23 Aug 2010

Growing up late

NYT has an article on how more and more youngsters in their 20s are taking longer to reach adulthood. Many of them are not shifting out of their parents’s home and some return back. This is not just because of the economic crisis - it something far deeper.

It seems that young people are delaying the beginning of adult life.

Somewhere the article has an interesting statistic that only Americans can mine out -

One-third of people in their 20s move to a new residence every year. Forty percent move back home with their parents at least once. They go through an average of seven jobs in their 20s… Two-thirds spend at least some time living with a romantic partner without being married…The median age at first marriage in the early 1970s, when the baby boomers were young, was 21 for women and 23 for men; by 2009 it had climbed to 26 for women and 28 for men, five years in a little more than a generation.

When I look at my 20’s am trying to remember how many jobs I had. 8 freelance projects that lasted anything between 6 months to a year. 4 projects that I managed – 2 with someone else’s money and 2 where I put in money with a friend. Finally at the ripe old age of 29, I decided to take up a job which lasted two years.

Of course I stayed with my folks till I was 30. The problem was that in India you only move out if you go to study in another city or a professional college (like my younger brother did). Else if you moved out, people thought there was problem with your parents.

I still remember my mother was asked in her office whether everything was OK with me and why I was shifting out. The funny thing was many of my friends also dissuaded me.

Growing up in India has the same milestones as in the US – getting a job, getting married and moving out - but not necessarily in that order. In the US, we were told that moving out would precede getting married. Of course some Indians would never move out – stay on with their parents after getting married.

Part of the confusion is when society treats you that you have grown up. You can vote at 18 but most public places do not let you drink till you are 21 (in some cases 25). Legal marriage age is not for you. When you cross that age it is time for your parents to look for a groom or a bride. In fact unless you have moved to another country or planet most of your decisions continue to be taken by parents.

The article concludes:

The 20s are when most people accumulate almost all of their formal education; when most people meet their future spouses and the friends they will keep; when most people start on the careers that they will stay with for many years. This is when adventures, experiments, travels, relationships are embarked on with an abandon that probably will not happen again.

I would agree with most of that. What about you?


Life@60 said...

Would you like to call it "those good old days ?"

menon said...

me thinks life starts at 50..when your kids ahve moved out in their 20s, you ahve some money to play with, a roof over your head, and some taste for good food and wine..

ifnotme said...

well said !