Eeeh, it’s been almost three years since I started at The Star. This is (a reduced version of) my first column.
“Mid twenties. Young professional. Living with parents. This is me. I am the boomerang generation personified.
“Not once, not twice but three times have I returned to the nest of Mum and Dad. I have refused to take subtle hints like my room being turned into a guest space or the locks being changed or my father asking what the Hell he has to do to get rid of me. I have – like Big Brother after series two or Oasis since Definitely Maybe – kept coming back until not only am I not wanted, I’m openly scorned by those who once loved me. And then I’ve come back some more, always with a pile of unironed shirts and asking the age-old question: what’s for tea, our mam?
“I did it after university. I did it after journalism college. And now I’ve done it after moving back to Yorkshire for the third time. But this, it seems, puts me in the same situation as more than seven million other young men and women in the UK.
“They – we – are returning home because, with the economic crash, rising unemployment and a falling housing stock, there are increasingly few financially viable ways of staying away. There are so many of us we’re actually seen as a social phenomenon – the Kidults – rather than just as a lot of social losers. Which, of course, would be sort of comforting if it wasn’t for the fact that as a Kidult you are... well, living with your parents, and while the financial security is all well and good and highly appreciated there’s still a price to be paid. Namely, you have to sacrifice your privacy, your credibility, and, above all else, your hopes of not being woken by a horrified scream should, in an overly lubricated hour, you happen to fall asleep naked on the sofa.
“See, allow me to be blunt, although families are great, they’re always far greater at the other end of a phone line. Me and the old man don’t agree on much – not on politics, not on sport, not even on whether Ronnie Barker was better in Porridge or Open All Hours – but on families we are at this solid, stubborn consensus. Because if I think I have it bad, he’s certain the parents are cut the rawest deal. It’s their food and electricity bills that go up, it’s their stress levels that rise and it’s their long awaited peace and freedom which is destroyed by a 20-something shouting from the guest room for his underpants to be washed.
I moved out shortly afterwards.