Broke-Ass Adultolescence: Living at Home
“Living at home is such a drag.
Now, your Mama threw away
Your best porno mag.” – Fight for Your Right by the Beastie Boys
Once upon a time, living at home was an unfortunate situation which only losers, failures, and the mentally unstable would have to endure. See, moving out of mommy and daddy’s nest was a rite of passage into adulthood; it solidified your independence. You were no longer considered a child, or an incompetent teenager creating unspeakably illustrious havoc on the world around you. Things had changed. You were an adult now and you were proud of it. You had responsibilities, and along with those newfound responsibilities came those intense stress filled days—the type that would eventually make you consider suicide as a viable option—and the mounting headaches of adulthood. Soon you’d find a soul mate that was equally as miserable and you’d create a miserable little family together, because we all know that misery loves company.
This fairytale story no longer exists anymore. It has become something of an increasing dilemma in American society in the last five years or so. Sure, we could blame that little recession thing that happened a few years ago, or we could even blame the lack of jobs for college graduates with immense student loans, but pointing fingers isn’t going to get us anywhere. Hey, at least we’ve garnered a few cool nicknames for this phase in our lives, such as “adultolescence” and “boomerang kids.” You can thank those quirky sociologists for those expert terms. And, you can also thank them for their thorough research concerning this recent sensation of living back home with the parental units.
The number of boomerang kids, ages 20-34, had increased from 17% in 1980 to 24% between 2007-2009, according to a study conducted by Zhenchao Qian of Ohio State University and US2010 Project by Julie Snider in USA Today. Had the economy gotten that bad within 30 years that nearly 1/4 of the nation was living back at home? Now just imagine how the remaining third of the nation was living. If I took a wild guess, I’d bet my original White Tiger-zord that it wasn’t in a stunning three-bedroom house with a white picket fence.
This shouldn’t have come as a surprise to anyone. Back in December 2006, financial journalist, author and motivational speaker Jean Chatzky wrote an article for CNN Money, advising parents to prep themselves for the possibility of their adult kids coming back home. It didn’t matter though, because by 2009 nearly 30% of 25-34 year-old age group had gone back home to live with their folks, and almost 80% of everyone involved was satisfied with the situation, according to a May 2012 article in Forbes.
Today, the swelling trend is no longer frowned upon. You aren’t considered a loser; in fact, you might be viewed as a smart individual who is wisely saving their money or someone who is patiently waiting for the perfect living situation, rather than jumping into the first location available. But is this really a case of playing it smart with the intentions of eventually moving out or playing it safe with the fear of financial insecurity still looming?
In June 2012, Maureen Callahan of the New York Post wrote a curious piece titled, “Occupy Mom and Dad’s House.” In this article she cited Jason Siegel, a 23 year-old who had graduated from Lafayette College in 2010 and still lived with his parents despite receiving a $50,000 per year salary as an energy engineer in Manhattan. But once the new cushy job came into the picture, the thought of moving out had not immediately crossed Jason’s mind because there were too many changes happening all at once in his life. So he decided to stay home a little longer. “I think a lot of it depends on a family’s financial situation. Westchester’s relatively wealthy,” said Siegel.
Unfortunately, we’re not all in Jason’s situation and we aren’t all born into upper-middle class families, nor do we all get the chance to latch on to a nice job that offers us $50,000 a year to start. In fact, State of Working America has reported that the entry-level wage for college graduates had decreased by nearly 11% from 2000-2011, assuring many 20-somethings with an average salary of a little more than $40,000 a year. So you might get by in New York City with that salary if you know how to budget your money correctly.
Okay, so we’re shit out of luck. A monkey wrench was thrown into our plans for the future, and we could blame the two generations before for us for completely screwing us over or we could look at the silver lining here; adulthood is a scary thing and we’ve been given ample time to get it together. Usually some vengeful prick would say let’s perfect adulthood and prove that we’ll be more responsible than our parents ever were, but the immature and irresponsible voice in my head says: “Screw that! Let’s revolutionize adulthood and embrace our adultolescence.” Now, the problem here is, I don’t quite know what exactly it is we’ll be revolutionizing, but I’m sure we’ll get some cool ideas from that new show “How to Live with Your Parents (For the Rest of Your Life).”