As today’s young adults wrestle with economic uncertainty, inflation, low wages, and few labor protections, many delay major milestones or put them off entirely.
One early 30s adult came to Reddit wondering if the 30s are the new 20s.
How Older Adults Managed Their 20s
In past decades, the 20s marked an ascent into adulthood. Teenagers enter the decade practically children, but after years of broken hearts and job hopping, they exit to 30 as fully functional adults.
They got married, bought a house, had a kid or two, and were well on their way to career stability.
Current Late 20s/Early 30s
How things have changed.
The Original Poster (OP) shared today’s reality for the same age group.
“I have observed most of us Millenials would rather wait for marriage than marry out of pressure,” they said, adding that they only have one married friend and the rest would rather pursue their career goals.
OP also said that today’s cohort of late 20s and early 30s adults would rather enjoy their childhood toys and movies instead of having kids of their own.
Are the 30s the New 20s?
OP is just entering their 30s and wonders if things will change as they journey through the decade. Perhaps millennials prefer to extend their childhood and adolescence well into their 20s and will settle down later than previous generations.
They came to Reddit wondering how others feel about the situation.
The Great Financial Crisis
One user pointed out that the great financial crisis of 2008 set millennials back nearly a decade. The crash happened just as many were entering adulthood. They couldn’t get jobs, and they couldn’t afford to invest.
The lack of entry-level career jobs forced millennials into low-paid retail and service work. They couldn’t save money, buy homes, or pay for any of the typical “adult” milestones.
Continual Financial Barriers
Though the economy saw substantial growth between the financial crisis and COVID-19, financial barriers are worsening. The rampant inflation of the past few years made it impossible for the youngest millennials and oldest Gen Z’s to find affordable housing. Many need to live with their parents to make ends meet.
It’s difficult, if not impossible, to achieve adult milestones when you can’t afford to live independently.
Ending the Life Script
Others pointed out a very different reason for the disconnect.
Culture changes far more slowly than law. The 1970s saw drastic policy changes that allowed equal opportunity for women and gave people far more control over their futures than any previous generation ever had.
People had control over when, if, and how to become parents for the first time in history. Women could own property, bank accounts, and work outside the home for the first time in history.
Millennial’s parents were teenagers when these changes took place. Some broke barriers, but others clung to the old way.
Millennials, however, say they were the first generation in history with options and embraced it. Women put off parenthood to pursue their dreams. Couples decided they’d prefer a life of child-free bliss.
The generation collectively realized they didn’t have to follow any set life script and decided they’d rather spend their lives in full pursuit of happiness.
The Kids Are Alright
Every generation finds its own way. Who cares if people choose to delay marriage or remain single forever? Instead of wondering if there’s a generational problem, we should celebrate that people have the freedom to make their own choices.
Millennials and their younger siblings have a tough road ahead, but they’ll be alright.