Are you a GROAN UP? Someone in that awkward limbo between growing and grown? If so, you’re not alone.
I recently unwrapped the theory of Emerging Adulthood, which suggests that there is a new developmental stage between the transition from adolescence to adult called “emerging adulthood”.
However, I’ve also been conducting my own less-than-academic research around emerging adulthood and my theory of being a GROAN UP. And after months of collecting answers from twentysomethings/thirtysomethings from around the World of Web-ernet (and sprinkling in my own), I present to you what it REALLY means to be ALL GROAN UP – someone in between growing and grown.
1. When you buy loads of cute accessories for your teenage sister, because obviously you are too GROAN up to wear them! - Kay
2. The thought of becoming an adult makes you toss up a few Fruity Pebbles.
3. You see nothing wrong with still eating Fruity Pebbles.
4. You take your nieces to see cartoon movies just so you don’t look like a weirdo watching a kids movie – Linzy
5. TGIF still means something more to you (aka you might own the entire DVD set of Boy Meets World).
6. You de-stress by coloring with crayola crayons. - Cara
7. At the first sight of snow you hope work is cancelled tomorrow.
8. You stop laughing at Friends and start thinking that Joey’s comments about sex are inappropriate. – Josh
9. You’ve had a new job (or no job) nearly every year for a decade.
10. You still eat mac n cheese for dinner (but now add peas) – Robin
11. When Father’s Day is for YOU
12. When you realize YOU have to DEAL with the car mechanics instead of your dad doing it for you! – Linzy
13. You can’t believe you’re married
14. You can’t believe you’re NOT married
15. You still don’t really know how taxes work but you pretend like you do. ~ Katie
17. You ironed your dress shirts for the first month of your new job, and then decided a much easier strategy was just to stop believing that wrinkles exists.
18. You say things like, “That Fred Savage was dreamy” ~ Blunt Delivery
19. You bring empty Tupperware to work to take home leftover office food
20. When you make comments like “I was NEVER allowed to wear something like that when I was her age…I wore stretch pants and an over-sized t-shirt!” ~ Alyssa
21. When the last of the ketchup bottle makes a fart noise and you don’t laugh. ~ Julian
22. You realize on the morning of that Mother’s Day is not just for your mom, but also for your wife, who is now a mom. So you run out and buy a glass swan (I might be speaking from experience here)
23. You love listening to NPR now. I mean, it’s talk radio! ~ David
24. You still giggle when someone says balls (maybe just a groan up guy thing)
25. You go back to your home town and talk about all the “developments” that have happened since you’ve been gone ~ Lindsay
26. You thought Mary-Kate and Ashley were adorable. And now they kinda scare you. ~ Katie
27. When you never run out of underwear because you actually stay on top of laundry ~ Ashley
28. When you’re losing hair and gaining babies.
29. Every evening at 7:30pm you scurry to turn on Jeopardy ~ Rachael
30. You grieve all the day when you spill coffee on something that is “dry clean only.”
31. When your first reaction to finding out a friend is pregnant is “congratulations!!” instead of “holy &^%$, what happened!!” ~ Kate
32. You start taking over the counter pain relievers after a really active day of play/moving/living because you actually need them. ~ Lindsay
31. You feel like a kid most of the time, until you see a real kid and think, “good Lord, kids are really young these days.” ~ Mike
32. You chug two-day old coffee because you’re running late and you know if coffee doesn’t enter, you’re not leaving. (Note to Kid-Self for when time machines become available at Best Buy: Never fight the nap).
