Inside the Diner: Adults in the Nest

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Published on The Doomstead Diner on Jaanuary 3, 2017

Discuss this article at the Doom Psychology Table inside the Diner

Recently one of the regular Diners K-Dog put up a provocative article by Michael Snyder looking at the growing effect of Industrial Civilization Collapse of grown children who continue to live with their parents into adulthood, as well as some adults who return to the nest later on.  There are many facets to this issue, some psychological, some sociological and some economic.  In the usual fashion of Inside the Diner discussion, numerous different perspectives on this were shared, and also as usual not all Diners agree on what is most important about this phenomenon.  Below is a selection of posts from the thread (I cut out the Napalm. lol), for those of you who do not already Lurk inside the Diner where most of our discussion takes place rather than out here on the Word Press blog commentary.  We're always happy to have a new Diner drop in and take a Collapse Meal with us, so don't be shy and come on in!  Just be sure to bring your Fireproof BVDs with you, because it can get HOT in the Diner Kitchen! lol.

From K-Dog

This article does not cut and paste well.  I recommended the original from the Sleuth Journal.

An appropriate choice for Doom Psychology.  For while we are doomed we have this going on:


From JRM


"According to the Wall Street Journal, the percentage of Americans in the 18 to 34-year-old age bracket that are currently living with their parents hasn’t been this high in 75 years. "


Before we get our panties in a wad about this statistic, we should have a look at what happens — statistically — between age 18 & 19.  I suspect the percentage who are still living under Mom & Dad's roof at 19 is dramatically lower than it is at 18, the traditional age (in recent decades) in which boys and girls are expected to fly out of the "nest".  Then there's age 20 as the next break-off for statistical data. Then 21 … which isn't so damned unreasonable, really.  I mean, c'mon! It's tough out there and … and what's really so WRONG with sharing a house as a family before marrying off or whatever?  Is it really a catastrophe if little Billy lives AS AN ADULT under a common roof with parents who treat little Billy as an adult?

What happened in my house is that I was NOT EVEN CLOSE to being ready for being on my own at age 18, 'cause my ma and pa pretty much ignored (and/or seemed to want to)  the fact of my existence during my late adolescence, and barely cared a shit (or, rather, knew the needs of an adolescent) about me anyway in earlier years. They were too busy thinking about themselves. (They were married as kids (read, pregnant), and soon had kids of their own.) They had just divorced and split and I was popping back and forth after age 16 between the flotsam and jetsam of a broken family, feeling and being wanted or cared for not so much in either household. An unwanted problem, if you will.  I had none of the skills of adulthood at 18, and barely survived my tragic and confused (and long!) transition from adolescence to adulthood.   By the grace of gawd and all that….  Time and distance alone provided perspective on this horrible time in my life.

I left home near the allotted time, anyway. Ill prepared.

I really wish folks would NOT presume frailty and laziness (etc.) toward those who leave the nest past age 18.  This positions responsibility entirely on the kid trying to find his/her way into adulthood.  Maybe we should have a look at the parents? Hmm? What's their f**ing problem? Hmm?   Why do they leave poor Sammy and Sean (Sarah and Samantha) to fend for themselves long before they have any clues about what that may mean?  And where were they when they were supposed to be offering loving support and guidance through such a tumultuous time?  :-



From RE

I don't think this has anything to do with the psychological maturity of the current generation of 18 year olds.  It's an economic problem, it COSTS too much to move out from your parent's basement!

As long as you don't have to pay rent, your salary as a Starbucks Barrista is enough to pay for your Iphone and internet connection.  Once you have to pay rent, staying connected becomes too expensive.


From John of Wallan

You nailed it RE: Costs.
Low pay is only half the equation.

When we first got married we rented modest apartments until we saved up to build a very modest house.
We have since expanded a couple of times and will be looking at downsizing again in the next few years as the cubs get ready to leave the den.

All the new houses I have seen are not what I would have called "First homes" 25 years ago let alone in my parents time.

We but too much shit to impress too many assholes.

