THE BLOG

Why the 'Clipped Wing Generation' Is Flying Higher Than Ever

08/08/2014 11:58 BST | Updated 07/10/2014 10:59 BST

"Boomerang adultescents": I'm one of them.

Like all of those 20 and even 30-somethings the media can't get enough of bemoaning, I've boomeranged back to the baby nest after years of independent living.

After three years at uni, a year in Paris, half a year globe-trotting over the other side of the world (all without mummy and daddy there to nurse me with Calpol when the times got tough), I'm back in my bright, cuddly bear-filled bedroom which a younger version of me with questionable taste once thought cool.

But unlike the way that situ is often portrayed, for the moment I'm actually quite happy there.

Living at home as part of the "clipped wing generation" can be far from ideal. But there are positives; I might not have quite as much autonomy but what I do have is a sense of belonging rooted to my past, stronger family ties than ever before, and (slightly) more space than in my 10m² uni room/box.

Taking more time to move out and move on means we have more time to figure out what we want to do, where we want to be and what's most important to us - without rushing in when we're not ready.

Generation Y/the millennials/call-us-what-you-will have it tough.

But it's not so much because of the actual reality than because of the way we're sometimes portrayed; as a sort of robotic, technology-obsessed bunch of egotistical aliens, victims of an apparently dire society with a housing crisis and an employment crisis and an emotional crisis and any other crisis you may wish to name, a generation who apparently don't have a patch on that of our parents.

But when people yearn for those past times, I can't help thinking there's a smidgen of rose tainting their glasses.

When people complain about the apparent loss of community and kindness, they seem to ignore the good things Generation Y have done; numerous youth-led initiatives, student-run committees in schools across the country, young people working together to create opportunity and equality for everyone.

Social media suggests we have a stronger sense of community than ever before; for every bad word said against someone on twitter there's a host of people queuing up to show support, and for every global tragedy there's a network of people connecting together to grieve.

And it's not just in the digital world.

When I went travelling this year I was overwhelmed by the sense of community between fellow backpackers - it was like a big family gathering with distant relatives you'd never actually met but nevertheless pretended you'd known all your life. I put my trust in everyone - and no-one failed me.

We have these opportunities to travel and we're more ambitious now. More of us are graduating from university, we've been encouraged to follow dreams and we're redefining what success means for us.

Instead of just seeking financial stability, we're searching for fulfillment - and happiness - both in and outside of work. And, despite what the cynics say, we're achieving it, slowly but surely.

Even the tough job market so often spoken about has its perks; we're having to become more and more creative, innovative, entrepreneurial and determined if we want to achieve our dreams.

We might not be able to buy a house aged 21 any more, but to judge our generation's success or happiness on whether we do (or will ever) own a house seems absurd.

It's measuring success by financial status and ignoring everything else - like the fact that, thanks to the internet, the public has a louder voice than it ever has before, or that we're more sexually liberated, or that we question the status quo if something's not right.

Anyone who thinks that's a bad thing is living proof that we need it.

To say that we're selfish ignores the fact that we're living in one of the most progressive, diverse and fluid societies our country has ever seen.

So I might be bucking the trend in saying this, but I don't think Harold Macmillan's famous words of 1957 - "Most of our people have never had it so good" - are as far away from reality today as so many people would make them out to be.

For more of my writing please check out my travel blog (recounting my frenzies, fails and fortunes in Australasia, Asia and Paris) at http://laviedeparis.wordpress.com/