Dear 20-Somethings : You’re Not Alone!

It’s very common that the majority of my friends who graduated college moved back in with their parents. I know it’s not the most ideal thing after you’ve had your freedom for 4 years in college, but everyone’s essentially doing it. The economy and job market aren’t that great for college grads, thus the money-saving thing to do is move back home and find a job in/around your hometown. Fortunately, I was one of the few that got my own place after college and kept a steady job for over a year and half now. Although, when I first moved away from college I did bounce around my close friends’ family homes before I found a steady job and apartment (took me about 3 months to find a job). The age when we decide to get married has changed with our generation as well. It’s true that myself and all my peers (for the most part) are waiting to get hitched until our late twenties. We are the 20-somethings.

20-somethings are taking a longer time to finish school, leave home, start a career, get married and settle down, and reach other key milestones of adulthood. This fact has been proven by sociologists and psychologists who obtained the supporting data I’m going to discuss below.

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, more job changes than in any other stretch. Two-thirds spend at least some time living with a romantic partner without being married. And marriage occurs LATER than ever. 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, give years in a little more than a generation. – Marantz Henig

The stage between late teens through mid twenties is now a distinct stage of life deemed as “emerging adulthood,” according to Jeffrey Arnett. Guess that’s where I fall at the moment… This phase only relates to about 18% of the global population in developed countries such as the US, Canada, Western Europe, Australia, and Japan.  Generally speaking, people living in the rest of the developed countries of the world are much more likely to finish a formal education on time and get married by their early 20’s. I have to say that I’ve seen this occur with my friends who live in Europe and Australia- many have graduated from a University and got married right afterwards.

In a recent Wall Street Journal article, Delayed Development:20-Somethings Blame the Brain, the author pretty much suggests that parents “chill out” when worrying about their 20-something child. The author concludes that scientists suggest, “recent research into how the brain develops suggests that people are better equipped to make major life decisions in their late 20s than earlier in the decade. The brain, once thought to be fully grown after puberty, is still evolving into its adult shape well into a person’s third decade, pruning away unused connections and strengthening those that remain.”

One piece of information I found quite intriguing was that between the ages of 12-25, the brain changes its structure in a couple prevalent ways. LET’S TALK SCIENCEneurons in the early adolescent brain become bushier- like a quickly growing jungle planets in the movie Jumanji that overtake the house- growing fast and overlapping branches whose twigs reach toward each other. They are almost touching, but as we all learned in biology class they need to leave a tiny space known as synapses for electrical pulses to transmit chemical messages. As time passes, depending on how teens keep their mind busy, the less used synapses wilt and wither away, while twigs gaining the most chemical action grow strong like a redwood. It’s important to understand that this is new in terms of what we thought of human brain development. We are still growing and changing past our pubescent years!

Overall, this concept about the 20-somethings of this generation is kind of a big deal. We are experiencing new situations with society, culture, and the economy unlike previous generations. Our parents can’t simply compare theirs lives growing up to ours any longer. Times are a changing people… the mold has been broken and the 20-somethings are on the loose to conquer the world!

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10 Comments

  1. Please take no offence from this, because I can assure you absolutely none is meant. I am 57 years old and tagged onto the last few straggling years of hippiedom. I can remember our generation spouting almost the exact same words as you wrote in your last paragraph.

    Each new generation believes they are going to change the world…and each one does…only not usually in the way they believed when they were younger.

    I wish you all the very best. There are days when I wish I was one of you, but then again, I have fought the fight. I have railed against the machine. Now my fights are quieter and maybe a little smarter…at least I hope.

    Come and let’s talk in another thirty years…we will have great stories to swap.

    Be encouraged!

    1. No offense taken! My ears are open and listening. Well I have hope that when my generation is running the world- we will do things differently with a more open mind. I’d love to chat with you again in 30 years- I know my hopes and dreams are just that- hopes and dreams- but I have confidence that I and will do my best to make the world a better place for future generations. Thanks for stopping by and sharing!

      1. I have great hope that your generation will indeed make the world a better place…but be forewarned the powers that be are very strong and have a strong distaste for any type of change that does not enhance their already powerful position…gee I sound like on of those conspiracy theorists now.

        I have a very interesting proposition for you…what if instead of waiting for 30 years to elapse, what if we agreed to meet again next year on Aug 31…nothing formal…just a few words tapped out to each other’s blogs to sort of check in and see how our domination of the world is progressing.

        If you are in…I’m in…I think my wife and family would find this a great adventure.

        If you decline I will certainly understand…I will confess it is a rather off the wall idea…but hen again it could be kind of cool as the years roll by.

        Be encouraged!

  2. Move back home with your parents isn’t fun at all. I moved back right after I finish school because I couldn’t find work. Now after 4 years am still here and still looking for work.

    Also, just wanted to comment on your last paragraph about Our parents can’t simply compare theirs lives growing up to ours any longer. I think that applies to every generation. When you have kids, you won’t be able to compare your life growing up, to theirs. I sure you will be blogging about that when your kids are teenagers and driving you crazy:)

    1. Oh I have no doubts that when/if I have kids that their lives are very different than when I’ve grown up. I just am speaking from my experiences with talking to my elder family members as well as hearing things from my friends and their conversations with their family. Things have changed so much, but it’s hard for some people to understand that without living in a 20-something’s shoes. And it’s even harder to try and explain it to them. That’s all I’m trying to say.

  3. Nice share Chanel. I think that young adults shouldn’t be shy about going back to their parents when need be…. just as long as they try to move and find something.
    Philippines is this way, and I don’t think it will ever change. One reason is that we have more familial atmosphere attitude. Second, it’s practical. The one thing I hate though are people who do stay with their parents but doesn’t do any effort to change it.

  4. Does it not seem true that each generation is more and more selfish than the generation before them ? The “millennials” seem just awful. Mostly with useless college degrees that they changed 4 times in the 6 or 7 years of college that were completely financed by their parents. Then have a selfish me me me attitude when they have to move back home with Mom and Dad. This generation of millennials with rare exception has nearly zero care of nature or anything else that doesn’t directly affect them…
    I’m thankful for people like you.

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