06 August 2012

Slouching Towards Adulthood: Observations from the Not-So-Empty Nest by Sally Koslow

I noticed this book in an issue of Scientific American a while back, and the book finally came up in my reading list.  The book is written by a mother of two "adultescents" - children aged 21-34 (or something like that - can't remember the exact age) and examines the all-too-frequent phenomena of people of that generation (which also includes me) having trouble finding and keeping jobs, establishing permanent relationships, being forced or choosing to move back home with their parents, and more.

Having graduated from college in 2006, and going to film school from 2007-2008, I finished school right in the middle of the largest recession in recent memory, as did many others my age, so one of the things I found of most value in the book was simply the many stories like mine of finishing school only to find that there were no opportunities.  It was sad, but reassuring, to read other stories like mine.

Koslow, a journalist for many years, did a great job delving into the psychology of adultescents, examining them in a light that was critical and yet neither condescending nor judgmental.  She was quick to point out their virtues, yet also quite willing to point out their flaws.  Her basic premise seemed to me to be that a confluence of factors - senses of entitlement, a poor job market, a youth that valued self-esteem over realism, parental enablers - has led many adultescents to spend many of their post-graduation years finding themselves, traveling the world when they can't find jobs at home, and constantly giving up what they have in the search of something better and more fulfilling, whether it be in a job or in a relationship.

Sad though it is, I think Koslow's observations were, while not universal, certainly accurate.  I recognized traits of myself, as well as others, in the stories she told, as well as traits of my parents in her description of Baby-Boomers, all of whom desperately wanted their children to have better lives than they did, but many of whom instilled a strange sense of easy money and unlimited self-worth in their children rather than work ethic and regular, ordinary life skills.

Slouching Toward Adulthood was a great read.  It was insightful, but even more so, it was a comfort: to know that my problems weren't unique helped me a great deal in feeling that I wasn't such a failure, and gave me hope that the future isn't so bleak yet.

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Books: The above.  Next comes The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes and also Volume 2 of Echoes of All Our Conversations.

Bottles: Several bottles consumed at a wine tasting: Toad Hollow 2010 Unoaked Chardonnay from Mendocino; De Loach 2010 Chardonnay Russian River Valley; Dashe Cellars 2006 Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon; and Chappellet 2008 Napa Cabernet Sauvignon.

Writing: The next rewrite begins!

Guitar: Looking at "On an Island."