The other day, I was listening to a news program and the commentator read off the statistics claiming that 52% of young adults lived with their parents. What I found alarming was not the number of young adults returning home; it was the implied censure in the article that presented having to return home as something bad. There are many reasons to return to the nest in adulthood and not all of them are a failure to launch.
I am a child of immigrants and I remain one to this day having recently immigrated to Jamaica. My parents are native Jamaicans who met and married in England; that was where I was born. We moved to Canada for better opportunities eventually settling in America. At every step of the way there was an extended stay with family who were already based in country. So many people lived with us (in various locations) over the years that I never realized that I supposedly had my own room. I was always sharing.
Returning to a family home base is not a bad thing. There are many life interruptions that can lead you home. Divorce, illness, the starting up of your first IPO may require assistance from those who love you the most, Of course, the privilege of family ties like many things can be abused. Almost every family has a deadbeat or manipulative person in their midst; even those individuals have a role to play in family life. Even if they are held up as a example of what not to do.
There are those who return home, those who leave later than society deems proper, and those who never leave home. Mental and physical illness do not just affect the old. Many children and young people can have their launch into society waylaid or cancelled altogether by a tragic accident or affliction. I know of two individuals who have had their launch delayed by circumstances and are having an extended childhood because that is what was needed for them to thrive. Their families have supported them on their path to whatever independence their circumstances dictate.
I choose to see the gifts of God’s blessing in every difficult situation. In times of world crisis or war, we are afforded an opportunity to draw closer experiencing a greater connection with our family members. Returning to home also allows for the healing of old wounds. Let’s face it. If you can live with your parents or siblings again; you can work out whatever petty grievances you may still carry from childhood.
I grew up with my grandmother, grand aunt, uncle, aunt, various cousins, and an ornery step-brother, I know their presence in my childhood made me who I am today. Currently, I am living my second childhood with my father in a house in Jamaica. Jamaica is where the root of my family began after slavery. You could say that this is a full circle moment in time for me. Living with my parents again has ushered in a full pallet of emotions. I have been sad, mad, irritated, filled with love, and I can honestly say I have laughed so hard that milk shot out my nose. Where else can you get all of that , but at home!
In this time of COVID19 when families are being tested in both loving and tragic ways; it helps to have additional resources and a place to return to when everything goes wrong. We all need a place to shelter from harm and revamp our dreams. This is not the first time we have had to pull together to survive and it won’t be the last. There is always another event around the corner albeit, a world pandemic is (hope to God), a singular event. Moving in with those you have a bond with might be the ultimate collateral beauty of a terrible time.