Check out this New York Times Article:
The article is about how the 20’s and early 30’s seem to be much more of a transitional time than ever before. It’s a 10 page super long article, so I bulleted the parts that I found the most interesting below. Enjoy!
- Sociologists traditionally define the “transition to adulthood” as marked by five milestones: completing school, leaving home, becoming financially independent, marrying and having a child.
- The traditional path to adulthood seems to have gone off course, as young people remain un-tethered to romantic partners or to permanent homes, going back to school for lack of better options, traveling, avoiding commitments, competing ferociously for unpaid internships or temporary (and often grueling) Teach for America jobs, forestalling the beginning of adult life.
- Getting to what we would generally call adulthood is happening later than ever. But why? That’s the subject of lively debate among policy makers and academics
- A psychology professor at Clark University in Worcester, Mass., is leading the movement to view the 20s as a distinct life stage, which he calls “emerging adulthood.” He says what is happening now is analogous to what happened a century ago, when social and economic changes helped create adolescence.
- Just as adolescence has its particular psychological profile, Arnett says, so does emerging adulthood: identity exploration, instability, self-focus, feeling in-between and a rather poetic characteristic he calls “a sense of possibilities.”
- What would it look like to extend some of the special status of adolescents to young people in their 20s? If society decides to protect these young people or treat them differently from fully grown adults, how can we do this without becoming all the things that grown children resist — controlling, moralizing, paternalistic?
- Some 25-year-olds are married homeowners with good jobs and a couple of kids; others are still living with their parents and working at transient jobs, or not working at all.
- The more profound question behind the scholarly intrigue is the one that really captivates parents: whether the prolongation of this unsettled time of life is a good thing or a bad thing. Is emerging adulthood a rich and varied period for self-discovery, as Arnett says it is? Or is it just another term for self-indulgence?
- 60 percent of his subjects told him they felt like both grown-ups and not-quite-grown-ups
- Today young people don’t expect to marry until their late 20s, don’t expect to start a family until their 30s, don’t expect to be on track for a rewarding career until much later than their parents were.
- Nor do parents expect their children to grow up right away — and they might not even want them to. Parents might regret having themselves jumped into marriage or a career and hope for more considered choices for their children. They might keep hovering and problem-solving long past the time when their children should be solving problems on their own. This might, in a strange way, be part of what keeps their grown children in the limbo between adolescence and adulthood.
- But emerging adulthood can be in fullest flower only when the young person has some other, nontraditional means of support — which would seem to make the delay something of a luxury item…While the complaints of these young people are heartfelt, they are also the complaints of the privileged.
- 24-year-old from Virginia: “There is pressure to make decisions that will form the foundation for the rest of your life in your 20s. It’s almost as if having a range of limited options would be easier.”