After they graduate from college, many young adults give their parents a scare: They bum around--travel the country, try out non-career jobs, test-run relationships. It's a drop-out moment--a sudden roughness on the road to what we assumed would be a smooth adulthood.
Should we worry? David Brooks puts it in perspective for us in this excerpt from a column in the New York Times.
"As emerging adults move from job to job, relationship to relationship and city to city, they have to figure out which of their meanderings are productive exploration and which parts are just wastes of time. This question is very confusing from the inside, and it is certainly confusing for their parents.
Yet here is the good news. By age 30, the vast majority are through it. The sheer hardness of the “Odyssey Years” teaches people to hustle. The trials and errors of the decade carve contours onto their hearts, so they learn what they love and what they don’t. They develop their own internal criteria to make their own decisions. They fear what other people think less because they learn that other people are not thinking about them; they are busy thinking about themselves.
Finally, they learn to say no. After a youth dazzled by possibilities and the fear of missing out, they discover that committing to the few things you love is a sort of liberation. They piece together their mosaic.
One thing we can tell young grads and their parents is that this is normal. This phase is a thing. It’s a not a sentence to a life of video games, loneliness and hangovers. It’s a rite of passage that makes people strong.