Category Archives: independence

Slow and Steady Wins the Race

Gen Y has suffered from some pretty heavy stigmas over the years. We’ve been labeled “self indulgent,” “lazy,” “coddled,” and so on and so forth. We’re a generation of fledgling adults, still seeking help from our parents despite the fact that we’ve been out of our teens for a decade.

A new study, however, has revealed evidence that still relying on our parents could potentially be a good thing. This need for parental approval and still using Mommy and Daddy as a financial safety net isn’t just because Gen Y is “idle.” The study concludes that the support given to us by our parents can be considered a kind of structural skeleton for our adult lives.

The  study in the Journal of Marriage and Family found that members of generation Y turn to their parents as a mechanism to help their career advancement.

By “boomeranging” back to the nest, the 18 to 34 year olds can use the money they’re saving on rent to put towards advancing their education or gaining experience at an internship.

In a world where advanced education is considered more important everyday, Gen Y is laying the building blocks for a successful adulthood.

Unlike our parents or grandparents, who were married and responsible for young children by the time they were 25, we have the option of exploring multiple career paths. In a rocky economy and ever changing world, Gen Y members who have multiple skills will be better off. It also makes then more desirable to employers when they do enter the job market.

The study also concluded that most Gen Y-ers do become self sufficient by the time they are 30.

When your mother breaks up with you

3007740307_5342d81101My mother and I have an uncomfortably close relationship. I can tell her just about everything. We’ve had conversations ranging from the profane to the absurd, and she never once batted an eyelash. 

My mother is my best friend. Don’t get me wrong. She will always be my mother first and foremost, but we have that Steel Magnolias mother/daughter type of bond. I have no doubt she would give her right kidney for me.

There are a couple of things, however, that we will never see eye-to-eye on. My taste in men is one of them. Another item that my mom strongly disagrees with is my choice to cover a big percentage of my body with tattoos. She comes from an era when the only people to have tattoos were whores and sailors. She thinks that my appearance will keep me from living the kind of life I dream of and prohibit me from advancing in my career as a writer. 

Two years ago, I was visiting my family for Easter. I had recently gotten “Alis volat propriis” (meaning “she can fly with her own wings” in Latin) tattooed on the inside of my wrist. I had been careful to cover it with my sleeves, but my mother has eyes like a hawk when it comes to her children doing things she disapproves of, and she saw it. The screaming and crying started shortly thereafter. She refused to take my phone calls for days, having my poor father answer every time my name popped up on the caller ID. My mother had dumped me.

It took awhile for the reconciliation to happen, but it eventually did. I was her daughter, after all. 

I ended up getting more tattoos ( a chest piece here, a half sleeve there) and learned how to hide them with high-collared t-shirts and cardigans. I’d wear quarter-length sleeves to the beach in the middle of summer and sit in puddles of my own sweat at the dinner table, praying to God that it would all be over soon so I could run to my car, strip down, and blast the AC.

It wasn’t until last night, however, that my mother finally admitted to me that she had  known all along. This time, we talked at length about our differing opinions and there were no fits of rage or sudden hang-ups. She had finally agreed to disagree.

I think we finally become adults when we learn to separate our lives from the lives our parents wanted for us. I have spent most of my young adult life trying to live up to the expectations my mother had for me. I earned my BA in English literature, got a swanky apartment, a couple of freelance writing gigs, and eventually a full-time editorial position at the Inquirer. It was a great life but it wasn’t entirely my life. It was a life that I knew would make my mom proud.

We all eventually need to learn what our own personal sets of values are and that it is okay if they deviate from the values of our parents. I think that this is one of the hardest lessons I have learned thus far, that my road ran parallel to my mother’s for awhile, but eventually, I would have to forge my own path.

I Hate Dating

untitledSo, for the first time in quite a few years, I am single. And whether I like it or not, it’s probably going to stay that way for quite awhile.

Last week I made the desperate and pitiful attempt to seek out a rebound. I set my sights very, very low. Low as in he is thirty, still lives with his parents, speaks exactly like Karl Childers character from the movie Sling Blade, and walks like a male pigeon. We had nothing in common except a mutal friend, an unhealthy obsession with zombies, and sore calf muscles.

So, when Mr. You-Are-Suppose-To-Be-My-Rebound-Damnit never called me back and started expressing interest in the mutal friend, my ego deflated like a popped balloon. I then tried to fling myself face first into activity-after-activity with friends, but sometimes 20-somethings are too self-involved to care about a friend in need and thus, I ended up alone in bed with my dog browsing through a self-help book that my mother loaned me.

Anyhow, my question is this: How does one get over a guy quick and efficiently? I’ve been going out almost every day of the week. I got a new haircut, rearranged my apartment, learned how to cook, tried out (and made) the Philly Roller Girl’s Fresh Meat team, but still, after two weeks of trying to keep busy, my heart still hurts. A piece of furniture or a song will remind me of him and immediately, I’ll feel my legs buckle and the water-works turn on. It happened in Target the other day which was really embarrassing.

I think my biggest fear is the loneliness that faces me everytime I enter my apartment. It is too big and too empty. I also don’t want my ex to be thriving without me. It’s hard to imagine him on the other side of the city living a Stephanie-less life and being happy. I understand that the best kind of revenge is to flourish in the wake of the other person. And I am trying to do just that. But I’ve begun smoking again and patrolling Craigslist daily for a cute, available boy.

I need to realize that I am worthy. I am a knock-out. I can stand on my own two feet. I need to get that single-girl swagger. I am a 25 year old, gorgeous, educated, successful, lovable, funny, newly-single woman and I will not settle. I can do this!

So, here is my pact with myself. I will not date for three months. I will not seek self-worth from outside sources. I will learn to cook. I will concentrate on my friends, on roller derby, on my career, on trying to get into graduate school, and on my writing. I will not be needy. I will not be the pursuer. 

And yanno what? I can do this! I will do this. I will let go, grow up, and move on. I will be okay.