Sunday 26 February 2017

Still clinging to your 'yoof'? Don't worry, it's not your fault

A new term has been invented for those of us who are getting on, but not getting on with life, writes Julia Molony

There is comfort at hand for a generation of twenty-something's who have just moved back home with their mothers, are yet to launch their career, and are wondering exactly where it all went wrong. It's not a personal crisis, it's a social phenomenon.

Psychologists in America have claimed to identify a new life stage. Just as teenagers didn't exist until the Fifties, now 'emerging adulthood' has been invented to describe the extended adolescence that has now become a feature of most young people's lives, often well into their third decade. All those twenty-somethings out of jobs and worried about how their life is going are off the hook. Social and lifestyle changes over the past 50 years mean that it's now a state of normality to put off marriage, having a family or settling on a stable career path until one is approaching 30.

Thank God for that. As we discovered with the advent of the mid-life crisis, there's nothing like a soothing pseudo-scientific label to give purpose and legitimacy to a personal state that otherwise feels like desperate floundering.

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