The NY Times had a really good article about what it means to be 20-something, now-a-days. Apparently, more and more 20-somethings aren’t really adults, but are in a transition phase, or “emerging adulthood.”
I found the article to be really intriguing, mostly because I could see a lot of truth to it. 30 years ago, the majority of 20-somethings graduated, got jobs, lived on their own, got married, and had kids before they hit 30. That just isn’t happening in 2010.
Apparently, there used to be five milestones that marked your journey into adulthood:
1). Completing school
2). Leaving home (for good)
3). Becoming financially independent
4). Getting married
5). Having children
1). Completing school–well, I finished undergrad by 22. Decided to go back at 24. At 25, decided I want my Ph.D., so I probably won’t be done until I’m in my 30s. Drat. Not an adult. 🙂
2). Leaving home (for good)–thought I had left home for good by the time I was a Freshman in college. Life had different plans, and I had to temporarily move back home at 22. I think I lived there about 6 months. Won’t ever be going back, because that “home” doesn’t exist anymore.
3). Becoming financially independent–I believe I hit this stage in my teens. During HS I paid for all of my activities, trips, etc. However, by college I totally paid my own bills, living expenses, had a job, etc. I WISH this stage came later, because then maybe I wouldn’t be so broke, but…at least I know I can manage my money!
4). Getting married–Check! Got that one off my list at 24.
5). Having children–Hmmm, not quite ready for this one yet. Guess I’m not ready to be an adult yet. 🙂 Perhaps we’ll be there within a few years.
The article goes into the many different reasons why many 20-somethings are “emerging adults” instead of the full-fledged variety. Apparently, society is evolving. Who knew? Also, there are a lot of mixed messages about our age…like, it’s okay to live together before you’re married at 27, but if you’re married at 22 and having babies at 23, you’re just too young.
Moral of the story? Read the article. I think there’s an element of truth to it for every single person in their 20s.