Millennials have been complaining a lot about “adulting” lately. The term has caught steam online, and has started entering daily vocabulary.
In short, adulting is the concept of completing the responsibilities an adult is expected to handle, from keeping one's home clean to holding down a job and paying bills.
The modern Millennial, for the most part, views adulthood as a series of actions, as opposed to a state of being. Adulting therefore becomes a verb.
It summarizes – more accurately – the feeling of switching in and out of the adult behavior Millennials typically experience. After completing your laundry and finishing your chores, you may decide to skip cooking and pick up fast food. That's not an adult decision.
Why are Millennials having such a difficult time transitioning into adulthood that they've made adulthood an action instead of an age one reaches?
The fact is, the past decade hasn't been easy on us. So, we're simply less prepared to take some crucial steps.
1. We're more dependent on our parents.
Millennials are finding it difficult to separate from their parents. In 2015, nearly 40 percent of Millennials were still in mom and dad's house. We just aren't moving out of the house very quickly.
We're staying in our childhood homes and continuing to let mom prepare us dinner. We're just fine living under the watchful gaze of our parents and relying on the comforts of home.
Clearly, mom and dad tend to keep covering some of our bills well past the age when previous generations would have started living independently.
2. We're full of economic anxiety.
There's a reason our parents are covering our bills: We're deeply worried about our finances, far more so than previous generations.
And it's holding us back.
Millennials have taken their time to come around to homeownership, dropping rates to their lowest since 1965. This is because the cost seems too exorbitant for Millennials: We haven't ever quite saved enough.
On top of that, most Millennials with college degrees are going to come away with some student debt, and it'll probably be a lot more than previous generations had.
In many cases, Millennials must choose between paying off those student loan debts or saving for retirement, thus making it even harder to complete the standard adult task of building a retirement account.
3. We're putting off serious relationships.
The advancement of science and more women working toward their careers has resulted in Millennials pushing off marriage and reproduction for a later time.
The decision itself is frequently practical. More Millennials are going to grad school and starting serious careers that don't have room for a serious relationship. This means something that would have taken place for our parents in their mid 20s is happening to us in our late 20s or even early 30s.
Putting a halt on our relationships can provide us with more economic security in the short term, but it also delays major life events (like one's wedding). This leaves Millennials feeling like they're still missing something that makes them real adults.
The struggle of completing the tasks associated with adulthood isn't going to go away anytime soon. Millennials need to feel ready to take the next steps in their lives, but in a climate of economic uncertainty and widespread political upheaval, they aren't going to be in a rush to do so anytime soon.