Failing at Growing Up

Jake, meanwhile, has been deciding the right time to propose to Jess, but he must come to terms with feelings he had for his high school sweetheart

The 25-year-olds circled a keg of craft beer like altar boys at a dice game.


With the help of our knowledge bank, you can choose for variations in your new neighborhood by:

But to zero in on the best place for you you’ll have to visit and schedule time to explore potential new homes in a region.

Oh, darn!

Adult Life Stages

Part One:  She’s Leaving Home, Not Living Alone (Buy Buy)


According to Wikipedia Erik Erikson, the original expert in developmental life stages, said:

This is the first stage of adult development.

This development usually happens during young adulthood, which is between the ages of 18 to 35.

Dating, marriage, family and friendships are important during the stage in their life.

By successfully forming loving relationships with other people, individuals are able to experience love and intimacy.

Those who fail to form lasting relationships may feel isolated and alone.

Wikipedia summarized Erikson’s theory of early adulthood, roughly between the ages of 20 and 40.

Approximate Age: Early adulthood ( 20 – 39)

Significant Relationship: Friends, partners

Existential Question:  Can I love?

Examples: Romantic relationships

Psychosocial Crisis: Intimacy vs. Isolation

Virtues: Love

The ages are all relative.

As we continue, you’ll notice overlapping age ranges.

The point is for you:

  • Where do you find yourself in your own life?
  • Which sets of dynamic issues confront you?
  • Where can you find others facing the same kinds of challenges?

As you may recall 18-22 year olds don’t show up on demographic lifestyle dashboards until later in their 20s.

In their “Trying Twenties”, ages 20 to 29 years old, we find them renting in new neighborhoods.

Welcome to seven lifestyles in the “Striving Singles” category.

When peers, friends and generation members shift from what feels like one big age group with one common taste in music, fashion and popular culture into another phase which begins to splinter.

As a whole, out of a possible 66 lifestyles ranked by Claritas / Nielson  they fall within the bottom third reflecting their status and affluence.

Where can you find them?  Here’s a sampling.

  • Living in California: Healdsburg, Eureka and Santa Cruz.
  • Living in Utah: Park City
  • In Idaho: Coeur d’Alene
  • In  Colorado: Telluride and Dillon

And in many more communities across regions of the United States.

Striving singles show up in Wireless Resorters, High Country Eagles and Permanent Temporaries communities.

Ages: 20-29

Life Stages: Striving Singles

Community Neighbors:

Wireless Resorters

42Y3T3, Red, White & Blues – WRRS Resort Suburbans (Healdsburg, CA)

48Y3T4, Young and Rustic – WRDE Distant Exurbans (Park City, UT)

56Y3T4, Crossroads Villagers – WRDE Distant Exurbans (Telluride, CO)

Community Neighbors:

High Country Eagles 

45Y3T3, Blue Highways – HCERC Rural Cowboy (Dillon, CO)

47Y3C3, City Startups – HCESTB Small Town Borders (Eureka, CA)

53Y3C3,  Mobility Blues -HCESTB Small Town Borders (Coeur d’Alene, ID)

Community Neighbors:

Permanent Temporaries

44Y3S4, New Beginnings – PTSO Start Over (Santa Cruz, CA)

But, wherever you find them, they still have common issues and nagging concerns.

Gail Sheehy says “The Trying Twenties” confront us with questions of how to take hold in the adult world.

John Hodgman in “Vacationland” recalls what it was like for him.

“When you live in New York or any big city, it is easy to fail at growing up. The city is designed to keep you in a state of perpetual adolescent. You never need to learn to drive if you don’t want to. “

Not only that, but it is so easy to trick yourself into believing you are your younger self.

“And even if you do drive you can go back to that bar you went to when you were twenty-one, and it will still be there, and it will still be called Molly’s, and the older waitress there will still remember you and let you sit where you want. “

Being in denial is the fashion, at least in Brooklyn, New York.  (And elsewhere, too.)

“And five years later, when she is no longer there, when there is just a picture of her above the bar in a plan of sad honor, and you know what that means and don’t want to think about it, guess what: you do not have to. Because no one is driving home, and you’re back again listening to “Fairytale of New York,” which is still on every jukebox, falling into the same conversations you had with the same friends … and what you are going to do when you grow up.”

