The New York Times, & this article is trying to get the 20-somethings riled up, in an attempt at who-knows-what. Ratings, readership, subscriptions, blah. Who cares. Point is, it’s working. Not really a bad thing this time, since the article is wrong on so many levels, as a lot of commenters point out.
Sociologists traditionally define the “transition to adulthood” as marked by five milestones: completing school, leaving home, becoming financially independent, marrying and having a child.
Okay, so maybe that was a standard 20 or 30 years ago. Today? In this modern age, that doesn’t always work.
- Completing School – Okay, how far? Are we talking High School? College? 2- or 4-year? Graduate school? While most of us are fairly adept at graduating high school, there are a lot of us who were unable or just unwilling to attend college. College costs a lot. Those costs, should we choose to accept them, typically come in the form of loans. And those loans make it hard to…
- Becoming Financially Independent – This aspect of “growing up” is becoming more and more of a stumbling block, the further you go on the higher education ladder. Loans are hefty. You pay them off over time, but that still takes a long, long time. Then what if you need a car? A credit card for emergencies? In my mind, a person is not financially independent until they can afford to live entirely on their own, despite whatever loans they have. That may be different from what the article defines, but I think it would extremely difficult to live on ones’ own if they had rent, student loans, credit cards, car loan, & other bills & utilities to pay. Some people will most likely not ever be financially independent, because they’ll have roommates, significant others, or spouses with whom they’ll share rent and other monetary responsibilities.
- Leaving Home – Lack of sufficient income and job opportunities are two major reasons for not being able to leave home. But what about those who choose to stay home not because they can’t leave, but because to leave would be detrimental to their parents, whether financially, physically, or emotionally. With families who may have begun later in the parents’ lives, their 20-something children may find it difficult to leave home, lest their parents health suffer. This concept would also hinder…
- Getting Married – It would be a little difficult, in my mind, to date and eventually marry if I were burdened by lack of job opportunities, ailing parents or siblings, attempting to repay loans or any of the other issues that were previously mentioned. Those issues aside, some people just aren’t the marrying type. They much prefer their independence and the freedom to do whatever they want whenever they choose. On the other hand, those who have found their love may not choose to marry straightaway, choosing instead to cohabitate for a time to ‘test the water,’ waiting until an appropriate time to marry.
- Having a Child – This event could occur either before or after marriage, and again, some people are not the child-rearing type. Women, with more choices for prevention, can choose to delay the childbearing process until they are ready, instead of letting Mother Nature make the choice for them.
When I grow up…
As far as I’m concerned, I’ve completed two of the five milestones. I’ve completed school as far as I chose to go, and I’ve moved away from home. By no means have I become financially independent, I have yet to marry, and last I checked I have no offspring.
I’m okay with that. I’m happy, I have my hobbies, I’m slowly ridding myself of debts, & I’m living with someone I love very dearly. So as far as I’m concerned, at 27 years old, I’m grown up enough. Will I ever reach the other milestones? Maybe, but I’m not rushing it. Besides, anyone who has “grown up” will always tell someone younger than them not to rush it. So why not take the advice of your elders, and not rush it?