Why I Need My Parents More at 24 Than I Did at 18

When I was 18 and heading off to college, all I thought was that I couldn’t leave home and my parents quickly enough. Now, six years later, I wish I could take that back.

College went swimmingly. Enough. I graduated nearly two years ago and after a brief pause, decided to pursue my future in New York. This is the choice of many recent grads, and that fact excited me. After four years in a land teeming with trees and liberal arts students, I was ready for time in a place filled to the brim with buildings and adults balancing desire with practicality and plans for the future.

I enjoyed myself for the first year, following whatever opportunities presented themselves to me. At a popular restaurant I waited tables while exploring the city and meeting scores of new people from all walks of life and all strata of the city. Life had yet to become real, and I was suppressing this thought without much difficulty. Then I took a job at a startup and immersed myself in the way the other half lived. I began keeping a conventional 9-5 schedule, and struggled to fill the remaining hours of my day with “useful” activities. This job allowed me to feel secure about my place in the professional community of New York, and also gave me my first real experience in an office/business context.

But this career reworking came at a cost. I suddenly became aware of everything I had NOT been doing in the past year since college, and even what I apparently SHOULD have been doing during college. This was not easy to hear, as my college coddled its students, and grossly underprepared us to bear the expectations of a practical society. Somehow my anthropology research papers where worthless, my Shakespearean annotations useless; I was instead asked what B2B software I was most familiar with, and where I saw myself in five years.

When I was 18 and overwhelmed with the expectations of life (which by the way mostly consisted of me failing to comprehend the fundamental difference between high school homework and college assignments) the last place I wanted to turn to was my parents. I had many peers to whom I could turn for a sympathetic ear (1,999 of them to be exact), and who ultimately could provide me with the words and sentiments I needed and wanted to hear. Though I was busy, my world was quite small and I did not spend much time dwelling on anything other than the immediate.

But now, living alongside a population of over 8 million, I can scarcely find anyone to turn to, and I find myself wanting to call my parents more than I ever have in the past six years. Maybe it’s because they’re 30 years older than I am and have at least that much more experience in the professional world. Or perhaps it’s because they (mostly) know me better than anyone I have become close to here in the city. But maybe, given my current state of emotional and job-related turmoil, they are the ones who can give me the level of love and support that I need to re-launch myself into my next life: the galaxy of adulthood.

Feature photo by Bady Qb / VIA StockSnap.io