Living Fully In Midlife And Beyond

Business

The phone call, coming in early one morning hours on calling collection I used for my part-time Northwestern University admissions work, was startling in its insistence and urgency. The caller was a female I’ll call Patti, a yr before whose daughter Madison I had developed interviewed. Madison was now enrolled as a theater major at Northwestern. Patti said, her voice tense. There is a sigh on the other end of the line. Patti said finally.

Another pause. Another sigh. The day that I left home to wait Northwestern I thought back again to. It had been a radical concept. I put never seen the campus, never known anyone who went there, had never flown before, had traveled alone never. My parents couldn’t afford to accompany me from LA to Chicago.

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My mom kissed me and hugged me tight, then stepped quickly away as my father and I remaining for the airport. On the plane Once, I broke into wracking sobs. A kind older girl — an angel for certain — transferred from two rows behind to sit beside me and hold me, reassuring me that university will be a wonderful adventure, that I’d just love Chicago, that it was O.K. My spirits rose even more when volunteer Northwestern students greeted me warmly in the baggage claim section of O’Hare and transferred me to campus.

Once I met my roommate Cheryl, a kindred soul, I cheered up considerably. I used to be (leaving out all the crying stuff). The scenario is somewhat different today. Adults are, generally, more sophisticated, more well traveled. And yet, it seems harder for many to leave the nest. During my 20 years of part-time university admissions work, I spent lots of time before and after university fairs trading stories with repetitions from other schools about the separation complications that students and parents appeared to have.

For some adults, going to college or getting that first tiny, shared apartment is a step down from the way they are living. For someone who has had his or her own room always, foods and laundry provided by Mother, dorm living can be a shock. For anyone who has been praised non-stop by very pleased parents, arriving on campus to find that just about everybody they meet has similar or even more stellar achievements can be a tough dosage of truth.

For teenagers departing home to work and live on their own, adjusting to work schedules, company anticipations, the realities of coping with non-relatives and doing all the duties of daily success oneself can be, at least initially, challenging. But it’s all essential preparation for the needs of adult living. But many young adults today seem stuck in childhood and, sometimes, parental collusion is obvious. My mouth fell open.