Forever young

Molly Cahill

The journey into adulthood is a long one, marked along the way with hurdles like puberty, learning to drive, getting to vote and finally being able to buy beer without a fake ID. Being a young adult is an exciting time in life. It’s a time when the possibilities of what may seem endless and the decision about where to go next lies with us rather than with our parents.

However, studies are showing we’re taking longer than ever to take that final step. We are staying at home and relying on our parents for longer on average than any generation before us. But is it due to laziness like some claim?

Where does the reluctance to cast off the ‘young’ attached to ‘adult’ come from? Certainly reaching financial independence from our parents is an important part of being viewed as an adult in society. So it could, in part, be due to the economy. Our country’s finances are on the mend, but money is tighter and jobs are scarcer than they have been in the past. People are not just choosing to live at home longer, but are forced to because they can’t afford to do otherwise.

Changes in healthcare policy are making it easier to remain dependent on our families for longer. Now parents are allowed to cover their children until that ‘child’ reaches the age of 26 in most states, and even as long as 30 in others.

Is it necessarily a bad thing that some people are waiting longer to ‘leave the nest’ so to speak?

There is a very negative stigma attached to deciding to remain at home instead of striking out on one’s own. We’re expected to go to college, get a job and move out. And if a person can manage that? Great. If not? Well, as it stands, I guess you’re S.O.L. because as far as society is concerned, you’re a lazy leech.

I’ll hazard a guess that no one really wants to become the stereotypical 35-year-old loser living in his mom’s basement, subsisting on a steady diet of hot pockets and internet porn. But there are countries where it’s normal for a person to remain at home well into adulthood. As long as the person contributes and doesn’t act like a parasitic mooch, there shouldn’t be a problem.

Molly Cahill is a senior pre-journalism major and a columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected].