Phi Beta Cons

The Gravest Generation

Every once in a while I read something about my generation’s inability to grow up that either A) depresses me, or B) makes me want to throw up. Today I’ve got one example of each kind to share.

First, there was this gem I read in the LA Times:

Today’s 20- and 30-year-olds who have “boomeranged” back home to live with their parents are largely satisfied with that arrangement and upbeat about their financial futures, a new study shows.

The report released Thursday by Pew Research Center found that 29% of those between the ages of 25 and 34 have lived at home at some point during the recent tough economy –- and large majorities say they are OK with that…

And most don’t appear to be living the high life. Nearly 8 in 10 say they don’t have enough money to live the life they want yet, compared with 55% of their peers who aren’t living with their parents.

Does this mean that 2 out of 10 are living the life they want in middle age by mooching off their parents? It’s times like these I begin to fear that, when we face existential threats as a nation in the decades to come, my generation will simply collapse into a collective fetal position.

While pondering this sad state of affairs I stumbled upon the website for a company that sells adult-size footie pajamas–you know, the kind babies and little kids under the age of five are known to wear. Only these are sized for grown men. Consider these offerings:

• The Electric Jamz footies: “Yes this is the same print that Ryan Gosling wore on the Ellen Show!!!”

• The Yellow Fire Truck footies for those thirty-year-old boys who want to grow up to be firemen.

• A Leopard Skin model, complete with “drop seat/butt flap” for more convenience when it’s “potty time” for your adult child.

We’re in big trouble. The government subsidies millions of kids on their way through ten years of college and grad school. It’s frat parties and XBOX all through the twenties. By the mid-thirties, they’re still living at home, trying to find themselves, and wondering what they are going to do with their lives, kept by others, insulated from struggle and hardship, devoid of purpose. Increasingly single and childless, they are strangers to the instinctive life and death concerns that having one’s own children allows one to understand.

The luxury of prolonged adolescence is, I’m convinced, going to turn out to be a curse for this generation in the end. Too fond of ease and entitlement, and too much unacquainted with serious responsibilities, we slouch toward a future we are in no ways prepared to face, mistaking as permanent the long calm prior to the day massive and violent civilizational conflict returns to our shores. 9/11 was just a preview.

Who among this generation will be ready to face that day?

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