And after it’s been ten years since graduation, at THAT high school reunion, everyone wants to impress everyone else …

Think “10 Years” the 2011 film starring Channing Tatum, Chris Pratt and an ensemble cast that caught the essence of the Trying Twenties.

Heres the plot, according to Wikipedia.  See if it sounds familiar.

Jake and his girlfriend Jess arrive at his high school friend’s house owned by married couple, Cully and Sam.

There, some of Jake’s friends start to arrive including:  best buddies Marty and AJ, musician Reeves and Scott together with his wife.

Guests awkwardly greet one and another.  Some are snubbed.  Some are ignored. Some draw a crowd like they did in high school.

The night proceeds as everyone is faced with both their past and present selves .

Some have changed while others stayed the same.

According to Sheehy, during the Trying Twenties we become almost totally preoccupied with working out “the externals.”

  • How do I put aspirations into effect?
  • What is the best way to start?
  • Where do I go?
  • Who can help me?
  • How did you do it?

Hodgman. As I stamped each page away, a growing sense ate at me that I was no longer becoming something – the perpetual state of college – but ending up as something.  I didn’t know what that was.  I had difficulty tolerating that ambiguity. And so I grew anxious and depressed. pg 51

The tasks are as enormous as they are exhilarating:

Sheehy: To shape a dream, that vision of ourselves which will generate energy, aliveness and hope … to prepare for a life work … to find a mentor if possible.

Hodgman. But in my case I had a real human therapist who was also a beautiful women, only a few years older than me.  You can appreciate what a boon this was to a girl-shy nerd and narcissist. 

I asked Dr. Woman what “Adjustment Disorder” meant.  She said it typically follows a change in life status, such as finishing college or moving to a new city.  pg 58

According to Sheehy, doing what “we should” is the most pervasive theme of the 20s.

Taking hold of the adult world.  Finding ways to start putting aspirations into effect.  Seeking help.  Finding a mentor. Shaping our life dreams. Doing what “we should?”

Chris Erskine. The 25-year-olds circled a keg of craft beer like altar boys at a dice game. As if summoning some ancient hymn, they sang their praises for the older adults who’d had the good sense to choose something artful instead of something crass.

Really, we are not so different — no matter our age, religion or creed (whatever creed is). We are thirsty for good experiences and honest leadership. I don’t know if that is passed from God to popes, or fathers to sons, or just from party guest to party guest.

Whatever the reason, it’s a relief to see that our default emotions are mostly sincere — not papal necessarily, but appreciative of the greater good and the small, authentic choices that we brew into rich and proper values.

Virtue. Forgiveness. The good and artful life.

But what’s like raising today’s Millennials passing through their 20s and 30s?

Erskine. What I like best about Santa Monica, probably, is that it seems to attract lots of millennials, the young adults in their 20s and early 30s who I’ve championed in the past. They are like my therapy animals.

An amazing group, these millennials, especially considering they were over-mothered and under-parented all at the same time. That would seem an impossible, mutually exclusive way to raise an entire generation, but somehow America has.

I find the millennials spoiled, entitled, demanding, insular, independent, curious, strong-willed — just the sort of skill set you need to really change the world (many great presidents have had those same qualities).

And yet there’s that pervasive parental fear.

Erskine. Even so, the job prospects for talented twentysomethings are spotty at best. They move back in with us, then out again, then back in.

Thanks to Aaron for pressing the shutter release. He is himself an aspiring photographer now, thanks to the Canon AE-1 he borrowed from his dad.
Project365: 233/365

I fear for young adults.

  • Will they ever have a career?
  • When they find work, it doesn’t pay enough to live.
  • When they work overtime, they are afraid to put in for it, for fear of losing the job that doesn’t pay them enough to live in the first place.


Part Three: Love, Marriage, Baby Carriage, or …

She’s Leaving Home, Not Living Alone (Buy Buy)

Even if New York were paying just a dime a dozen for dumb dreamers like me, the city would go bankrupt in twenty-five minutes.


