“You need not be sorry for her. She was one of the kind that likes to grow up. In the end she grew up of her own free will a day quicker than the other girls.” – J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan
I must be the millionth person to bring up the 20-somethings debate that everyone is raving about recently (no seriously… Google it and take a look at how many hits you get. It’s insane). At the heart of this debate is Robin Marantz Henig’s article, “What Is It About 20-Somethings?” from the New York Times Magazine. For those of you who haven’t read it, the article basically questions why it seems to be taking our generation so long to grow up. As Henig so boldly put it, “The traditional cycle seems to have gone off course, as young people remain untethered to romantic partners, or to permanent homes, going back to school for lack of better options, traveling, avoiding commitments, competing ferociously for unpaid internships, forestalling the beginning of adult life.”
With four months ‘til graduation I can’t help but feel—as I’m sure many other have felt—like Henig is talking to me. I am the walking stereotype of Henig’s concerns. What seems to be the plan for me now is that, after graduation, I’ll most probably be back home working at a temporary shortstop that may or may not kick off my so-called career and living with my parents in my childhood bedroom—we’re talking still sleeping in bunk beds next to my pink Barbie dollhouse. If there is any indication of stalling adulthood…this is it.
But in the midst of reading article after article on this ongoing debate, I came across a great blog called 20-Nothings, which also tackled this issue and asked us forestallers of the future to chime in with our thoughts—At twenty-[blank], I feel [blank]. So here goes…
At 22, I feel like, for the first time, I don’t have control over every aspect of my life as I’m staring a new beginning right in the eyes…and you know what? It’s liberating.
I’ve always been very passionate and very determined. I knew exactly what I wanted to do and when I wanted to do it and have done a pretty good job up until now. So where’s the hold back? Henig says that “The 20s are a black box, and there is a lot churning in there.” She says we stall falling into a stable lifestyle because we want to explore our options; see what else life has to offer other than a paycheck and the responsibilities that shadow over it. But I don’t think that it’s all about exploring options so much as it is about running after our dreams. Is that so wrong? To want to feed off a passion and pursue it to the fullest without becoming a mindless drone to the corporate world?
Maybe I just sound like another disillusioned 20-something trying to hold on to a childhood desire. But if that’s the case, so be it. Since I was 8, I knew I wanted to be a full time writer. Whether it would be writing a book, covering news stories, indulging in features or even keeping up this very blog, that deep-set ambition hasn’t changed no matter where my interests led me. After much thought about what I should do after graduation, I have finally decided to do just that. Write. In any possible way; write. With any opportunity that allows me to express myself and my passions; write. And if it takes living in my childhood bedroom with the old swimming trophies and stuffed animals to do it, so be it.
Through college and boarding school for high school, I’ve lived alone since I was 15. If anything, I’m not stalling growing up at all. In fact, I think I grew up too fast. After intense studying, part time jobs and chasing opportunities that would advance my career as society so bluntly expects of us, can you blame me for wanting to slow down a little?
If there’s anything I’ve learned from this whole growing up process and trying to fall into the expectations of family and life itself, it’s that I finally have my own set of expectations. And being 20-something is the perfect time to act on that. After all, isn’t that what growing up is all about? Being able to make decisions you feel are best for yourself?
Now in Henig’s defense, her article was extremely well-crafted and very thorough. If anything, it hit the nail right on the head. We really do need to figure out a way to take on responsibilities and some of us really are too lazy to do anything about it. But I guess I just don’t want to do it at the expense of my dreams, where I think the real debate lies.
Do I want to get married? Of course! I love the idea of sharing this new beginning with someone who can support my crazy ambitions. Do I want to fall into a job that pays well and can support me financially? Who doesn’t? But to me adulthood isn’t about making sacrifices just so we can fall into the mundane pace of society’s norms and responsibilities. It’s about finally having the experience, the state-of-mind and the ability to fit your passions into that mix. And that’s exactly what I plan to do.
: : : It’s only half past the point of no return. The tip of the iceberg; the sun before the burn; the thunder before the lightning; the breath before the phrase. Have you ever felt this way? : : :
— Glitter in the Air, Pink —