I love the term “grey area”. Typically, you can use it to suit your needs and describe the feeling or idea that you without having to be too specific or accurate. You will notice a lot of people take advantage of “the grey area” when they are trying to make a point without the ability to really make a point.
Today’s Life in Pieces thought is about one of the greyest areas of life – young adulthood. When does this begin and when does this end. Does it begin when puberty starts – certainly not from what I have seen. I shudder to think of how my grandparents took on so much responsibility as teens during the Great Depression and grew up so quickly. The generations before them were also working, marrying, and child-bearing/rearing MUCH earlier than we ever think about or want our children attempting these huge life pieces in today’s world.
Regardless, of your generation, your gender, or your life circumstance between 15 and 30 years of age – you had a Young Adult period. Your puzzle had another massive expansion and you had to come to terms with becoming a decision maker. This is a terribly frightening task for most of us, and yet the intense desire to be in control of our own life, our own destiny, and our own moment by moment steps is deep within every one of us.
Consider high school relationships (or college for that matter)– we begin choosing (or not choosing) the types of people we are attracted to. We often realize we are not great at this selection process. 99% of High School relationships end awkwardly or painfully and the college statistics are similar. Or consider what your career dreams were as a high school student – my best guess is that 90% of us are not following that plan. The number of people who change majors or do not get a job out of college in their major/field of expertise is on the rise. Life fresh out of school at any age comes with even more pieces – freedom leads to greater responsibilities, more time commitments, and more pieces of the puzzle. Relationships and careers are two of our biggest personal life choices but as young adults we struggle to make pieces fit together, WHY?
It’s new. It’s complicated. It’s a puzzle ten times greater than you are used to. Throw in a special circumstance…illness, divorce, special needs, tragic loss, or something else that is beyond your control but a part of your puzzle, and navigating these formative years is a huge challenge and feels like you are wandering around in a very “grey area”. Being an adult is hard…being a young adult is even harder at times as you piece life together. The grey area can bring a lot of excitement and opportunities. Many times new pieces are the most thrilling and when handled well can be lifetime corner pieces like a spouse or a career that fulfills. So, consider, ponder, and reflect of these years – and you may be in them now – how did my young adult puzzle come together? Tomorrow we will look deeper at how these years impact our long-term adult puzzle as we live a life of belonging where special is ordinary and ordinary is special.