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Thursday, August 19, 2010

It's My Birthday!

Today marks my 26th birthday.
I feel the past couple of years have seen me grow a lot.
Getting married and having a child has made me really think about the kind of man I am and the kind I want to be. It's amazing how these kinds of life events change your perspective.
3 years ago I would have thought the idea of committing to a 4 year (at 3-quarter pace) degree was horrible, but now I've committed myself to a lifetime with Tab and Addie (and more soon) so 4 years to be able to better provide for us all doesn't seem too big a deal.
Previously, I had struggled to make a 5-year plan. Now 5-years seems rather short-term.

Today I read this article from NYTimes about "emerging adulthood". Seems rather appropriate.
Here's a quote:

During the period he calls emerging adulthood [roughly 18-30 years old -A. S], Arnett says that young men and women are more self-focused than at any other time of life, less certain about the future and yet also more optimistic, no matter what their economic background. (p4.)
Apparently this is revolutionary stuff for the field- to establish a new 'age group', just as it was when we first started talking about adolescence as a separate time of life to childhood and adulthood.

I found some of the quotes from young people echoed what I felt/thought just a few years ago:

 “It’s somewhat terrifying,” writes a 25-year-old named Jennifer, “to think about all the things I’m supposed to be doing in order to ‘get somewhere’ successful: ‘Follow your passions, live your dreams, take risks, network with the right people, find mentors, be financially responsible, volunteer, work, think about or go to grad school, fall in love and maintain personal well-being, mental health and nutrition.’ When is there time to just be and enjoy?” Adds a 24-year-old from Virginia: “There is pressure to make decisions that will form the foundation for the rest of your life in your 20s. It’s almost as if having a range of limited options would be easier.” (p.6)
Julie, a 23-year-old New Yorker and contributor to “20 Something Manifesto,” is apparently aware of this. She was coddled her whole life, treated to French horn lessons and summer camp, told she could do anything. “It is a double-edged sword,” she writes, “because on the one hand I am so blessed with my experiences and endless options, but on the other hand, I still feel like a child. (p. 7)
Today, on my 26th birthday, I really feel like I have grown out of this stage and further toward a man than an "emerging adult".

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