33. You realize that the cliques in high school are alive & well in the real world too … ~ Jocelyn
34. You need a vacation to recover from your vacation.
35. You have a 12 year old say to you, “My youth pastor was talking about Vanilla Ice and my friends and I thought he was talking about an ice cream flavor,” and you aren’t sure whether to laugh or cry because she was completely serious. ~ Lindsay
36. You get zits on your jawline and think, “Really? Still?” ~ Katie
37. You think girls today are a bit hoochy but then you see pictures of you with shirts that exposed your belly button ~ Katie
38. You know that Jerry Maguire was not Lizzy Mcguire’s dad. ~ Katie
39. You’ve made a prank call on a pay phone. ~ Katie
40. You’ve used a pay phone period. And you’ve said your name is, “Mom, come get me.” ~ Katie
41. You stop feeling entitled to winter breaks, spring breaks, and summers off. ~ Lindsay
42. The only reason you maintain your weight is so you never have to buy new dress pants
43. When the manager at Chipotle comes outside to the patio, tells the high school kids to stop throwing forks at cars and lighting things on fire, and then turns and apologizes to YOU. ~ Mike
44. You start saying, “this generation’s music really sucks” ~ Will
45. You think you’re not that old and then you realize that the kids who just graduated high school this year were born in 1993. ~ Lindsay
46. You still can’t believe your parents turned your old bedroom into an office. Did your time with them mean nothing? Shouldn’t your bedroom remain a permanent shrine?
47. When going to bed early on Sunday night to prepare for the week becomes a priority. ~ Ryan
48. You begin repeating phrases your parent’s always used to say, that you swore you never would. And then deny it.
49. You utilize your Flex Spending Account, because you know what that is now. ~ Kendra
50. When your wife complains that you drive like her grandfather just to get better gas mileage. ~ Brandon
51. When you complain in agony, “when I got my license, it only costs $20 to fill up my car!” ~ Stephanie
52. Having lower lumbar support has become a major concern.
53. “Do you have any kids” has somehow become a normal question people ask you. ~ Mike
54. You now understand what your parents meant when they said, ‘You’ll understand when you get older.’
55. When you wrinkle your brow and make comments about “kids these days” ~ Kendra
56. You rake piles of leaves and are about to jump in, but stop because ‘what would the neighbors think’
57. When you overhear 16 year olds talking about “that lady” and realize it’s you ~ Sarah
58. Your birthday slowly transitions from best day of the year to worst.
59. You really want to go sledding again. Until you actually go sledding again. Then you don’t ever want to go sledding again.
60. You still debate, “Who was hotter – Kelly Kapowski or Topanga Lawrence?”
61. When you would rather listen to the classical radio station because the alternative radio station “feels” to loud ~ My Brother Chad
62. You’ve caught yourself saying more than once, “I’m getting too old for this.“
What part of being Groan Up did we leave out? Let us know via comments below.
Today I had the privilege of being interviewed about our generation by the incredible Jennie Allen – creator of the DVD study, Stuck and the book, Anything, releasing Spring 2012.
After reading my responses, Jennie responded with “I am so crazy about your answers I could cry.” I hope you’ll read the interview and if it doesn’t make you want to cry, at least maybe it encourages a quick sniffle and/or a guffaw. I’d take a guffaw.
Jennie’s First Question: What do you believe are the significant obstacles facing our generation?
Expectations and Timelines.
The more and more I wrestle with and deconstruct the main obstacles facing this generation it typically falls back to these two words.
Because that night comes for us all when we fall asleep in our tidy, comfortable little lives only to wake up with our expectations and timelines being stolen from under our pillows and lit on fire right in the middle of our bedroom. You wake up in shock as the life you were so sure about has become smoldering ashes.
Okay, that sounds a little dire. Let me explain…
To read the rest of the interview, go here. I promise you won’t regret the e-journey.
The transition into adulthood is one of the most complex and significant shifts of any generation.
That’s academician speak for: “This adult shoot ain’t easy“. Thus why the theory of Emerging Adulthood is so important and became much of the research behind THE All Groan Up that you are currently eye-frolicking on.
The theory of Emerging Adulthood is like a group of scholars rummaged through you and I’s Millennial, GenY trash one night and then presented back to us our own mail in a way that made more sense then when we read it ourselves.
So what is Emerging Adulthood?
Jeffrey Jensen Arnett, Ph.D is the leading scholar behind Emerging Adulthood, which in a nutshell suggests that the majority of twentysomethings in Westernized cultures go through a specific sort of ambiguous waiting period between the transition from adolescence to adult. The typical “adult” markers of leaving home, getting married, and having children, are no longer the indicators that you have boarded the Adult Train.
Instead, when Arnett surveyed twentysomethings the top three characteristics of becoming an adult as selected by twentysomethings were: accepting personal responsibility, making decisions apart from other influences, and financial independence from parents.
