Adolescence Just Keeps Getting Longer

Two posts getting some attention today.  First, this from Derek Thompson at the Atlantic:

And then this, from Taylor Cotter over at the Huffington Post:

I suppose that I’m grateful that I can make all my car payments and start saving for retirement while most of my friends are living at home and working part-time jobs — but I often find myself lamenting the fact that I’m not living at home and not working a part-time job. From my perspective, these are just some of the life-changing, character-building experiences that I may never have.

Now, it’s easy to laugh at Taylor, and Lord knows, I have.  Oh, the struggles of not starving, not having to live at home.  The horrors of being able to go out for drinks and read a book from time to time.  The sheer insipidness of knowing that your rent is paid and there’s food on the table.  Really, who wants to live like that?

But at a more serious level, the fact that she seriously thinks that she’s missing out on something by not spending mandatory time in her parents’ basement or her old room, shows that that may slowly be turning into the norm.  It slows down adulthood, accumulation of both social and financial capital, and becomes harder and harder to reverse.  Subsidizing the trend by putting 25-year-olds with masters degrees on their parents’ health insurance only aggravates the problem.

As young Taylor shows, it can become a desirable thing to start off your life that way.  And when you think about it, why stop at 26?  Or 30?  Why not keep going all the way to early retirement.  (Retirement from what? If you have to ask, man, you just don’t get it.)  Well, the Greeks and the Spaniards show why.

Michael Barone likes to say that American has the worst 18-year-olds and the best 30-year-olds.  That’s because the time immediately after college toughens kids up, and teaches them what the real world is like.

God help us when 40 becomes the new 30.

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