Robin Marantz Henig’s piece in the New York Times today, ‘What Is It About 20-Somethings?‘ left me with an abundance of thoughts.
The article starts out by describing what the ‘milestones’ of adulthood are: completing school, leaving home, becoming financially independent, marrying and having a child. And since numbers show my generation hasn’t hit those yet, or is approaching them in a different order, she suggest this means we “slouch towards adulthood.”
While I appreciate the amount of research and thoughtfulness that went into this, I feel compelled to offer the other side. While some of my peers may appear to be ‘slouching’ towards adulthood, some of them have accelerated towards it, building new milestones that might set the next generation’s bar. Milestones like being your own boss, traveling the world, paying for your own health care. Milestones that positively help our generation to worry less about how we stack up against the past, and more about how we can contribute to the new, emerging American future.
20-somethings, as noted by Henig, also have something else going for them – a sense of possibility. One that has been considered ‘romantic’ and fades in time. Yet from my perspective, that sense is one of the qualities driving innovation, new models of business, opportunities for growth. Far from romantic, it’s a new reality.
Now that deserves to be a milestone.
What Is It About 20-Somethings? – The New York Times, 08/20/2010
Why Can’t Twenty-Somethings Grow Up? -The Atlantic, 08/20/2010