With so many twentysomethings moving back in with their parents, delaying marriage, switching jobs, moving, etc, the transition into adulthood has become delayed and subjective, no longer the black-and-white-leave-home-start-a-family-work-one-career, as it was in the past.
Some Facts of Emerging Adulthood
The questions, confusion, and exploration of career is a huge factor in emerging adulthood and feelings of crisis in your twenties (Arnett, 2000). With this pressure to find the right career and rapid layoffs for emerging adults with little work experience,
American emerging adults find themselves “switching jobs nearly every year for a decade” (Arnett, 2008)
As well, emerging adults find themselves not exactly fitting within today’s working climate. In today’s economic crisis world wide there is little need for emerging adults to enter into the workforce as Baby Boomers hold off from retirement as they watch their 401k’s plummet and they redefine what retirement should look like. Therefore, emerging adult’s bachelor’s degree does not go far and they feel the pressure to return for further schooling and training, thus delaying a sense of stability (Arnett, 2007).
Lost and Found Identity
One of the main struggles of emerging adulthood pinpointed by research is the feeling of lost identity and self-definition amongst emerging adults. Atwood and Scholtz in Contemporary Family Therapy explain that growing up emerging adults received their self-worth through external success and accolades, so when those are removed so is their sense of worth.
Historically identity was defined in adolescence. Today identity is possibly being formed in emerging adulthood (Arnett, 2008). Emerging adults are on an intense search for personal authenticity, awareness, and personal definition. Robbins and Wilner in their book Quarterlife Crisis state that twenties are ripe with self-doubt and intense with introspection in which a college education did not necessary prepare twentysomethings for.
Leave Me Alone
Emerging Adults spend more time alone than any persons except the elderly (Arnett, 2000). In the most technologically connected generation in the history of the world, it intrigues me to no end that we are spending less physical time with real, live, human beings.
To Faith or Not to Faith
A revaluation of faith and beliefs is a central part of emerging adulthood (Shuster and Mongetta, 2009). Yet during this period, emerging adults are less likely to be involved in religious institutions and disengage from the faith of their childhood and family background (Barry and Nelson, 2008; Arnett and Jensen, 2002).
So if becoming a real live adult has not been as straightforward as you thought it would, well you my emerging adult friend, are not alone.
Please share your experience with Emerging Adulthood via the comments below
_______ References (Ain’t I fancy)
Arnett, J.J. (1998). Learning to stand alone: The contemporary American transition to adulthood in cultural and historical context. Human Development, 41, 295–315.
Arnett, J.J. (2000). Emerging adulthood: A theory of development from the late teens through the twenties. American Psychologist, 55, 469–480.
Arnett, J.J. (2002). A Congregation of one: Individualized religious beliefs among emerging adults. Journal of Adolescent Research, 17(5), 451-467
Arnett, J. J. (2006). Emerging adulthood: Understanding the new way of coming of age. In J. J. Arnett & J. L. Tanner (Eds.), Emerging adults in America: Coming of age in the 21st century. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association Press.
Atwood, J.D. and Scholtz, C. The Quarter-life Time Period: An Age of Indulgence, Crisis or Both?. Contemporary Family Therapy: An International Journal, 30(4), 233-250.
Barry, C and Nelson, L (2008). The role of religious beliefs and practices on emerging adults’ perceived competencies, perceived importance ratings, and global self-worth . International Journal of Behavioral Development, 32(6), 509-521.
Robbins and Wilner, (2001). The Quarterlife Crisis. New York: Putnam.
Shuster, M and Mongetta, J (2009). The influence of a small Christian university’s culture on selected characteristics of emerging adulthood. Journal of Research on Christian Education, 18, 206–234.
Who is GenY? Everyone wants to know. Like Dos Equis’ Most Interesting Man in the World — GenY seems to be a walking paradox that makes for great entertainment.
However, do we really have a clue who GenY really is? Everyday a new article comes out from “experts” who have GenY-Millennials-Twentysomethings-Emerging Adults-those fortunate to be born in the 80′s when George Michaels and Boy George reigned supreme (thankfully sparring us from having to buy tight cut-off jean shorts because we were five years old), completely figured out.
