“Over 20 and still living with your parents? Kill yourself.” I mean, believe it or not, some young folks still think like that, despite the fact that the age of people leaving the nest is growing higher and higher. But I feel that it’s safe to say that the people who still have that archaic “you must leave the nest when you’re eighteen, otherwise you’re a loser” mindset clearly has no insight into other people’s situations.
I’m going to be turning twenty-four in June. What are my plans? Outside of celebrations at night, I will be with the people that raised me—the people who I still live with. Ever year since 2007, I’ve received a chocolate cake (or one with chocolate on or in it) and a large family dinner. This has essentially become a family tradition, all harkening back to the intro page of this website.
Everyone I had been friends with recently knows about my family life and strong old-school family values, and it’s also been subject to jealousy. Surprisingly, though, it hasn’t been subject to criticism as I’m always praised and given strong handshakes by acquaintances and people in public for being so young and having the responsibility of helping raise three girls. I am parrain (pah-RAN or ‘godfather’), brother, dad and biological first cousin to all three of the bubble gum tomboys, aged three, nine and thirteen.
In general, I’ve never been led to believe that I should be ashamed of living with my family at such an age, with no signs of leaving the nest again anywhere in the near future. After all, I left home in early 2011 to move back to Atlanta on my own, essentially chasing a pipe dream. My family life turned an already green-eyed roommate even saltier, and a series of related and unrated events caused me to fly 500 miles back to the nest here in Baton Rouge exactly one month later. Do I regret it? Absolutely…not! It was from that point in which my responsibilities at home intensified. It’s to the point now that I can’t talk about anyone in this household of eight without getting emotional. ‘Cause how I look at it, a real man handles his business, and a real man isn’t afraid to cry. You get me?
Either way, some people under thirty-six, the “young folk,” are always going to have an outlook on life that omits family and responsibility. It just so happens that I’m not one of them. To those who think like that, all I can do is tell them to start a family or spend one week parenting/helping parent a kid or kids. Take that three year-old and teach her to salute “toodaloo.” Take that nine year-old and help her with the very homework that her mother, your late aunt, used to help you with while your mom was out working to fund you. Follow that thirteen year-old girl through her emotional, social and physical struggles—coming of age moments—all to ensure she ends up Kirkpatrick strong like everyone else. Actually take on real responsibilities and I promise you…you’ll be singing a different tune.
Title image source: http://www.colourbox.com/image/view-of-young-people-at-night-club-image-526248