From nowhere we came, into nowhere we go. What is life? It is the flash of a firefly in the night.

~ Attributed to Crowfoot

Help the Captain get his spaceship!

Mithril Angel Wings

20 Something

“When I was ten, I read fairy tales in secret and would have been ashamed if I had been found doing so. Now that I am fifty I read them openly. When I became a man I put away childish things, including the fear of childishness and the desire to be very grown up.” ~ C.S. Lewis

Maybe this will just be a memory list of all the articles and quotes I’ve found interesting. I quite enjoyed the NYT Magazine article by Robin Marantz Henig on What Is It About 20 Somethings?, it hit on a lot of themes I recognize in myself or my peers including instability, exploration, and postponing the trappings of adulthood (or perhaps just not feeling the need to be very grown up). It describes the 20s as a “churning” period of shifting jobs, housing, and putting off or rearranging the milestones that traditionally defined adulthood – “completing school, leaving home, becoming financially independent, marrying and having a child.” It could very well be a privilege of being privileged but I know plenty of people who have shuffled those milestones around or have no desire to hit some of them at all.

The article explores psychology professor Jeffrey Jenson Arnett’s view of this period as its own life stage, “emerging adulthood”:

Just as adolescence has its particular psychological profile, Arnett says, so does emerging adulthood: identity exploration, instability, self-focus, feeling in-between and a rather poetic characteristic he calls “a sense of possibilities.” A few of these, especially identity exploration, are part of adolescence too, but they take on new depth and urgency in the 20s. The stakes are higher when people are approaching the age when options tend to close off and lifelong commitments must be made […]

DURING THE PERIOD he calls emerging adulthood, Arnett says that young men and women are more self-focused than at any other time of life, less certain about the future and yet also more optimistic, no matter what their economic background. This is where the “sense of possibilities” comes in, he says; they have not yet tempered their idealistic visions of what awaits […] Ask them if they agree with the statement “I am very sure that someday I will get to where I want to be in life,” and 96 percent of them will say yes. But despite elements that are exciting, even exhilarating, about being this age, there is a downside, too: dread, frustration, uncertainty, a sense of not quite understanding the rules of the game.

Whose game, whose rules, and what do you win for playing?

When I was first out of school and trying to figure out what I wanted to do, I wrote a former teacher of mine about how I felt like I needed to immediately choose and embark on an interesting and fulfilling career, which was a shame since I didn’t know what I wanted to do, where I wanted live, or any of those basic starting blocks. Part of me wants to cave, I told him, say screw the expectations and get a job folding t-shirts at the mall. “I don’t know whether this will help or not,” he replied, “but I feel that most of life is spent searching for one’s place in the world and wanting to break out of expectations.  The former will eventually happen if you keep the search alive and the latter is not a bad thing to break out of in life.”

I get the feeling sometimes that the point of the game is what each of us make it out to be, and the best we can hope is that the values we set are satisfying to ourselves.

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