“Sense of Possibilities”

Attention Millenials:

Do you have a college degree? Do you have a full-time job? Do you have your own home? Are you in a serious relationship?

No, I am not a bank lender.

 If these questions are overwhelming, don’t sweat it. I answered “yes” to only one of these questions and according to an article in NY Times Magazine What Is It About 20-Somethings? by Robin Marantz Henig I am in good company.  In fact, Jeffrey Arnett, a psychology professor at Clark University views the 20s as a distinct life stage between adolescence and adulthood, which he calls “emerging adulthood.”

As Arnett points out, there are a whole host of factors that help explain this changing timetable for adulthood: Economic, societal, technological and even developmental, to name a few. The article highlights a recent study sponsored by the National Institute of Mental Health  which showed that human brains were not fully mature until at least 25 – which is later than what scientists previously thought.   

When my Grandad was my age he was well into his career and married with two children. Although I just earned a Master’s degree I haven’t tied the knot and I don’t have any children … that I know about (ba-dump-bump).

It took him years and years to get his college degree because he was working full-time while supporting and helping raise a family. I admire the way he managed to juggle these responsibilities and advance professionally and personally, but I am also relieved that our generation doesn’t have the same kind of pressure to meet these milestones at such an early age. Sure, I would’ve prefered to start a career straight out of undergrad instead of accruing more debt from student loans, but the recession made that difficult. With one foot in the adult world and the other in a variety of other places  I have been able to use this time for self-discovery, adventures,  relationships, and to further my education.  Now I have a better understanding of what I want and my goals and aspirations are much more clear.

Evaluate your own situation and look around at other people you know and see what stage they fit in. I have friends that are all over the spectrum. One path isn’t necessarily better than another … generally speaking. Marriage, kids and even financial autonomy might come a little later for most of us Millenials or Echo Boomers, but maybe then we won’t have to endure that mid-life crisis because we rushed through our “emerging adulthood” stage too swiftly.

  1. #1 by Ryan Scarlino on September 21, 2010 - 4:59 am

    Great article in the Times. Glad to see someone else acknowledges this, although I am sure most are aware but unwilling to admit it.

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