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Meet the generation that refuses to grow up


Meet the generation that refuses to grow up
But is it that bad to have Peter Pan for a role model? Chrissie Russell reports
The other day I delivered some shocking news to my brother. "Does mum know?" he replied in horror. What was the revelation? I don't have a pension.
"My God, I can't believe it," he said in disbelief. I'm used to such finger-wagging from my parents, but getting admonished by my younger brother, who, as it transpires, has a pension plan, gave me pause for thought.
I'm in my 30s. I don't have a pension, mortgage or savings plan. This year I will make my one nod towards adulthood when I walk down the aisle. Having children remains incomprehensible. I still feel like a child myself.
Several times a month, I return to the family nest for nurturing and home-cooked meals. A few years ago I moved back home to finish a master's and stayed for two years.
Yes, part of me hangs my head in shame at the situation, but there's something gratifying about knowing that I'm not alone.
Society is awash with Peter-Pan-esque 'kidults'. More of us are entering third-level education and following it up with additional qualifications. Thus, entering the workplace is delayed, with the knock on effect of delaying marriage and children. Added to the mix is the housing situation and an economy whereby first-time buyers are often ill-placed to secure a mortgage.
Is it fair to label them immature?
According to psychologist Kate Quinlan, today's mortgage, marriage and child-free 30-somethings are the product of a changing culture.
"From a sociological point of view, people have more choice," she says.
Of course, there are negatives. Faced with the options of retraining, staying in a job, travelling, returning to college or having a baby, some 30-somethings struggle with committing to a choice -- and staying content with it.
But Quinlan believes freedom of choice is an improvement on trying to fit into an established framework.
She says: "People have their own psychological concept of how things should be and if someone does something differently then that can provoke a negative reaction.
"But as long as you're happy and not impacting negatively on anyone else, it's wonderful."
Irish Independent

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