I had a cheap $12 watch and a free 10 year old blackberry for work, (I destroy watches and phones, so will never but expensive ones) and I drive a 2nd hand Holden I got gifted for nothing!
A previous work colleague who continually complained about being broke had a $700 watch which he can not afford a battery for, and an $800 i-phone with a broken screen he could not afford to fix, drove a 1 year old VW and his wife drove a 3 year old Land Rover which she wanted updated, but once again could not afford….
I offered him my watch and phone to lend until his were fixed, and he turned his nose up at me! Seems some prefer nothing to being seen with what society dictates is not good enough…. My watch, phone and car all worked!

Unfortunately 18 months later I killed both my blackberry and watch. Car is still going strong with 350,000km on clock! (A bit over 200,000 miles in your pommy imperialist units. I thought you guys fought a war of independence with England?)

I now have a work provided i-phone (With a screen I broke after 2 hours!), and a new $7.50 watch in a $25 protective leather band….

In my spare time I fix things, make things, tend my garden and cut firewood for winter heating. People pay tradesmen to fix things, buy everything new and have gas or electric heating. They then are bored on the weekend and go out and pay money to entertain themselves, usually eating out, and then have to pay to attend gym to keep fit!…..

There is not even a thought of being in any way self sufficient. Its like society is aiming to produce the fat marshmallow people in "Walle". If they could I am sure half the population would get someone else to wipe their bums too!

Their children are snowflakes in training.


From K-Dog








"According to the Wall Street Journal, the percentage of Americans in the 18 to 34-year-old age bracket that are currently living with their parents hasn’t been this high in 75 years. "









You started a ramble about 18 and 19 year olds but the statistic concerns 18 to 34 years of age.  That is a huge difference.

If you have not started living your own life by the age of 30 something is seriously wrong with you despite how 'normal' you may appear to be to everyone else.  The prolonged adolescence of modern American adults leaves next to no time to be a genuine real life adult before old age sets in.  Do the math. 

We now have generations of parasites who suck the life blood from parents and elders like the zombies they are infatuated with.  Life should be about more than seeking endless pleasure, it should also be about creation.  Living in your parents basement living only from one distraction to another is not creating anything.  It is living a wasted life.  It may be that most people are quite content living a wasted life and in the absence of positive role models which show other ways to live; most people are incapable of rising up from sloth on their own because they are not imaginative enough to imagine any other way to live.  Few are above average in this regard.  Most snowflakes would not be able to comprehend the concept that by refusing to get on with their lives they are interfering with and causing trouble in their parents lives.  Their perspective is that parents exist to provide for all their needs, and nothing more.

This situation is indicative of is the disregard for all things 'manly' which happened with the emerging dominance of feminism as our dominant social zeitgeist.  When male values were respected as they once were; being an adult living in your parents basement was viewed as weird or strange.  No such judgment, and it is a very appropriate judgment, exists today.  If you share my disgust you have to keep it to yourself or you will be viewed as the one with a problem.

RE mentioned that a salary as a Starbucks Barrista is not enough to support an independent lifestyle and he is quite right.  What has not been said and what needs to be said is that living in a parents basement makes a Starbucks Barrista salary totally unnecessary because you can live for free and never have to grow up.  Mommy says so!


From RE

RE mentioned that a salary as a Starbucks Barrista is not enough to support an independent lifestyle and he is quite right.  What has not been said and what needs to be said is that living in a parents basement makes a Starbucks Barrista salary totally unnecessary because you can live for free and never have to grow up.  Mommy says so!


No, because while parents may continue to feed and clothe you and keep a roof over your head, they usually will not pay for your Iphone and internet bill past a certain point.

The statistics are the result of the economics here.


From K-Dog

Iphone and internet bills don't amount to much and don't require a steady job to pay for them.  The amounts are low enough so a modest inheritance from a grandparent or access to money from more nefarious sources than a steady job are sufficient to cover those needs and delay maturity for so many years that the years turn into forever.

As far as the Internet goes parents do pay for that.


From RE

A new phone every couple of years costs around $600 for a good state of the art one.  A 50 Gig monthly bandwidth on your 4G provider costs  around $70/mo.

This is just a portion of your costs though, you still gotta have some decent clothes to wear on the few occassions you actually interact with people, like while at Starbucks serving up the Java.

