Flightless Birds: The Clipped-Wing Generation


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Image: sheeprus: http://bit.ly/1pliurY

You, the reader,  you’re sat right now or standing, maybe even lying down (which is preferable) and you’re reading my words. I am governing the thoughts in your head for the 10 or so minutes it’ll take for you to read this through. There’s some power in that, I guess. Some objectivity too, the cold distance required to judge a topic without sentiment. 



In this piece, you’ll find neither.

 


My name is Joe Castle. I am 23 years old and I still live at home.


 

Kind of undercut myself a little, right? Definitely not objective any more and we can forget all about power.

 


My station in life can be described as both pathetic and juvenile but I’m not unhappy about that. I’m a writer, actively seeking a worthy (lucrative) application of whatever talent I may have (if you’re still here, I must be doing something right). It’s a song you’ve heard before, the one about the starving artist, though I’m nowhere near as proud as my contemporaries who live in squalor in the name of art. Mine is more a dance remix, where I get three squares and ironed shirts in the name of art.

 


My situation is voluntary. I’m doing what I love, what I feel sure I can be good at (while actively seeking employment and currently working a job placement in social media) all it costs is some freedom and occasionally some self-respect – living with mum and dad does somewhat put a dampener on your social/love life. It has not been a choice for everyone though.


 

Of my university classmates, all of whom are employed, the only ones to have managed to leave the nest did so by moving in with their significant others. The ones who didn’t, who are working 9 to 5 and who still live under foot are just some of the 1.9 million 20-34 year-olds whose wage is so far from liveable.

 


A survey conducted by YouGov and published by Shelter in July 2014 found that of the 2.62 million adults aged 20-34 who lived at home, 75% were employed, 17% were unemployed (a far more select club) and 8% were students (I notice there wasn’t a following your dreams category but I guess that’s no excuse). Of the total number of working 20-34 year olds, 25% live at home. That’s 1 in 5 young people who have yet to get themselves on the housing market.

 


Monthly salaries are good and I know there’s a sleepy admin job waiting, in a quiet corner of some beige labyrinth of cubicles, for me to lose my resolve. But in this current climate, I wonder if it’ll make any difference.


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