NEW YORK (MainStreet) In the good ol' days, life was simple: you would get your driver's license at age 16, move out of your parents' home at age 18 and by age 25 you had a spouse, a house, a dog and 2.5 children.
Fast-forward to today, and the 'new normal' is that there is no 'normal.' People today often find themselves in school until their early or mid-twenties, sometimes living at home or with roommates. This delayed 'adulthood' in reality is a buffering zone in a world in which jobs (or even marriages) for life are a thing of the past.
"I think there are a lot of factors that contribute to delayed adulthood," says Dr. Stephanie Buehler, a psychologist with the Buehler Institute. "I think that being offspring of 'helicopter parents' contributes to delayed childhood. However, this generation was launched into a bad economy with few opportunities to stretch into as adults."
Feel a bit young (or old) for your age?
See how your life stacks up with these new 'age milestones':25th Birthday
Old Milestone: Settling into a career with your employer; enjoying newlywed status with a new house and young children.
New Milestone: Fresh out of school and often deciding if you want to further your education; usually single for maximum mobility; still may be working a second or third job to pay the bills
"I'm of the view that people need to be fully engaged in adult life in their mid-twenties," says Dr. Brad Wilcox, director of the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia, as well as associate professor of sociology at the university. "People flourish in their careers and their lives in general if they get serious during this time of their life. If they are still jumping from one job to another, they are not getting those networking experiences that will serve them in their career."