It’s no secret that we’re all living longer. That our collective expectations, of when one should be considered “fully” an adult, have adjusted drastically.
20 years ago, 11 year olds were babysitting and walking to the store for mom, 18 year olds were starting careers, and men and women were starting families at the ripe old age of 24 or 25.
Now, 13 year olds have babysitters, 21 year olds are moving back home, and if you’re 35 and not married, your friends will say “Well, not to worry, families start at 40 these days…”
At what age does adulthood fully set in these days? Hard to say, but I’m at a loss for words every time I see the trailer for the lastest Meryl Streep flick – Hope Springs. Starring Streep and Tommy Lee Jones as a couple trying to rekindle their marriage and their love, the tagline runs something along the lines of:
Hope Springs, finally – a love story for adults…
Finally. A love story for adults. Because those other love stories featuring “kids” playing at love (even though they’re 30) don’t really count. Because now we expect you to be a solid 60 before we’ll consider you worthy of mature decision making? Have we reached the point of 40 being the new 18, where 50 is the new 20?
Wandering through my days (I really don’t wander as much as I intimate in my blog, but it sounds more youthful doesn’t it), anyway as I run through life I am struck by the fact that young adults, in their 20s and 30s are encouraged to be more youthful, put off “growing up” for a longer period of time and Enjoy Life.
As if there is zero enjoyment in putting down roots, establishing one’s self, and embracing a family life.
As if there exists no reason to get a job at 30 and work at said employer until one retires. (Of course, this is no longer a reasonable expectation, or option, in a world where employers will slice out a large chunk of their staff without hesitation, forethought or remorse. A world where employers are no more loyal to their employers then a major sports team looking to make salary cap room for the latest celeb free agent.)
But is 60 really the new age at which one can be called an adult?
Have we gone that far?
No wonder my 9 year old doesn’t feel the need to make up his bed or take on the responsibility of cleaning his room (not that I let him get away with that, but all I hear is “Mom… none of my friends have to do this!” Is this true? Is he right?)
And if so, what am I doing here? I should be out skateboarding, or hanging at the Apple store, picking out the next gadget to beg my mom to buy for me (she being only a decade into adulthood should be happy to comply right?).
I know it is just a movie, and sappy taglines are par for the course.
There’s a long stretch of life post college and pre-pre-retirement age.
I’d love to see us stop writing off mid-life as insignificant and embrace it for it’s worth. Mid-life is that wonderful time where you’re old enough to know better and young enough to Just Do It! Mid-life is that time where you’re still learning from an older and wiser generation, but you’re also coaching a youthful set toward the goal of Life in Full Living Color.
Mid-life is the time where you can consider a new career, a new hobby, a new way of doing things and you’ll still have half your life to enjoy that new venture.
Mid-life is wonderful!
Baby Boomers have been usurping our vision of life since, well, since they appeared on the scene 40 or 50 years ago. Angry, mad as heck, and shouting “Dont Trust Anyone Over 30/Authority/the Man/Your Mama…” Then they swapped out Hippie for Yuppie and activism for MBAs and began to Seize the Day (read: they made a lot of money, bought a lot of real estate, and they’re fairly well set). Never mind the dust left behind for the rest of us.
Baby Boomers have been trampling on Gen X’ers day in the sun for, well, for all of my life.
And now they’ve crowned themselves the official Adults in the room.
Meanwhile, please excuse me, I’m headed to the mall and then off to see NKOTB (that’s New Kids on The Block to you adults)…