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Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Kidult Swim

I recently read an article in TIME about the twenty-something generation. It focused on the change in our (our generation, that is) yearning for marriage, children, locking into a career, living on our own…basically everything classically defined as “adult”. The author speculated about our reasons for waiting longer, trying a million things and delaying what some call the inevitable. More kids live with their parents after college, many take more than 4 years to graduate, and some wait till after 30 to marry.

Apparently society is to “blame” for our shift in behavior. Apparently all this waiting around is seen as “bad”.

Tell me, what is so “bad” about being totally sure you love someone before marrying them? What is so wrong about experiencing so much before you settle into one career or life, so that when you do settle in, you have no regrets? Why is it wrong to save a lot of money and have a wonderful couple of years with your spouse before you have kids?

Why is indecision always seen as the wrong decision?

I came across the terminology- kidults, in this article. I kinda like the word. I’d sit at the kidults table at Thanksgiving. I’d order off the kidults menu- I’ll bet it’s cheaper. I wonder if pools have kidult swim. All of the twenty-somethings would jump in, beer in one hand, business card in the other. We’d play marco polo and network at the same time…we’d get phone numbers, too. And hangovers.

I think that sometimes when I look into my mom’s eyes, I see a small bit of envy. She married my dad as a senior in college and started having kids at 23. Here she is, 24 years later and still trying to finish up her master’s degree. Maybe she would have liked to play around a bit, test waters, meet more people and learn a little bit about herself before she had to devote her time, heart and mind to her family. I know I certainly do.

Other times, I worry that I see disappointment in her eyes. I am 24, I’m not married, I don’t have kids, I don’t own a house. I have a boyfriend and pay rent and still go to work hung-over sometimes.

Is that failure? Not by my standards. It’s more like adult life in the making…all the while, I am enjoying every minute of this in-between, where I get to be whatever and whoever I want, without the risk of hurting anyone but myself. Well, maybe that’s not true, but at least my income supports me, not my children and my mortgage.

I know soon it will be time to make commitments and take plunges. But I don’t think there is anything immoral or wrong or degenerative about being a million different kinds of me for a while. I like kidult swim.

I see that our culture is shifting, here, and I see that there could be negative impacts on our society, economy, etc. However, I don’t see that the shift itself is bad, or indicative of bad people. We are, in fact, very nice kidults.


At 11:35 AM, Blogger J-Mazz said...

The entire kidult culture is bad for one obvious reason: It's not what our parents and grandparents did. See "marijuana" and "pre-marital sex" as other examples.

At 9:33 AM, Blogger Emily said...

Um - what time is kidult swim and do I have to sign up?!

F that all man. People are living longer. Marriage and babies and all of that are wonderful, beautiful things, but before people got married at 20 and died at 75 (if they're lucky), that's still 55 years of marriage. But now people are living into their 80's and 90's easily... I don't want to be married for 70 years.... that just freaks me out. Old balls....


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