8.25.2010

20 Something...

 Photo via delightfully tacky

Have you guys read this NY Times article "What is it about 20-Somethings?" that has been circulating?

I have tried multiple times to adequately formulate and articulate my thoughts pertaining to this article and the claims it makes, the eyebrows it has raised, and the pros and cons and implications of it but I have not yet been successful. I still find that for me, sometimes it's so much easier to converse than to write. But I do have a lot to say, I think it's interesting. I encourage you to read the entire article, during which time I'll go ahead and start brewing the coffee, and then lets chat. TBC...

6 comments:

BriannEm said...

I have read that article. So many of the symptoms that they discuss, I've seen happening around me. It makes me appreciate the milestones that I've passed in my own life.

Emily said...

I feel as though it validates certain aspects of my life thus far, and also unabashedly "calls me out" in others...

Thanks for stopping by! I see you've got a new blog going, I'm curious to see your occasionally grand adventures unfold!

Rachel Swan said...

Em! I'm still reading the article, and I definitely want to discuss! Today during nap time, promise!

Samuel said...

After reading the article, I find it a little too paternalistic to get on board with. As mentioned, Arnett admits "emerging adolescence" is neither universal nor mandatory, and thus cannot properly be called developmental. Despite trying to fill his study with diversity, it's clear to me that the angst that comes from meandering is largely a middle-to-upper class problem (read: mostly white).

In addition, I think the author makes some terrific suggestions: encouraging more intentional cognitive development from 16 to 25, and creating more infrastructure for programs that make service to a needy community (foreign to the servicer) financially feasible. But these are in no way germane to "emerging adulthood." They are simply independently good ideas.

What the article dances around is what is the least damaging way to move from entitled adolescent to entitled young person to entitled adult? The transitions will only be harmless if the subject's sense of entitlement keeps pace with the subject's resources. Which is to say, when a young adult moves out of their parents house festooned with all the trendy conveniences of modern living, the young adult will cushion the inevitable blow if he or she expects a much more austere life.

Emily said...

I'm not entirely on board myself and I also certainly agree with what you have pointed out to be "independently good ideas"

I found it interesting that the article skirts around the issue of a plausible cause. 10 pages of explicating a viral social phenomenon and it only briefly hints at blaming the parents, it's hardly acknowledged. Although I have not yet read these books, I think Jean Twenge's Generation Me which examines the differences between generations born in the 70s 80s and 90s, and The Narcissim Epidemic would be good places to explore for more sources and citation into the initial cause of this viral social phenomenon which is afflicting a very specific demographic (if you or I were interested in further investigation). She explores the self-esteem movement in the 1980s and 1990s, the Internet allowing people to create fabricated images of themselves, the inflation of grades and other feedback in schools that has let kids believe they are better students than they really are (this year Tennessee increased the minimum end of year test score by nearly 75%. Tyler will know, but I think in the past, in order to pass with proficiency you had to score only 17% or so...) and so on. Like I said, I'm not well versed/read in the material, so I can't make any firm stances, but conceptually I think it's a persuasive argument potentially tying itself into what IS the deal with 20 somethings.

Thank god I don't actually have a "say" in this discussion. I can't honestly say I don't think self-esteem encouragement is crucial for childhood development. I wonder then, where a balance lies. How do you encourage children, adolescents, young adults within a realistic scale? I've read plenty of other NYT articles of people my age passing up 40K/yr positions while living at thier parent's house because they think they can hold out for something better. Its the entitlement that really bothers me. Even in my own life, in which I feel upset that it's not realistic for me to go into a PHD in the Humanities even though it's something I would love to do. Follow your passions, you can be anything... right? that's what I've been spoonfed up until the point of graduation 2008 and no one was responsible for feeding my ego anymore. Obviously the entitlement others feel, and that my age group/demographic feel on a larger scale can really get under my skin...

Emily said...

omg. I just wrote all of that and when I hit "publish" I got an error message that the comment was too large but it gave me no back button to retrieve my thoughts.. *sigh*