Home truths

This article was written as part of an assignment  to create a  concept magazine aimed at men aged 25-35. 

Have you ever seen The Prisoner? Put it on the box-set list. There’s no crystal meth, but it will help breaking your brain.

In short: man quits job, wakes up next morning in a mysterious village, renamed Number 6, doesn’t know why, everyone’s in on it, every escape plan is thwarted.

Is this sinister slice of 60s surrealism the story of a new generation, held captive by social conditions they didn’t create? The Office for National Statistics reports that record numbers of young adults—over a quarter of 20-34 year-olds—are living at home with their parents. That’s 3.3 million of us who have returned to the nest.

Yes, us. Count me among the great manchild anti-migration. That one in three males of my age group are living here too is only small consolation.

For guys who expected that, post-18, we should cut the apron strings and stride into the world a bold, independent man, things aren’t quite going to plan.

If you’re one of us, or know someone who is, this might feel like a crisis, failure even. For all the home-cooked meals, hot water and magically restocking sock supplies; the situation has worries of its own.

It’s a backwards step to move forwards, a sensible strategy for a better future: to save money, buy a home, work in low-paid entry positions, to actually enjoy life a little during hard times.

Twelve months ago, I’d achieved everything possible from my first career, but a combination of health problems, messed-up love, financial worries and big city fatigue had done me in. It was time for a rethink.

Rather than defeat, I chose a fresh challenge, one that meant going back to my roots. I’m one of the ‘lucky’ ones, my folks were willing and able to take me back when I had no place else to wisely go.

Being a grown-up is more about how you live than where you do it. It’s time to make good choices, and do right by my loved ones—much easier now all the teenage dirt has washed away.

These are the things that will define us as adults. Gladly I’ve returned a different person to the one who left.

It’s not a laugh a minute, but right now there’s a shed that needs painting, breathing space to figure out what comes next, and only one man for the job.

So I remind the millions that independence is a state of mind. In the words of The Prisoner: “I am not a number, I am a free man!” One who is wearing clean socks.