What is it about 20-somethings?

Asks a New York Times contributor:

It’s happening all over, in all sorts of families, not just young people moving back home but also young people taking longer to reach adulthood overall. It’s a development that predates the current economic doldrums, and no one knows yet what the impact will be — on the prospects of the young men and women; on the parents on whom so many of them depend; on society, built on the expectation of an orderly progression in which kids finish school, grow up, start careers, make a family and eventually retire to live on pensions supported by the next crop of kids who finish school, grow up, start careers, make a family and on and on. The traditional cycle seems to have gone off course, as young people remain un­tethered to romantic partners or to permanent homes, going back to school for lack of better options, traveling, avoiding commitments, competing ferociously for unpaid internships or temporary (and often grueling) Teach for America jobs, forestalling the beginning of adult life.

And one girl’s “quarter-life” crisis:

Four months post-graduation, in the worst employment market since the Great Depression, my world view has dulled considerably. I’m working (for pay) and interning (for “work experience”), and with student loan payments starting soon, I gave up my apartment to move back home. My social circle, which was sizable as an undergrad, has taken repeated blows — my best friend just started med school, four others moved out of state (or out of country) for jobs, and the ones who are still around have (understandably) fallen in step with work friends or are still in school. I feel disconnected and lost, like everyone’s moving forward with their lives and I’m stuck in place. I’ve joined dating sites and sports leagues in an attempt to meet more people my age, but nothing seems to click. My mom keeps assuring me that when I get a job everything will fall into place and my Grand Adventure will begin. In the meantime, how do I regain my sanity and my social life?

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