Thursday, August 19, 2010

'Cuz I am Five and Twenty

I spent some considerable time reading (and rolling my eyes at) THIS New York Times article about people in their 20's.

What a long article! As a member of this cohort and someone who is supposedly an academian, I thought I had to comment on it. Mainly, I wanted to point out that although many of its points are true, not much is put behind the reasoning of some of these things.

For instance, most pointedly, they brought up how people my age tend to move back home, bounce around jobs, and put off their adult lives. While this may be occurring, some of us don't WANT this to be happening. Case in point:

1) Moving back home - A dumb thing that I did when I got a job very close to home after college. I had considered commuting, but at the time, I had no car. Plus, even with one, it would have been 1 hr (at least) each way.

Plus, I wanted to start graduate school once my finances were stable. Graduate school was also close to home. Living at home also meant faster financial stability, though looking back, it wouldn't have made that big of a difference.

2) Bouncing around jobs - I could go on and on about this. I am of the old guard who wants to commit to a company who will commit to her. I know this commitment is not typical of those in my generation -- we were raised to explore, find something of the best fit, and put a "coolness factor" on our occupations.

But I bounce around in these internships to find a company who will give me a full-time job. That's all I want! Why is it so hard to find?

Granted, the article did address that the downed economy has created a market in which even those 20-somethings who want to work wouldn't be able to.

3) Putting off adult life - It has been a long desire of mine to be able to seize my independence. Unfortunately, bullet-point #1 (living at home) does not make this easy. While I lived away, I learned how to do some basic cooking and launder my clothing, but once I come home, this is all done for me. And not necessarily because I want it done for me, but because this is the pace that is set at my house. There, I am on someone else's schedule, under someone else's scrutiny, and really really cannot be myself. Don't get me wrong -- I am grateful, but at the same time, I am point out this inevitable trade-off of living under the roof of a somewhat old-fashioned Asian-American family.

Barring my parents kicking me out of the house (not likely but not unwelcome), I gather I will stay until I finish graduate school -- at this point, as quickly as possible. Realistically, I have about another 1.5 years, at which point I hope to scratch bullet #2 and find a permanent job. Staying in school has really put the damper on my impression as an adult -- in my parents' eyes, if you're in school, you're still a kid. That makes graduate school rather regretful, doesn't it?

And no, unlike what the article says, I am not putting off marriage and family for selfish reasons. I am a believer in (relatively) early marriage and child-bearing. Even at 25, I barely have energy at times, so I can't imagine being able to take care of a kid down the line. I figure I only have a few good years of youthful energy left, and I'm truly being serious with this statement.

Obviously, I am not in full control of when marriage will occur, but if I were to do it today, there would unfortunately be a ton of judgment coming from people who perhaps don't matter in this decision. Nobody used to care if a 25-year-old got married, but I know deeply that people would judge me and say stuff like, "Oh, you have the rest of your life to blah blah blah." Or maybe this is just in California?

I'm not so caught up in becoming super-successful before marriage. I just want a job, some stable ground to ensure that I am solid before sharing my life with another. And as for another claim that the article makes about 20-somethings lacking relationship commitment, I say, bah! Fortunately, I was raised to be highly commital and determined to make things work. Much like companies, I don't have desires to hop around potential mates, either.


So there. Just wanted to comment on this article, because overall, it makes us sound like sheltered, soul-searching, and fickle. There is more to it than that.


  1. Gary "sexy" PorterAugust 26, 2010 at 2:19 AM

    Gary says hi. he also says:
    That article seems really popular. I've seen it linked from maybe three different sources. I started reading it and couldn't put myself past the first page. It has a lot of observations but offended me more than anything. There's very little attempt to understand or describe what was going on. Just observe and mock. That hardly sounds like something I'd expect from a news source. This trend has been going on for more than just these past few years, too. The attitute of the author disrespects seemingly everyone in their twenties and refuses to understand that standards have been changing and priorities in life go beyond "have a kid right away." There's so much more growth for people to have despite being twenty. There's a lot for us to learn with regards to what we want in life and to demand that we give up on them because we're behind on the previous generation's timetable is absurd.

  2. Gary, I could not have said it better (hence, I did not)! I particularly agree about that last part about the expectation of being on another generation's timeline. Soon enough, this generation will be ruling the world, anyway, and setting the new "standard." Thanks for showing me that I'm not the only one who thinks this article is a blow to our generation.