You don't get a "modest inheritance" until AFTER your parents are DEAD.  Until then, if they are nice parents and you still get along with them, they wil feed you and keep a roof over your head, but generally speaking the rest is up to you.  A salary as a Starbucks Barrista pays the rest of your daily living tab.


From John of Wallan

Parents should be aiming at producing children who can be independent.
I have seen individuals living on modest incomes doing fine.
If the mind set is "You can stay here as long as you want, eating for free and never lifting a finger", they will stay.
If the mind set is 'You can stay as long as needed, but you are either working or studying full time, helping out with chores, such as collecting firewood, and paying board if working", the individual finds a way to move out!
(Yes, that is what I have told my sons.)

Its not cruel. Its building independent, confident individuals.


From K-Dog

Grandparents can provide the inheritance and without a job you don't need the decent clothes.  The Barista job can be unnecessary, I have seen that it is with my own eyes.  The pittance for a phone can be earned by buying low on ebay and selling high and there are other ways.

My essential point is that living free and easy for most people is a trap and the trap now has total social acceptability because being a functioning adult is too much work.  It is a lot more work if you have never been one to start with.  Beyond endless pleasure it is the human ability to create which gives meaning to our lives.  Yet given the choice most people will not appreciate this simple fact and will foolishly choose endless pleasure instead of a harder path if they can.  Having a Barista job is good for character and character is not developed living in a basement without the need and consequent desire to ever get a job as the years roll by.


From JRM

More important by far than the ACTUAL numbers of people ages 18, 19, 20, 21, 22… which have left the nest in the aforementioned discussion is the possibility that the higher the age number the higher the probability that they've left the nest by that age.   If the spectrum is ages 18-35 and only one person in a thousand have remained "in the nest" between ages 25 – 35, while 99 percent of those still in the nest after age 18 but before the age of 19 or 20… or 23 … well, then, what you said was "impossible" is far more than possible.

You never addressed the actual statistics in this range at all.  Nor did I'  I simply disputed your notion that "it's impossible".


From RE:

It is perfectly possible (though certainly not likely) that 100% of people between ages 18-19 have left the nest


What is POSSIBLE vs what is PROBABLE are entirely different questions.  Just about anything is possible, but few things are probable once you have some statistics on them.

In this case, in all likelihood most of the folks still living at home are in the younger age range.  However, the Sample taken here is from a fairly broad age range, and the likelihood here is that you're seeing increasing numbers staying at "home" through the whole spectrum.  That only makes CFS based on the current economics.

Reading a lot of psychology into this statistic is IMHO ridiculous.  People don't stay in the nest because they wannabee taken care of.  They stay there because they cannot AFFORD to move out!


From RE

That said, I can assure you without a doubt that the older the "child" the more likely that he or she has left the nest.  The younger he or she is over the age of 18, the greater the odds are that he or she is still in the nest.  I would bet my middle pancake that men or women above the age of 25 years are FAR less likely to live with their parents than those between ages 18-20.


That is probably true, but it's not the point of the stat, which is a HISTORICAL point.  The issue is whether more young adults of ANY age within the range of the statistic are still in the nest now than they were say 20 years ago?  Based on economics of the cost of housing to become independent, this seems likely to me.


From K-Dog

You say: 

"People don't stay in the nest because they wannabee taken care of.  They stay there because they cannot AFFORD to move out!" Before the Waltons, people grew up in Tribes and never left them.

What you see here is a demographic shift based on economics, nothing more.

You can find individuals which make your point and I can find individuals who stay in the nest because they wannabee taken care of and that makes my point.   We are both right but never before in history have so many been content to live in the basement for so long as now.  Knowing what we do about feedback loops this is not a good thing.


From RE

Never before in history?  What is the history here?  Basement apartments are only around for the last century or so.

In prior generations, people grew up on the farm and stayed on the farm. See the Waltons.

Before the Waltons, people grew up in Tribes and never left them.

What you see here is a demographic shift based on economics, nothing more.


From Eddie:

I think most kids do move out, one way or another, either for school or a job, by age 19-20. In the culture my kids grew up in, 95% attend university. So they move out, even if Mom and Dad are footing all the bills.

Many of them, upon graduating (or not graduating)  find that it's difficult to make ends meet and move back home. Or move back to get assistance with living expenses while they pursue some kind of training aimed at furthering their financial means.

