The traditional markers of adulthood usually include employment, financial independence, marriage, a home and children. And many of our millennials are taking their time achieving them, especially compared to their boomer parents.
Two writers — one an academic and the other a 20-something — question the accuracy of those touchstones. In his book, The Prime of Life, history professor Steven Mintz points out that Americans started marrying in their early 20s only after World War II. Apparently emerging adults have been around for generations, just without all the media hype. “Despite the sense that the transition to adulthood has grown longer and riskier, coming of age has never been easy,” writes Mintz. “The decade stretching from the late teens to the late 20s has long been a period of uncertainty, hesitation and indecision.”