Sunday, August 22

Emerging Adulthood

I read an article in the NYTimes* called What Is It About 20-Somethings?

Psychologists and sociologists believe there may be a new developmental phase to explain the growing number of twenty-somethings who are delaying taking society's traditional path of adulthood to much later in life. This phase includes self-discovery, self-indulgence, dependence on parental support (for some), and the struggle to make life choices when there are unlimited options. They coined the phrase as "emerging adulthood."

I like this idea because it makes me feel like I'm not alone. I had no clue what I was doing in my twenties (check out my 2007 posts) and while I'm still not sure where I'm headed, I definitely feel like I'm emerging as something. I say "something" instead of "adult" because I've viewed adults as people who are married/partnered, have children, own a home, are financially secure, and/or don't hand wash underwear in the sink because they are too lazy to laundry.

I am none of those things which is why I have a hard time saying I am an adult. Society says I've been one since 18. But why? Should the definition of adult be based on age or accomplishments?

As a single 32 year old, I have the luxury to be a self-indulgent, self-involved, woman-child. I work and I pay my bills, but other than that I have no responsibilities. Does this make me less of a grown-up? I don't know...

This will be shocking (not really) that I liked this idea most:

"N.I.M.H. scientists also found a time lag between the growth of the limbic system, where emotions originate, and of the prefrontal cortex, which manages those emotions. The limbic system explodes during puberty, but the prefrontal cortex keeps maturing for another 10 years. Giedd said it is logical to suppose...that when the limbic system is fully active but the cortex is still being built, emotions might outweigh rationality."

Possible physiological reasons for my neuroses are comforting.

Any thoughts on the article? I spoke to my mom about it and she said we're all just a bunch of lazy, whiny fucks that won't shit or get off the pot. Okay, maybe she didn't say that, but I know that's what she was thinking.

*Look at me! I'm reading!

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