Bianca Olthoff offers insights for reaching–and understanding–the next generation
On your bedroom wall, there is a 5×7-foot poster of the entire *N Sync crew. It’s framed. Justin Timberlake grins out from behind his blonde, curly man bang at you, seeming to say: “Hey girl. It’s been a while. You look different.” All manner of plush, fluffy stuffed things crowd the space at the foot of your bed. You remember you used to sleep curled up in a ball, so you wouldn’t mess them up. You were also shorter then.
Maybe you’ve just grown, but there seems to be less space now than there was before. You jostle around your mom’s StairMaster 2000, which is gathering dust where your desk used to be, so you can get to your closet, but nothing on the hangers is something you would wear anymore anyway.
There you are, a twentysomething post-grad, standing in the center of your childhood bedroom where you’ve moved back after four incredible, crazy and completed college years, surrounded again by all the remnants of your former self, and all you can think is: a) Thank God Justin Timberlake grew out the blonde man bang, and b) What am I getting myself into?
I understand. I’ve been there. This past weekend I spoke with two twentysomethings who are facing the difficult choice that 53 percent of all college grads have made: to move back home or not move back home. For many it’s not an option, so if you’re battling this or know someone who is, here are some points to help navigate the labyrinth of moving back in with your parents. Step one? Take down the *N Sync poster and say, Bye, Bye, Bye as you toss that junk in the trash.
It’s important to address this shift because a recent CNN article highlights the 39 percent those between the ages of 18-35 who have moved back home. The economy, rising housing costs and low employment have forced many to pack up and move [back]. Having lived at home during graduate school and after, I know the woes of wanting independence without the cost of rent.
This is an opportunity for the Church to meet a large need in the next generation. Based on the conversations I randomly had this weekend, here are a few points to for us to be part of the solution for the problem facing the next gen.
• Listening Ear
• Can I Get Some Respect?
• Family Ties
• Broke as a Joke
• Attitude of Gratitude
• This Too Shall Pass
Sometimes the best way to support someone going through a quarter-life crisis is simply to care. If you have your own place and are fully independent, it’s easy to brush off the embarrassment and shame that comes with having to tell your friends your college graduation gift is returning to your twin-sized bed. Empathy (not over-emotive sympathy) can support and encourage our friends in this season of life.