America as a country and as a culture values independence. Yet independence can come in many different forms.
Recently I’ve been grappling with my own definition of independence. High school me expected to have a full-time job, my own apartment, and be financially self-sufficient at 23.
Yet here I am with no job, moved back home with my parents, and definitely not financially self-sufficient. And trust me, I’m not blaming this all on Covid. Major props to those who have been fully independent since they turned 18, to those who decided on a path and found a job, and to those who have simply accomplished all of their goals.
Stephanie found an article that made me feel a bit better about my situation, and helped me realize independence can take many forms. The Pew Research Center found that a majority of young adults (ages 18 to 29) are now living with their parents – surpassing a record set during the Great Depression. Due to uncertain times, safety precautions, and prudent financial decisions, tons of young adults find themselves back at home.
Does that make us less independent? In American culture, yes, it probably does. But in other ways, I say we are shaking the stigma. I am incredibly happy where I’m at. While I’ve got a lot of work to do, I’m fortunate enough to still have my parents as a safety net. If I were living on my own in another city, I’d miss the little moments of family time and my mom’s home-made dinners. I would miss seeing my best friends and their families for Bachelorette nights and all the other little things that can be easy to forget.
If you’re feeling uneasy about living back at home, try to enjoy it while you can. As my brother said: “live with a sense of urgency, but not impatience.” In other words make moves quickly and keep focused, but realize things take time.
2020 has taken a toll on everyone’s mental health, especially workers navigating this tough time. Read our analysis here.