Last year I had what my circle of friends refers to as a “Quarter-Life Crisis.” I realized I didn’t have the career, baby, husband or house with a white picket fence that I imagined for myself before blowing out those 25 candles. Granted, this vision of myself also involved a white lab coat and a Harvard degree, and was concocted long before I owned a hair straightener.
Panic ensued. Actually, a lot of celebrating ensued — it was my birthday, after all. And then reality set in. After looking around, I soon realized I was far from being alone in this whole delaying adulthood thing — this isn’t my mother’s generation of 20-somethings. At 26, my circle of friends is starting to enter into the phase of marriage and baby making (all at once, it seems, which makes for a very booked weekend schedule of events to celebrate said milestones).
This is a whole five years after my parents took the plunge and said their vows. By my age, they had a dog, a house and a well-manicured lawn.
I, on the other hand, killed a beta fish after less than a week and have moved apartments at least once a year since graduating college. I traded any chance I had at home ownership and a picket fence before the age of 35 — or possibly ever, as the combined college debt load between my boyfriend and I reaches well into triple digits, gulp — when I started my master’s degree two years ago. And more than four years after graduating from Penn State, I am finally at a job that pays more than the summer internship I had after my sophomore year (that white lab coat might not have been such a bad idea after all).
As a whole, it seems, my generation is fine taking its time growing up. We’re moving back home with mom and dad after being thrown into a less-than-ideal job market or racking up credit card debt to furnish our apartments with build-it-yourself Ikea pieces or buy rounds at happy hour. We’re trying on jobs for size (according to this New York Times piece, at an average of seven career moves before hitting 30) and test driving cohabitation while trying to decide if we really want to say “I do” to dirty socks and snoring.
Now, I’m aware that this doesn’t apply to the entire population of 20-somethings. Or maybe not even half, who knows, I was never good at math. But it’s a phenomenon that’s out there. So we’ve created a place for us to share stories on growing up in Generation Y in York County and beyond.
We’ll blog about all the changes that come along in your 20s: Adjusting to the real world after graduating from college, living on your own (or with someone, yikes) for the first time, keeping a budget on a first-job salary, what the appropriate amount is to give for the 10 weddings you have to go to this month, and, essentially, how to survive until you’re 30.
Feel free to laugh with us, cry with us and share your stories and comments.
— April Trotter
Features copy editor
York Daily Record/Sunday News