At present I am putting a roof over the heads of a 32 year old…and a 45 year old. The 32 year old has been involved in some kind of college or higher level training since she was 18, with only a few months off here or there. The 45 year old was  a successful actor who can't make it acting here anymore because the economic climate for film-making here has fallen through the floor due to the politics in the State House. He's re-inventing himself as a videographer, and doing okay…but living with me enables the two of them to have some quality of life, as opposed to barely getting by in the cheapest apartment, which btw, is not cheap at all. It's cheaper to live in Chicago than in Austin.

The young people I see doing well financially are all working for some tech start-up running on private cash…companies that mostly aren't even making money, but burning through investor money.


From Surly:

A lot more of this than people talk about. Young people who are out of the house at 18-19 are back at 24/25. Or 35.
It's a tougher economy in which to come up and gain your own footing. My own daughter is working plus going to school, plus supporting herself, but her apartment is the size of my desk.
We tend to forget that, in our parent's generation, it was not at all unusual to live three generations to a house. The boomer generation got away from that, but it was not at all uncommon with immigrant families. Plenty of my friends lived that way. And even today, it it not uncommon for sandwich generation types to have mom or dad move into the spare bedroom "so they can keep an eye on him/her."
Less money in the economy, as the .01 per cent keep skimming the cream to invest in bigger yachts.


From Roamer:

For what its worth I just turned 34 and my living situation could not be more precarious.  Currently its my truck, my tent, and an odd stint living on an oil rig.

I preemptively collapsed my own life back in 2008 and haven't had a secure career or living situation since.  Its hard to bounce back from that sort of choice when you are a loner by nature and don't have lost connnections and references needed to land a good job.  If the oil market stays OK for even a year I'll finally be able to bootstrap myself into something more secure.

I'd say about half the people near my age I know are in a similar predicament, usually alot worse.  I am mobile with no strings attached and no debt.  I could go to a city and settle for a tread water job and tiny apartment but have instead chosen precarious nomadic-ism.


From Lucid Dreams:

KD, with all due respect, this view of yours is complete bullshit.  Sucking the life from the parents like zombies?  What the fuck do you think a pointless job that doesn't pay enough to live is?  You call that creating?  What does creating anything have to do with an underpaid job that services a corporatocracy who's prime directive is profit, in spite of destroying the planet. 

All these kids living at home has more to do with the fact that there is very little worth doing in our society.  There is even less that will actually pay a descent wage you can actually support yourself on.  So you end up living with three other people who are barely scraping by and working in the service industry waiting tables.  I don't know how the fuck people working at gas stations and fast food restaurants get by.  They probably live at home.  You can't even afford rent on a trailer in a trailer park working at McD's. 

So these kids go to college and end up with 30 to 60k worth of debt that our society promised them was a smart move.  Ends up that you have better chances trying to make it rich in Vegas than you do with a worthless four year degree.

I'd say probably 1 out of 10 kids graduating from college end up with a well paid career.  The rest end up fucked and move back in because they can't make ends meet. 

I moved out of the house when I was 18.  I stayed on my own, mostly with roommates because paying rent and a car payment with a stupid job is impossible to do.  I ended up moving in with family at 32 years old and I'm still living with family.  I have a lot of reasons for that, and I'll happily go into those reasons if I need to. 

Let me ask you something KD.  Do you believe the collapse of our society is happening?  Do you believe peak oil is something we should be concerned about because it's reality? 


From RE:

I moved back home twice.

First time was after my divorce.  I left the ex-wife with the condo until we could get it sold, and I hadda pay my half of the mortgage even though I wasn't living there.  I took the new Astro Van which I was making the payments on.  I was too proud to move back home at first and lived for almost 6 months in the van.  I finally threw in the towel on that and moved home to the house I lived in from age 10 when we came back from Brazil to age 16 when I went off to Columbia.  I stayed there for about 3 years while I got my Master's.

The second time I didn't really live at home, but did keep most of my stuff there.  It was while I was trucking.  My mom had sold the house and moved to Springfield to be near my sister in her retirement years.  She had a 2 bedroom apartment and I had a bed and computer in one of the bedrooms.  I lived mostly in my truck, but every 2 or 3 months I would take a week or two off and I would usually stay about a week with mom and another week I would travel around and stay in motels visiting friends.

