Re-nesting. The Boomerang Generation. Failure to launch.
Call it what you want, but these days, moving in with your parents after graduation isnt that uncommon. Thanks to a weak job market and rising student loan debts, more 20-somethings are moving back into their childhood bedrooms, rather than striking out on their own.
So far, Ive managed to escape this fate (though my parents tell me I am always welcome to come back home whenever I need to). But my sister hasnt.
Shes only one class away from finishing her college degree, so in January, she decided to save money on rent by living at home, taking the class at a local university and looking for a job.
When she and my parents first announced this plan, I thought, Great. Its only a matter of time before my parents call me complaining about my sisters messy room or habit of sleeping until noon. Or maybe my sister would snap first and send me a series of frantic texts begging me to get my parents off her back. When youre the oldest sibling, you get used to running interference between your parents and your younger siblings. Maybe you even take a little pride in your communication and negotiation skills.
Its been three months. I still havent gotten that phone call. No frantic texts from the sister, either. So here I am, only an hour away from home, feeling a little useless and a little relieved, because there is no drama for me to fix.
I keep thinking of this really terrible romantic comedy from a couple years back, Failure to Launch. Matthew McConaughey plays a 30-something guy who still lives with his parents. Sarah Jessica Parker is the woman hired to make him move out. Overall, it makes living with your parents look like something only slackers and losers do. But my sister isnt a slacker -- shes just graduating into a really bad economy.
Im starting to think maybe living with your parents isnt so bad. Not only does my sister have her food and rent taken care of, but she also has access to satellite TV and high-speed Internet. My parents pretty much let her do her own thing, as long as she goes to class and spends time looking for jobs and sending out resumes.
She can spend most of her days sleeping late, baking, going to the gym and perusing Facebook. Sounds like three months of vacation, right?
The last time I went home for a visit, I asked her how her job search was going. Shes sent out resumes and gone to interviews with no luck yet and I could tell she was getting a little fed up. She doesnt have any spending money of her own. While she has a home, she doesnt have the freedom that comes with having your own place. Her life may seem like a vacation, but really, shes in limbo, waiting to launch.
Sara Pauff, 706-320-4469 or firstname.lastname@example.org. For more commentary, read her 20-something blog at www.ledger-enquirer.com/sara.