My generation was immersed in lovey-dovey sentiments about “being ourselves” and “doing what makes us happy.” Our parents probably thought they were doing us a favor–the Woodstock and Summer of Love generation, they felt like they had to struggle with their parents to go off and do what they wanted. Hell, even today there are scads of movies and TV shows lionizing the 60’s radicals who bucked what their parents wanted in order to Live the Dream.

The problem was, much of my generation decided that being themselves and doing what makes them happy was being slackers and mooching. I think that a lot of what made our parents such go-getters was the fact that–at least as they saw it–people were always telling them they couldn’t or shouldn’t do things. Who wouldn’t want to go out and get busy confronted with that, especially if there were millions in the same boat? But if from the start you’re told that you’re special and mollycoddled, you get kids working at a 7-11 with a Masters degree, just content to scrape by. Say what you will about the unshaven pot-smoking hippies of yesteryear, but they got shit done.

I was determined to avoid what was, to me, the ultimate badge of shame: moving back in with Mom and Dad and gradually abandoning all pretense of an independent life. Which led me, straight-arrow, to my current predicament.