If you’re interested in the subject of extended adolescence, but didn’t find the last article we linked to on the subject to your liking, be sure to check out this one in the upcoming NYT magazine. The author takes the time to lay out a thoughtful and pretty balanced look at both sides of what some psychologists are calling a new life stage: emerging adulthood. “Emerging adulthood” represents the putting off of the traditional milestones of adulthood like job, marriage, and children for a phase, typically in one’s 20s, marked by “identity exploration, instability, self-focus, feeling in-between and….’a sense of possibilities.’” This stage of “emerging adulthood” led 60 percent of the 20-somethings in one study to say they “felt like both grown-ups and not-quite-grown-ups.”
This change in the expectations for the timetable of growing up brings up a host of very interesting questions:
“The more profound question behind the scholarly intrigue is the one that really captivates parents: whether the prolongation of this unsettled time of life is a good thing or a bad thing. With life spans stretching into the ninth decade, is it better for young people to experiment in their 20s before making choices they’ll have to live with for more than half a century? Or is adulthood now so malleable, with marriage and employment options constantly being reassessed, that young people would be better off just getting started on something, or else they’ll never catch up, consigned to remain always a few steps behind the early bloomers? Is emerging adulthood a rich and varied period for self-discovery, as Arnett says it is? Or is it just another term for self-indulgence?”
What do you think?