I’d like to take a minute to address the elephant in the room right from the start. I’m a 32-year-old handicapped millennial, eight years out of college, legally-barred from driving due to a neurological condition, suffering from random epileptic seizures, and currently living at home. As you might imagine, this isn't exactly the most optimal situation for someone who would like to move ahead in life and have their own family, career and house as soon as humanely possible. (At this point, I’d even settle for a cramped apartment like the one I had during my junior year of college, minus the three roommates and occasional cockroach.) But, no one ever said life would be easy or convenient. In fact, it tends to be the polar opposite.
Today I read the story about Mark and Christina Rotondo, a married couple living in New York, who have decided to sue their freeloading 30-year-old son, Michael, for refusing to pack up and move out of the house. Apparently ‘ole Mikey didn’t catch the first hint when his parents reportedly gave him a written notice on February 2 telling him that he had two weeks to leave. After a subsequent eviction notice in March and several additional notes over the following weeks and months, he still refused to budge. So, what did Mark and Christina do? They filed official court documents and set a hearing with the Supreme Court of New York State.
Wow. I guess they weren’t kidding. The court intervened and said that since Michael is a family member he cannot technically be “evicted.” He has to “be removed through an ejectment proceeding.” An official hearing was held today, May 22, as I write this. In response to discovering that mommy and daddy were suing his pants off, Mikey actually had the gall to argue that the five written notices did not give him an adequate amount of time to box up his crap and get out of there.
Yes. Seriously. He even cited the 2006 legal case Kosa vs. Legg, which says that “there is Common law requirement of six-month notice to quit before tenant may be removed through ejectment action.”
He also went on to claim that he “has never been expected to contribute to household expenses, or assisted with chores and the maintenance of the premises, and claims that this is simply a component of his living agreement.”
Good grief. I don’t know whether or not to weep for my generation or to hide in seclusion from sheer embarrassment.
It seems that many of us have bought into the lie that young adulthood is meant to be a time of extreme narcissism, lavish comfort and grotesque self-centeredness — a time for rent-free living, unlimited video games, Netflix, keg parties, shallow friendships, premarital sex, late-night outings, complimentary food and WiFi, and an endless supply of Fidget Spinners. (God help us all.) We are consumed with acquiring what pleases us in the present, rather than focusing on what will be most beneficial to our future. It’s no wonder we can’t be bothered to mow the lawn, do the dishes, vacuum the floor, pay some rent, take out the trash, get a job or contribute to our family’s overall wellbeing in any way whatsoever. We’re far too preoccupied with our damned childish activities.
If not carefully monitored, these activities soon become the norm. The immature 30-year-old millennial bum goes to bed one night and wakes up the next morning a 43-year-old squatter living in his parent’s basement. This sort of thing is a tragedy.
And maybe that’s the difference between a millennial like Michael Rotondo and a millennial like Josh Givens. Maybe that’s why Mark and Christina are suing their son, while my parents are not suing me. It’s not because I’m perfect. Far from it, in fact.
But, perhaps, just maybe, it’s because I have chosen to do things like work alongside my dad on his yard client projects and to volunteer on staff at the church where he serves as senior pastor. Perhaps it’s because I do “assist with chores” inside and outside of the home, despite my medical condition and driving handicap. Maybe it’s because I recognize that being part of a family means, at the very least, choosing to make some personal sacrifices. It means centering your entire existence around the needs and wellbeing of others, rather than around yourself.
So, to my fellow "at-home" millennials out there: It’s obviously too late for poor Mikey and he deserves every bit of whatever fate awaits him. But, it’s not too late for you. Take a lesson from his story and from mine.
If your parents are giving you the boot for these sort of reasons, it’s time to reevaluate your priorities.
It's time to reevaluate your goals, plans and ambitions.
And, ultimately, it’s time to reevaluate your life.