Remember the post last week on careers and hookup culture where I eschewed punny titles in favor of non-verbal rage? Well, I’ve expanded on some of those ideas and picked up a few new digressions in an essay for First Things‘s On the Square feature. My essay is titled “The Sad Secular Monks” and here’s a teaser quote:
After graduation from college, young adults lose their deadlines. We stop making transitions as a cohort, and are expected to figure out when new stages of life begin on our own. Maturity, we’re told, is a kind of existentialist skill, learning how to define and describe your life. But we could use some better archetypes to draw on. There’s no more weakness in being part of a tradition and a structure than there is in an author drawing on one of Joseph Campbell’s narrative types.
The high-commitment jobs that drive Rosin’s interviewees to forgo intimacy and that sunder Slaughter and her peers from their families are pernicious because we don’t yet have an expectation of when and how to leave them. There’s no exit strategy, no moment when your life as a turbine ends, and your real life as an adult with responsibilities and vulnerabilities begins.
And, in a nice bit of synergy, the other On the Square column today is also contrasting conventional careers and monasticism (though James R. Rogers is talking about the opportunities each offer to do good work for others, not the structure they give your life.
Hie thee hence! And if you see any interesting reactions/rebuttals, let me know and I’ll give links at the bottom of this post.