Samara O'Shea

Cockroaches Don’t Kill

I happened upon an article in the Times last week called As Graduates Move Back Home, Economy Feels Pain. The article explains that college kids moving home after school hurts the economy because they aren’t paying rent and shopping for apartment utilities. I fully understand needing to move home if you don’t have a job, but the article profiles a guy who makes $45,000 after taxes who moved home to save money. He’s wants to buy a house. This boggled my mind. I made less than $45k before taxes when I lived in New York City and wouldn’t have lived with my parents for anything (not that I don’t love them . . .).

While there’s nothing technically wrong with living at home to save money, something about this made me uneasy, and I couldn’t figure out what it was. Until I read the comments. Below is the second comment on the article left by a woman named Joan Sarasota. It’s energizing and hits the nail on the head. Living in squalor builds character.

“I understand the unemployed returning home but I think those earning $45,000 after taxes are missing a great part of life: first jobs, first tiny, shared and/or walk ups, living w/o Mom doing the laundry, staying out all night, finding great places, music, people, good dates, bad dates, long talks, staying out all weekend, staying in all weekend, taking a job at a magazine, a start up, an art gallery, Teach America, jobs that might have no future, jobs that might change their lives;living on their own, growing up. After 2 years in the Peace Corps, I moved to NYC as it was everything my wonderful village wasn’t. I found a job I’d never do again, lived in tiny studio apt, meet so many people, went to Met, lectures; I lived! And it was not the first step to a lost life. I went on to work as Deputy Director of an International NGO, a job I never would have had access to w/o living in NYC and later DC and then had a 25 year career as a US Diplomat. So kids, don’t get locked into the idea that you need to start your adult life w your parent’s housing level and all mod cons. We live long lives; don’t be in such a hurry to get into a rut. Parents: stop hovering. Cockroaches don’t kill.”