Do a phone survey of 143 twentysomethings and you’ve got yourself a theory and a platform.
We think an entire GenY generation can be summed up with a two paragraph label like a box of Wheat Thins.
Why is it that stereotyping certain topics is completely taboo, yet stereotyping entire Generations is all the rage. As if GenY, Millennials, Twentysomethings are this mass amoeba completely identifiable if you can study just one piece. And whomever gains the most exposure, and yells the loudest, holds the power to define us all. (And the power to make the most money because they have the answer)
But GenY is not alone in our yearning to point and say, this is who they are. We do it to the Boomers too. And the Greatest Generation. But is this fair?
It possibly makes the most sense with the Greatest Generation as they rallied, bonded together, and were each independently, and collectively, effected through events like the Great Depression and WWII.
But what does GenY have as our defining events? The Great Recession and 9/11? The verdict is out on whether or not the Great Recession will shape and define our collective identity. But in regards to 9/11, as I wrote in a previous article Amusing Ourselves to Death, “collectively we did not act upon the events of 9/11. No, we consumed 9/11.”
Did 9/11 do anything to actually change most our lives other than waiting in longer lines at the airport?
SO WHO IS GENY?
I wrote 31 Ways You Know You’re a GenY Twentysomething, which has become about a 100 ways now due to the amazing comments from fellow GenY-ers. Thus again showing me there is no one set list, no one-size-fits-all GenY characteristics.
Because we are not a list. We are individuals with unique talents and interests.
Some in GenY will act entitled, some won’t.
Some will have an IV of Technology hooked to their veins, some will like the feel of a good book.
Some will persevere through difficulty, some will take repeated naps.
Some will get married young, some will cast marriage off like a pair of worn tennis shoes.
Yes we can make generalizations, but let’s be careful not to treat generalizations as facts. Because honestly you don’t know – I don’t know, GenY as well as we think we do.
And honestly, I’m sick of us pretending like we do.
“…Americans are the best entertained and quite likely the least well-informed people in the Western world”
Just a take a moment and let that statement marinate. Is it even shocking? Or have I already lost you to a Youtube video of a dancing cat?
And can you believe the quote above was not even written in 2011, but in 1985 – before Netflix, TIVO, iPhones, streaming Internet (or really any internet), no Facebook, no Twitter, no newscast about a Bedroom Intruder watched a shade over 33 million times (with it’s Auto-tuned rendition gaining a few additional views – like around 81 million).
1985 was Branson, Missouri compared to our 2011 Las Vegas on streaming steroids. So what did Neil Postman write in his prophetic book, Amusing Ourselves to Death, that might be truer now than ever for Millennials, Gen Y, and Emerging Adults – making it number 18 on my 20 for 20somethings book countdown.
AMUSING OURSELVES TO DEATH?!
First, let me admit that I read part of Amusing Ourselves to Death while flying from Boston to LA on Virgin Airlines with their new on-board computer screen embedded in the chair in front of me. As I turned to page fifty, I had to add a few songs to my tailored onboard playlist, which led me to message seat 15F through the Plane Chatroom, which then persuaded me to watch a TED talk for a little break.
I didn’t make it back to the book that day.
The irony wasn’t lost.
I write about millennials and Gen Y amusing ourselves to death because I feel myself slipping into an entertainment-coma.
TWO KEYS POINTS ABOUT AMUSING OURSELVES TO DEATH FOR YOU TO TWEET AND FACEBOOK
1. We are the Most Informed, Uninformed People in the History of the World.
We possess unfathomable amounts of information at our fingertips. Millions of links, messages, “this video is Hi-larious” dance across our eyes every day. We can know real time that the Prime Minister of the Czech Republic is having Macadamia Nut Ice Cream for dessert, while at the same time not know where the Czech Republic is on a map or that the Czech Republic is even a country (I had to Wikipedia it myself just to make sure).
Postman worried that television was providing us with rapid and ramped disinformation – “misplaced, irrelevant, fragmented, or superficial information — information that creates the illusion of knowing something but which in fact leads one away from knowing” (Postman, 107). Wow, and he wrote this before Facebook?!