After I quit trucking and went back to coaching gymnastics, my habit was to take a Bates Motel room and pay a monthly rate for a few months until I was pretty sure I would stay at the gym a while.  My experience with gyms was that I would often get pissed off at the owner and I would quit or get fired.  However, during this period I did rent a couple of apartments also.  Lost my security deposit in both cases because I did eventually quit the jobs before the lease was up.

Finally I moved up to the Last Great Frontier, where I also took a Bates Motel room for the first 3 months during the winter.  However in May at the beginning of the tourist season they wouldn't give me a monthly rate, so I finally took an apartment where I stayed for around 5-6 years.  In that case I did get my security deposit back on moving out.  Then I moved into my current digs where I am now.

In both cases where I moved back home, without that fallback position I doubt I would have made it.  This also was in a better economic era than today.  There is simply no way young adults just starting out in typical min wage service industry jobs can live on their own today.  Rents are sky high while wages are basement low.  They either live at home or they triple or quadruple up to live in an apartment with a couple of couch convertible beds in the living room and a bunk bed in the bedroom.  Living at home is usually the better choice, since parents don't usually charge any rent at all so you can actually save a little money if you do this.  If you are apartment sharing, you have some share of the rent, electricity, etc.  In the big cities, even just a 1 bedroom goes for $1600, so split 4 ways that's $400/mo right there.

It's utter and complete nonsense to blame Millenials for staying at home in this economic environment.  It's the only thing that really makes economic sense to do.


From K-Dog:

I'm curious why you would ask me if I think the collapse of our society is happening or if peak oil is real.  The answer to both is a resounding yes.  You must be being rhetorical for some reason?

Perhaps you are asking me what collapse means because that is where things get interesting.  Collapse will transform society and almost everybody is going to have to be able to do more with less to maintain any quality of life worth having.  This is a fact, but like ants walking across an empty table all we see is wide open spaces around us.  We like the ants are not aware of the rest of the room.  Only our immediate circumstances define our existence.  We do not see the true situation or the 'bigger' picture of collapse.

I was not trying to piss everyone off and the fact is Ms. Dog and I lived with her mother for a couple of years when we were first married to save money before we got an apartment.  At the time I was in my mid 20's.  Later when we got a house we moved her in with us.  She was a widow and she was no longer safe living where she was living.  The area she is living in is now being gentrified but when we moved her in with us it was getting pretty rough.  Moving her in made my welfare checks miles shorter.

A point in the article was that while people have always combined houses to save money the temporary nature of this arrangement is no longer temporary.  A consequence of the situation no longer being temporary means that people are getting stuck in ruts and not moving forward in life.  To bring this reality out for discussion I advocated that some people are taking advantage of the housing situation and not growing up.  I'm sure this is the case because there are a lot of people who can't get through life without a lot of direction from others.  That is something that is always true for some but not all people.  Unfortunately everybody took my point too personally as a judgment against them when all I was trying to do was identify an intolerable situation.  The intolerable situation being the reduction of opportunity in our lives which in more base terms is the end of the American dream.

I hope my admission that I have needed help and provided help myself helps everyone to understand I make no judgments about anyone's personal situation.  The fact is our society is suffering from lack of direction and some people have false priorities as a result of this lack in direction.  Not everyone does; but in talking about everyone, we must remember that we all lie somewhere on the bell curve and we don't all lie in the same place.  That is the general situation and regarding a lack of affordable housing as our legacy for enriching Wall Street our society is brutalized as a result.

Back when fire was being invented and I was in high school a teacher I had made a point of clarifying the definition of brutalize.  He said the term was meant to describe the process of making someone into a brute and not actually being a brute.  The modern dictionary has both definitions.

1. To make cruel, harsh, or unfeeling.  <-(making someone into a brute)
2. To treat cruelly or harshly.                  <-(being a brute)

I have a genuine interest in looking at social/economic feedbacks and what they mean through a lens of collapse.  Modern life is brutalizing people (by definition 1.) and I am suggesting that the now permanent crisis in affordable housing is a  partial cause of a zeitgeist of denial that prevents our nation from making the right choices concerning our future.

