You’ve heard us say this before: being a boomer means from the moment you were born, someone was analyzing your every move, speculating on your motivations and labeling you as just one more indication of an overall trend for your generation.
Well guess what? The “experts” seem to be turning their magnifying glasses away from us – and onto our children.
Want proof? Consider the recent NY Times long-winded magazine article, “What Is It About 20-Somethings?” The piece is ten pages long on the online version!
Among the revelations (italics denotes our sarcasm)…our kids are taking a longer time to grow up:
We’re in the thick of what one sociologist calls “the changing timetable for adulthood.” Sociologists traditionally define the “transition to adulthood” as marked by five milestones: completing school, leaving home, becoming financially independent, marrying and having a child. In 1960, 77 percent of women and 65 percent of men had, by the time they reached 30, passed all five milestones. Among 30-year-olds in 2000, according to data from the United States Census Bureau, fewer than half of the women and one-third of the men had done so. A Canadian study reported that a typical 30-year-old in 2001 had completed the same number of milestones as a 25-year-old in the early ’70s.
So, is this a good thing or a bad thing? Reporter Robin Marantz Henig does a nice job of looking at both sides of that question:
It’s easy to see the advantages to the delay. There is time enough for adulthood and its attendant obligations; maybe if kids take longer to choose their mates and their careers, they’ll make fewer mistakes and live happier lives. But it’s just as easy to see the drawbacks. As the settling-down sputters along for the “emerging adults,” things can get precarious for the rest of us. Parents are helping pay bills they never counted on paying, and social institutions are missing out on young people contributing to productivity and growth. Of course, the recession complicates things, and even if every 20-something were ready to skip the “emerging” moratorium and act like a grown-up, there wouldn’t necessarily be jobs for them all.
Henig goes on to say that we’re “caught in a weird moment,” and anyone of us who has kids in their 20s right now would have to agree. But then, our parents would probably say they felt caught in a weird moment when we were in our 20s in the turbulent-for-different-reasons 60s and 70s.
But isn’t it interesting (and dare we say, refreshing?) to think that researchers may have finally found a new generation to pick on? Sorry kids…
If you’ve got some time on your hands, you can click here to read the entire NY Times piece.