Ugh. So I was reading this article in the New York Times Magazine last week, and I just had to tell you it kind of infuriated me. Please read it and let me know what you think.
It boils down to this: kids today are putting off "adulthood" longer than 20 somethings did a generation ago. What's adulthood? A magical age? When you feel like a grown up? Apparently, there are five milestones that mark the transition to adulthood: completing school, leaving home, becoming financially independent, marrying, and having a child. In 1960, 77 percent of women and 65 percent of men had reached all 5 milestones by the time they were 30. By 2000, less than half of the women and 1/3 of men had reached those same milestones by 30. I would not be surprised if the 2010 census data reflects even less.
But is that because 20 somethings are entitled or lazy? I don't think so. I mean, of course, I'm a twenty-something and I'm going to stand up for my age group. First off, the economy is really to blame. I really think having one of the worst economies in a generation is a ripple effect for everything else - how can you leave home when your job barely pays you enough to live (if you even have a job)? On top of that, are you going to be attracting potential mates from your childhood bedroom? Probably not. And don't even think about bringing a baby into that mess.
I'm going to look at the positive aspects of not achieving these milestones - first off, many 20 somethings are "putting off" getting a job right out of school to do something altruistic, like AmeriCorps, the Peace Corps, or getting involved in other national and international service groups. The rate of service has exploded in the last 20 years. Also, I'd like to think that marrying older (the average age for marriage now is 26 for women and 28 for men, compared to 21 for women and 23 for men in the early 70's) would mean you're better prepared emotionally to handle the responsibilities and the seriousness of marriage. The divorce rate hovers around 50% - maybe because of the 20 somethings holding out, the divorce rate will start to go down in the next 10-20 years. By waiting to have children until you're older, parents are more likely to be financially stable, as well as prepared for the intense and lifelong commitment to be good parents. When did waiting because you're preparing become a bad thing?
What do you all think? Do you think that 20 somethings are putting off becoming adults or do you think they're taking time to make decisions that will impact the course of their lives?