Salon magazine wrote about the five milestones that signify adulthood:
- The end of formal education.
- Separation from the family.
- Financial independence.
In 1960, 77 percent of women and 65 percent of men had
passed all five milestones by the age of 30. By 2000, fewer than 50
percent of the women and 33 percent of the men had done so.
We’ve heard this before–that all of these are being postponed to later in line.
I was musing about it regarding myself. I did the first three on time. I basically separated from my parents at age 19 when I moved across the country to start college. I ended my formal education at age 23, and went right into my career, thereby achieving financial independence.
Marriage waited until I was 33. Most people agree that postponing marriage can be a good thing, since you go into it with more maturity and resources. And parenthood ain’t gonna happen, by choice.
So I’ve followed the traditional script pretty well. So did my two brothers (all five steps). I think it’s a pretty healthy script, when you get right down to it.
The article notes that some people now refer to the 20s as “emerging adulthood,” a stage people pass through on their way to full adulthood. I don’t like that concept. In earlier times, people were getting married and having kids and starting careers at 16, and doing fine. Is there something about our culture that makes it more difficult for people to mature?