Do you know how many blogs there are currently on the Internet? Take a guess. One million? Five? Ten million? You’re colder than a naked man jumping in Lake Michigan in November.
There are 162,021,094 blogs as of today, May 17 2011. With 69,214 blogs started in the last 24 hours! (http://www.blogpulse.com/). That’s similar to an entire stadium full of people at a college football game creating a WordPress account all at the same time. (Note to Self: Buy stock in WordPress)
There are 110,000,000 tweets per day. (http://blogs.forbes.com/). That’s 110 million shouts for your attention from 109 million “Social Media Experts” trained at yelling the loudest and the most persuasively.
That roughly comes out to every person on Earth spending 100 minutes a month on Facebook. And since we know billions of people don’t even have Internet access, the rest of us are making up for it with millions of LOL’s and You Got to See This! And just writing the word “Facebook” prompted me (how well conditioned does Mark Zuckerberg have me?) to go and check my Facebook …
….and 14 minutes later…
2. Most Our Information Does Not Lead to Action
Let’s say you heard Paul Revere yell “the British are coming!” You would have jumped and grabbed your gun.
What was our reaction when we first heard of the planes crashing into the Twin Towers? Did most of us jump to action? No, we glued ourselves to the TV. Then what did most of us do after the news took us through all the cliff-hangers? We ate dinner in our college cafeteria. Or maybe we met a small group of people to pray. Or maybe we just turned on a re-run of Friends to forget about it all for a while.
For most Americans, the worst event of this generations’ history required most of us to do… absolutely nothing. Maybe a class or two was cancelled and we had longer lines at the airport. But we collectively did not act upon the events of 9/11. No, we consumed 9/11. Just like we eat up Jersey Shore, the Royal Wedding, Osama’s death, or American Idol. We watch not to act upon — but ultimately to be entertained under the guise of staying “informed”. As Postman wrote way back in 1985, we have a glut of information about “a sea of facts from unknown places about strangers with unknown faces.”
Yes, we have a huge obesity problem in this country and it’s not just from ice cream and fried Twinkies. No we are morbidly obese on information – useless facts that are high in fat and sugar, that require us to do absolutely nothing. We lay on the couch and consume – Anderson Cooper and John Stewart our potato chips and M & M’s.
AMUSING OURSELVES TO DEATH IN 2011
If 1985 felt like we were on the “verge” of amusing ourselves to death, where are we in 2011? Do we have our hind parts planted squarely in graves — accompanied of course with our iPhone, True Blood series and 1,239 Twitter followers clamoring for a seat next to us? And do we even care? I can almost hear us now.
Go ahead. Bring the shovel and cover me with dirt. I don’t care. I have Snooki!
(And the fact that most of us know who Snooki actually is, and we actually care, well that is why we are in such deep freaking Snooki!)
So what? This is just more information, on just another blog, sandwiched in between the 162 million others. What does it matter?
Am I telling you to delete your Facebook account? Maybe – but honestly I probably won’t. But it does beg the question – do we have Facebook or does Facebook have us?
Or maybe you should not watch TV for a week or a month to see what happens to your entertainment appetite away from your electronic teet? All of us who swear we don’t have enough time in the day might magically discover hours just waiting to be used with purpose.
Maybe we should pick up a book this week – and no, nothing in the Harry Potter/Twilight Young Adult category – the most popular books amongst 25-33 year olds, and of course, 13-15 year olds too. Amusing Ourselves to Deathmight be a good place to start.
Maybe just schedule into your day ten minutes of silence with no other message warring for your thoughts. When’s the last time you gave yourself permission to think?
Our Founding Fathers spent their lives to give us the freedom and right to read, to think, to form an opinion and voice it. So it is a profound turn of events that we have voluntarily chosen to lock ourselves back up without little protest. “America was founded by intellectuals, from which it has taken us two centuries and a communications revolution to recover” (Postman, p. 41).
But if you don’t choose to change anything, I understand.
And to thank you for reading this far, I give you a fat dancing cat exercising in front of a TV. Be entertained! Amusing Ourselves to Death? Agree or Disagree? Let me know what you think in the comments below.