Friday, 16 June 2017

Guest Post - Bella Bailey on Boomerangers

How would you feel if you were forced to move back in with your parents in the morning? In ‘Chasing Yesterday’, I explore the stories of three women who are forced to do just that – and have their experiences documented by a TV crew and broadcast as a four-part TV documentary to boot! These women are what’s called ‘boomerangers’. There are many definitions of the term out there, but one from is particularly interesting; it defines boomerangers as:

Generation-X-aged persons who return home to live with their parents after being unable to find jobs that will provide adequate compensation to support them as well as their parents did.

The boomerangers in my book are Holly, a separated mother of four whose house is repossessed, Stephanie, a former magazine fashion editor who got caught up in the pursuit of an aspirational lifestyle and lived beyond her means, and Eve, an unemployed cellist struggling to find orchestral opportunities. Their stories are fictional; however, in the course of writing this book, I interviewed a number of adults for whom the story of moving back in with their parents was very real. Their circumstances were varied, and sometimes went outside the scope of the above definition. One boomeranger was a man in his late thirties whose marriage had split up. His former partner and children were living in the family home, and he was living with his own parents; they lived close to his family home in an area he couldn't afford to rent in. Living with his parents gave him the freedom to see his children more frequently than he otherwise would have until he found an alternative solution. 

A professional in her early thirties also shared her story with me. She was living with her parents to save a deposit to buy a house in south Dublin, a dream that was proving more and more difficult to bring to a reality due to ever-rising house prices, lack of supply and fierce competition - despite the fact that she had what she described as a ‘healthy salary’. I also spoke at length to a lady in her early twenties who was struggling with depression, anxiety and OCD, and found house sharing with people her own age difficult as a result. Although she was working in a job that allowed her to support herself outside the home, she told me many former housemates had found her OCD tendencies hard to cope with, so she chose to move back in with her parents because they understood her ways. She may have had to put up with her workmates’ reactions, but she didn’t have to put up with anyone else’s once she left work, she said. Living with her parents was her choice, just like living on her own would be one day when she’d saved enough money to buy her own place.

There were many more, and when I put the call out online for people to talk to about this subject, I received a much bigger response than I had expected. Boomerangers seemed keen to have their voices heard and to make it clear they had a plan for their future — and that they weren’t just sponging off their parents for no good reason. Despite the diversity of their circumstances, one thing they did have in common was that they all seemed reluctant to participate in a TV show chronicling the journey to their endgames – and yet if they’d get opportunities from a show that would ultimately help them gain independence again, they could see why people would be tempted to do so.

As for Holly, Stephanie and Eve, their participation certainly leads them on a road to experiences they’d never otherwise have had…

Thank you so much Bella for talking about Boomerangers. 

Bella Bailey is an Irish author. Chasing Yesterday is her second independent release; her first, Bridal Bootcamp, was released in 2014. Prior to self-publishing, Bella released several books with a traditional publisher. Bella is based in Dublin, Ireland.

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