I could cite the election of Trump as proof but that would be a cheap shot.


From RE

That was a good explanation of your intentions with the post, but I don't think the living at home is all that brutalizing unless you don't get along with your parents, which is the case for many people as they move through their teens.  Maybe the parent doesn't like them smoking pot or disapproves of them having sex or doesn't like the crowd of people they hang out with.  Then you end up with constant arguments and that is brutalizing.

In my case I got along fine with my mom and she was very tolerant of pot smoking, my bringing girls over, etc.  I also had the whole upstairs to myself as my sister had moved out and it was a nice layour with 2 bedrooms and a living room area and my own bathroom.  Once I got the condo sold I also did pay her some rent money each month, although a good deal less than I would have had to pay for a similar size living area anywhere in NYC.

What is brutalizing for everyone except the tiny percentage of college grads who still get good career track jobs is the realization that there is no real opportunity and no better future coming down the pipe.  So they retreat into the cyber world of texting and playing games and smoking a lot of pot, which they have enough money to buy since they are not paying rent.

Most of these folks are not really collapse aware, they don't understand the reason the society is falling apart and so often also they blame themselves for the failure to get a good job.  Or their parents blame them, which again is brutalizing.  Then you have folks like Moriarty who sneer at them and call them lazy and incompetent.

For those who do become collapse aware, it's no better.  Over on r/collapse the demographic has many more young adults, and regularly one of them will start a thread along the lines of "How do you handle your depression knowing about collapse?".  We're talking 17 year olds not yet out of high school.  On the right menu bar they have links for suicide prevention.

Of course the situation is only going to get worse, not better, and these days will be looked back on as the "good old days".  When we really do get full on collapse here in the FSoA this type of brutalization will seem like a Sunday Picnic..  Right now, a young adult is FORTUNATE if they have parents with a home big enough for them to keep living in.  But many parents themselves are losing their jobs and having their McMansions foreclosed on.  A forty year old GM worker who gets laid off can easily have a 20 year old child, and now everybody is homeless.  I actually had a friend living in Janesville, Wi who was in just this situation after the 2008 crash, although they didn't lose their house.  He did eventually get a new lower paid job, but it was touch and go there for a while.

The road to collapse is not a pleasant one, especially for the young.  If you're old enough, you've already lived most of your life, so if/when it gets bad enough you just can check out or maybe spend some time in a FEMA camp before the hammer finally comes down.  For the young adult though, they didn't get that life that they watched on TV growing up, and now they realize they never will.  That is definitely brutalizing.

From Lucid Dreams

Thanks for that explanation KD.  I was starting to not like you very much.  This is a topic that is EXTREMELY big on my radar of collapse issues for many reasons.  I really should just blog about it, but honestly, these days, I'm some what hesitant to share all of my personal information with the internet (which is in itself a very large collapse issue).  I know that every time I give more personal information it's being collected, and at the very least it's being sold to those fuckers that pay for those god damn advertisements on every website that clog my computer up and make it slow.  That's one of the reasons why I'm so thankful to RE for making this advertisement free virtual space to come and not be hassled by it. 

I don't so much mind telling my personal information, even knowing that it's being collected.  But I have a wife and two kids, and so my personal information is in a large way theirs as well.  GM has a rather large online life with lots of IRL people she knows.  Anytime I blog it's feasible that any of them can check in, and if I'm disclosing things about my personal life it can get rather uncomfortable. 

I suppose I could do like I did with the Whoville Chronicles and just fictionalize the whole thing.  Or just write about it in the Diner forum.  Here, I have at least a tad bit of anonymity, at least with people IRL in my wife's social media circle of influence.  After all, the NSA already knows everything they need to know about me.  I'm sure they've been keeping a close watch since I got myself kicked out of the Navy during wartime for being a conscientious objector, which is a social stigma I have been living with ever since.  I'm a war veteran that is not considered a veteran by the government or the people.  I always find it fascinating when people look down on me because I did not fulfill my "obligation" to continue bombing innocent people back to the stone ages.  During 9/11 those people were here at home shitting themselves with fear, and I was on one of the two carriers that dropped the first U.S. ordinance on Afghanistan, 6 millions pounds of it during a total of 115 days at sea.  Life ain't fair. 

