Adult Developmental Stages: Adults in Their 20's
The twenties are a time for establishing long-term intimate relationships, choosing a lifestyle and adjusting to it, deciding on a career and gaining the education and knowledge to execute chosen occupation, as well as seeking love and managing friends and family.
The possibilities in twenties make this decade especially malleable and a monumental time.
What it is Like Being in Your 20's
Being Twenty Something
Adults in their twenties are discovering themselves. The twenties are all about launching away from family of origin towards independence. According to The New York Times, sociologists define the twenties decade as marked by five milestones:
- Completing school
- Leaving home
- Becoming financially independent
- Marrying or finding a lifelong mate
- Having a child
There are a lot of uncertainties, challenges, changes, exploring and establishing in the twenties. No doubt this makes this stage of adulthood one that is more self-focused than any other time in an adult's life. Despite the enormous period of self-discovering and carrying out one's life, the twenties also embody anxiety, uncertainty, heartache, frustration, and loneliness. With the dialectic positive and negative changes the twenties are truly a decade of ambivalence and stress.
Defining the Decade: Why Your 20's Matter
- Move away from home
- Finding a job
- Establishing a career
- Finding love
- Social life
- Taking Risks
- Explore identity
- Self focus
- Defining self
- Choosing a life partner
- Begin a family
The Twenty Years
Emerging adulthood demands 20-something year olds to try out various possibilities. In this age of possibilities, optimism flourishes as emerging adults see themselves as having opportunities to transform their lives. At the same time, external struggles can sabotage dreams. This struggle of acquiring dreams and feeling defeated by dreams is part of the process all twenty year olds go through. In love, career, school, and living the twenties require a certain amount of emotional growing pain. Instability and the transient nature of the twenties begin to build a foundation for later adulthood. Learning how to cope with emotional pain, heartache, and disappointments develop coping skills that can be applied in the future.
Fallin in Love
What do you think?
What do you believe is the common stress level for most 20-something year olds?
Searching for- Who Am I?
Searching for, “Who am I?” forges adult identity through a considerable amount of trial and error in the twenties. Choices made in the twenties feel like they will drastically affect the rest of our lives. At times when things seem stagnate, 20-something year olds feel utterly lost and ache from hardship and lost love. It is hard not to compare what you do not have to others who seem to have it all together and are striving. However, these years of adjustment, ambiguity, and insecurity is something all emerging adults go through.
Being allowed to make wrong decisions and learning from them is an important part of this process. Emerging adults find out who they are by scrabbling through mistakes and successes, slowly growing a sense of self. By the time one leaves their twenties, they benefit from the wayward experiences accrued.
Snapshot of What it is Like to Be 20-Something
Discover: who am I
May have a series of relationships of falling in love and being broken hearted
Choose a Career
Discover: what matters most
Looking for a life long mate
Attend a University or College
Decide on a career
Worry about future
May marry and begin a family of own
Usually have little to no savings
Women are in the prime of their childbearing years
Move away from family of origin
May not know how to spend and save responsibly
Body recovers more easily from illness and injuries
Work through childhood hurts and memories
May wish to search and reunite with significant family members who have been absent
May acquire debt due to major investments and purchase like eduction, car, rent
Find a place to live
Young skin quality and elasticity
Serious mental illness usually manifests in young adulthood
May feel depressed, lonely if not in a committed relationship
May still depend on parents for financial support
Advice for Adults in Their Twenties
The twenties are a transient decade.
According to the Huff Post, "No one beyond their youth wants to be in their twenties again. These are the most difficult years of all."
With all the significant changes one could easily argue the twenties are one of the most stressful decades to navigate through.
Here is some advice to help you manage your twenties:
- Everyone gets jealous of other's who seem to have more- a better career, getting married already, having children when you are still struggling to find a decent job. Instead of focusing on what you do not have, focus on what you do have. Count your blessings.
- Know you are young, you still have time to build the future you want. If you do not like where you life is heading begin to set goalsto make the necessary changes of where you want to be.
- No one leaves the twenties without regret and making bad decisions. Learn to forgive yourself and others. Learn from your mistakes.
- Enjoy your youth. Your body is at its prime, enjoy outdoor activities, exercise, and not having to pamper your body to get through the day.
- Take care of your body now. Learning healthy habits in your twenties can benefit you long term.
- Learn to manage stress.
- Try therapy.
- The twenties begin to teach us how to deal with difficult people and huge disappointments. Sometimes our most trying times enables us to build better coping skills and become a better person.
- Know things move fast in your twenties. If you are having a difficult time, know it will not always be this way. Pray. Seek support and believe it will get better.
- Avoid excessive alcohol and any drug use. They make coping and getting through your twenties even harder.
The Average age of Marriage
According to Wikipedia the average age of adults first marriage is in their twenties in most countries. Getting married is a significant life change making the twenties a defining life altering moment for adults. Marriage is difficult for all couples, but may be more difficult for young adults who have not established themselves financially. However, the rewards of marrying young and struggling as a committed couple can strengthen the marriage, increase empathy, and a determination that says, "if we can make it through this, we can make it through anything."
Some young adults in their twenties wait to get married. Instead, they finish their education and establish their careers before they launch into a committed relationship. Other's delay marriage simply because they have not met the right person yet.
The Median Age of First Marriage
The Average Age of New Moms
According to the USA Today in 2009, the average age of a new mother in the USA is 25 and in other developed countries the average age is 29. Becoming a father or mother for the first time creates a significant change in identity and future choices.
Young 20-something year old parents now have to balance parenthood, a young career, and a possible relationship with their partner as well as their ties with their family of origin, future goals, and financial restraints. This unquestionable, makes this stage in adulthood extremely stressful. Those who begin a family young may feel their peers have more money, more career opportunities, and more freedom. However, starting a family young allows for 20-something year olds to have more freedom when they get older.
The Twenties are Significant
The twenties are a decade that sets the foundation for the future. The twenties begin for most young adults starting out in college, followed by that big twenty-first birthday, then 20-something year olds graduate from college, start a career, seek love, all while moving several times and being financially strapped. Somehow adults leave the twenties with degrees, finding or have found a lifelong partner, homeowners and possibly with kids. Not all young adults leave the twenties with degrees, married, and starting a family. It is becoming more and more common for people to wait until their thirties to settle down.
Carly Sullens 2013. All Rights Reserved.