in the present is hard to do. Living at home is like having training wheels for life; eventually you need to maintain balance yourself.
As an upcoming grad I want to live on my own after school. If I ever need to move back home or find myself in a serious bind I know that my family will do what they can to help me out. Not everyone has that luxury, but for those that have a choice I strongly suggest giving it a shot. Doing things for yourself and by yourself builds self-esteem. A perfect example is of a friend from Mumbai who had never washed his own dishes. He was delighted to tell his mother what he had learned to do while living in the US.
Moral of the story; life happens, we get older and we have to deal with it. Just like the first time being left at summer camp, moving out may seem like we’ve been abandoned, but taking a closer look reveals that there are more important things to concern ourselves with, like the startup game of kickball happening right now…