I’m still looked at suspiciously when I buy alcohol in a supermarket and don’t have the finances to buy or rent a single bed flat. Yet when I met a young boy on the street today, he innocently referred to me as a lady and asked how many children I had. As a 20 year old, ‘millennial’ as the media likes to call us, I’m currently confused about when society expects us to become adults and what exactly the job of an adult entails.
In the UK, I legally became an adult when I was 18. Though I was ‘of age’, I was still in full time education and looking to go on to university (another 3+ years at least!). The Student Loans Company almost expects its’ recipients of their loans to depend on their parents until the age of 21+ and trust me, university is impossible without these loans. Not everyone will go on to further education, but the government is encouraging more and more of us to do so. The job market is only after those with degrees, apprenticeships or high level vocational equivalents for entry level jobs. This push for post-18 education has inadvertently further pushed the age at which youngsters can even think about flying the nest and become independent adults.
Contrarily, by law, the age at which a person can engage in sex is 16 and trusted to drive at 17 in England. It wouldn’t be unreasonable for me to have had a 3 year old child by now. So to reiterate, I could become a parent before I became an ‘adult’ and before the school leaving age of 18. That seems strange.
I hope now that you can understand my confusion. My generation has been branded ‘generation snowflake’ and yes, they may be right, but remember that because of ever-increasing house prices and a job market that caters for the highly qualified it is impossible for us to ‘grow-up’. Still living with parents is common-place for the average 25 year old. We are not lazy and idle. We are doing our best in a Peter Pan-like world that makes it harder and harder for us to become independent adults.