But more to the issue.  I asked you if you believed in collapse and peak oil because I was starting to think you were like Mking.  Reading what you had to say about those poor kids who are fucked by both of those things, what else could I conclude about you?  I was walkabout for a while on the Diner, and I think that's when you joined the party, so I don't know much about you.  But you called those kids zombies, and you did it in such a way that it looked like you were blaming them for the economic situation that collapse is bringing us.  It's close to home for me because I willingly moved in with family.  I gave up a career in EMS to pursue permaculture and moving in with family was the only way I could make it happen.  At least that's what I thought at the time, but it's even more complicated then that.  I burned out of EMS is really the truth.  Not for the reasons one would think either.  I didn't burn out from the tragedy, gore, or dead babies.  I burned out from the new federal government bureaucracy that came in the beginning years of "Obamacare."  I burned out from the administrative and logistical bull shit that comes with EMS.  When I first started working on an ambulance I had the feeling that I had arrived at my career in life.  Finally I found something that I could do, and that I was good at, and that I had no moral complaint with. 

There are still more layers to this story of mine.  I became collapse aware in 2007 after reading JHK's The Long Emergency.    Before then I was stuck in the world of conspiracy theory.  After I got kicked out of the Navy I knew something was up with 9/11.  I smelled a rat while I was at sea bombing Afghanistan.  I think it had to do with the reports that I was receiving, while we were actively bombing, that we were hitting mosques, wedding parties, and red cross centers.  When I got out I went on an expedition to find out what the truth was.  That led me to conspiracy theory, how could it not?  It was the only explanations I could find for why shit was so fucked up.  Then I found peak oil, and then collapse, and then shit started to make sense.  During this time we had our first child.  When I quit my career to pursue permaculture, which was the only answer I could find for how to raise a family in a collapsing world, my first child was a year old.  Just like when I told the Navy to get fucked, it took a lot of god damned intestinal fortitude and courage to quit a pretty collapse proof career to pursue a fringe movement that offered no promises. 

Here I am five years later running a conventional landscaping business after my permaculture efforts have mostly failed.  Although I did manage to get paid pretty good money to design a food forest for a client, which was featured in a local magazine recently.  That's a LOT more success than most people find in the permaculture world.  The design was inside of an uppity McMansionville neighborhood as well, with an HOA that busts balls about mail box color (my clients neighbor got a letter about the color of her mailbox, it was the wrong color teal). 

Even living with family, where I do not have to pay rent, I need a lot of money with a family.  People mostly don't pay for permaculture, or bamboo, but they pay lots of money to have their conventional landscape managed.  It's something that I'm philosophically opposed to, being a permaculturist, but it's something I do because of money.  I make good money at it to, but not good enough yet to support a family of four on if I were to re-enter into the cruel world of rent/mortgage payments.  I had to get a new (used) truck to give myself a bit more resiliency in my business effort, so I took on that payment.  Then I had to finance more equipment to remain competitive.  It's impossible to get a business loan when you are in your first year of business (unless you are Trump that is, then you get 100's of millions of dollars for free to go bankrupt four times). 

I recently tried to consolidate all of this business debt at the bank and they told me to make double payments on my credit cards and come back next year.  Now I'm just not paying most of those credit cards because I have no choice.  Working at McD's or a grocery store ain't gonna happen.  Not after bombing Afghanistan and working 8 years on a meat wagon.  I'll only end up in one of those soul sucking jobs if I have to to keep my kids fed. 

GM wants her own place so bad she can't stand it.  Her family is the most dysfunctional family I've ever heard tale of, and we live with one of them, and she plays out that dysfunction in ways that reminds GM of the dysfunction she was raised in.  It creates a sort of living hell.  But it also provides us with rent free living on almost two acres where I can grow bamboo and practice permaculture.  It also provides me with the place to house my business, and a place to bring biomass back to on occasion.  It's perfect in every way except for the living with family bit.  Our way of life has become so fucked up that family is often times your worst enemy.  I saw it in EMS over and over again.  It's mostly not perfect strangers you have to beware of, it's your family. 

I could go on…but I think this post is long enough.  Like I said, I should probably just blog about it.  It would be a fucking series for sure.