In the past year or so, I’ve begun to notice a pattern emerging in old friends of mine. As my childhood/college friends creep into their mid and late 20s, many of them seem to be morphing into their parents. They’ve begun to adhere to old values they had rejected or openly rebelled against in their teens and early 20s. They’ve even adopted the personality traits of their parents. In many cases, it’s a good change: the slob who suddenly began to keep a clean house, like the one he grew up in: but I’ve also seen some bad changes: a formerly forward-thinking student reverting to his parents’ racism, a once level-headed thinker suddenly adopting her father’s bull-headed, arrogant, shout-you-down argument method she had so long despised.
The phenomenon has been swift and jarring in most of the cases I’ve witnessed, and I have to say that I’m utterly fascinated by it. We’re all aware of the teenaged rebellion phase, and that it’s only temporary for most of us. But to see such dramatic swings in behaviour so quickly is very unsettling. Did my friends just spend the past decade in the throes of adolescent hormones? Was every step they took away from their parents a farce? It almost seems as if they were destined to become little clones of their families, returning to old traditions and beliefs like salmons swimming back to their spawning creek.