Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Introducing a new label

merging adult. That's my new title.

I'm not a full adult (except in the eyes of the Church, government, and Hogwarts, of course) because I am an in-between-er.

Clark University psychology professor Dr. Jeffrey Jensen Arnett calls phenomenons like me (those in their 20s) members of the category "emerging adulthood."

Arnett identifies five qualities of people like me:
  1. They are searching for their identity and exploring different options
  2. Their lives are unstable
  3. They are self-focused, meaning they are not yet beholden to anyone
  4. They feel "in-between" adolescence and adulthood
  5. It's a time of remarkable optimism.
Here is my response, AKA, "nuh-uh":

1) I know my identity (daughter of God, one in His Church), but I'm still learning about myself.
2) My life isn't unstable, but I don't own my own house.
3) I feel pretty beholden to my family, if do say so, but I don't have my own kids.
4) I don't feel "in-between," but do live in my parents' house and I am unmarried.
5) Bingo, I feel pretty optimistic.

1 out of 5.

Maybe the 6th quality is "They have a picky nature and choose to debate key points until they like what they hear." I could accept that; I have a "pet peeve" tag on my blog, for crying out loud.

What are your thunks?


Jessica said...

I read the article, and I understand it a bit differently. It sounds like there are a group of people who meet all five of these criteria, whom the researchers have labeled "emerging adults." These people are usually 18 to 30, but it doesn't mean all people 18 to 30 are emerging adults. If you don't fit the criteria (and it sounds like you don't), you wouldn't fit the label of "emerging adult." I could be wrong, but that's how I understand it.

Elizabeth said...

Hi Jessica!! I think you're right, and I started realizing that as I was completing this post. I do fit into it in a lot of ways.

I think most people who graduated from college between 2008 and now fit into this criteria, especially if they live with their parents (like me). On the mental side of things, I don't fit the bill.

Anthony S. Layne said...

I've seen the "emerging adult" tag too; after thirty, the term is "slacker". :^)=) Seriously, I think Jessica is right, too. Once upon a time, after you left high school (whether you graduated or not), you got a job, you got married, started having kids and took on adult responsibilities right away. Nowadays, young adults have more options, which actually makes choosing more difficult unless you come out of your teens knowing pretty much what you want. These young people are "emerging adults" because they haven't fully embraced adult responsibilities yet. I don't see how you fit in that category.

Allie said...

I agree with Jessica. As I recall from reading that a while ago, one of the problems with calling it a "stage of life" like adolescence is that not everyone goes through with it. Thanks for reminding me of this article though; it actually reminds me a bit of an article about this trend in Mormonism that came out more recently:

Also, I like the "e" you chose for "emerging". ^_^

Chloe said...

Woo! Arnett! We studied this in my Human Growth and Development class last semester.

Apparently it is mostly seeking to point out the shifting social clocks and kind of boring... not really worth defining oneself by, for reasons similar to yours.

Then again, it was near the end of the semester and our prof was starting not to care, so... :)

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