Graduating Neighborhood Kids
“Most of us, during this period of exploration are vague, if not void or ideas of what we want to do.  We generally begin by defining what we don’t want to do.”


With the help of our knowledge bank, you can choose for variations in your new neighborhood by:

But to zero in on the best place for you you’ll have to visit and schedule time to explore potential new homes in a region.

Oh, darn!

Adult Life Stages

How can we use each life crisis as an opportunity for creative change?

To grow to our full potential?

As we go through in our 20s, 30s, 40s, and beyond?

Sometime between the ages of 18 and 22 years old we strike out on our own.

For some of us, we leave our family, home and neighborhood to attend college.

Home of the Double Double

Others feel patriotic and volunteer to join the Army, Navy, Marines or Coast Guard.

And still others pick up odd jobs, juggle different shifts and gig economy opportunities.

A barista. Or, a ski lift operator.  Or an In-N-Out burger artist.

John Hodgman from in his book, “Vacationland: True Stories From Painful Beaches,” recalled the magnetism of the mundane:

John Hodgman’s Humorous Take On His 20s, 30s and 40s

“I loved work because it was like travel: a chance to meet different people and inhabit their worlds.  So the more tedious and unengaging the work was, the better, because it left more brain space for observation and inquiry, and also because I’m pretty lazy.”

In California during the Great Recession  more 18-20 year olds followed the strategy of their parents who were footing  college education bills.

They lived at home (still!) and attended a community college to earn their two-year associates degree stuffed with college credits, but at a much lower cost than tuition-plus-room-and-board at a university campus.

When they finally  transferred to a university or college they  only had two-years of study left to complete their bachelors degree.

At any rate, no matter which initial steps you take, when  you graduate from high school you really, really want to strike out on your own.

From Teenager to Early Adult

You’re so eager to pull up roots and exert your own independence.

You can’t wait to leave your parents and their rules behind.

All that nagging.

Those stupid chores.

It’s time to move on.

If not physically, at least in your mind.

Think “That 70s Show” friends coming of age in Wisconsin.

Marc Maron’s Insightful Interviews from his Wildly Successful WTF Podcast

Marc Maron, with Brendan McDonald, his WTF podcast producer, published a book, “Waiting for the Punch” based on over 800 interviews.

In it President Obama recounted what it was like for him in his early twenties:

“I think at that age you’re still trying to figure out, “Who are you? How do I live? What’s my code? What’s important to me? What’s not important to me?” You’re sorting through all kinds of contradictions.”

You’re testing out your parents’ spoken (and unspoken) beliefs, to figure out which ones to keep and which ones to modify and which ones to throw out.

President Obama continued:

Revealing Recollections of His 20s

Then at a certain point right around twenty, right around my sophomore year, I started figuring out that a lot of the ideas that I had taken on about being a rebel, or being a tough guy, or being cool were really not me.

They were just things that I was trying on because I was insecure or I was a kid.  That’s an important moment in my life, although also a scary one, because then you start realizing,

“Well, I actually have to figure out what I really do believe and what is important and who am I really.” 

“Then right around twenty you start realizing honesty, kindness, hard work, responsibility, looking after people — they’re actually pretty good values.”

“I’m a P.C”, John Hodgman

John Hodgman said:

I listened to music on the Walkman I borrowed from my roommate without telling him, and when the batteries wore down, I would listen to AM radio.  That’s when I first heard Rush Limbaugh and began to understand that not everyone absolutely agreed with me about everything.

How does what you’ve been taught actually apply to new encounters and experiences.

Gail Sheehy  in “Passages: Predictable Crises of Adult Life” a summary of research by Erik Ericson and Roger Gould  writes:

Gail Sheehy’s Passages

The tasks of this passage are to locate ourselves in a peer group role, a sex role, and anticipated occupation, an ideology or world view.  Even as one part of us seeks to be an individual, another longs to restore the safety and comfort of merging with another. 

Most of us, during this period of exploration are vague, if not void or ideas of what we want to do.

We generally begin by defining what we don’t want to do.”


Chris Erskine, author of two books and a weekly syndicated columnist for the “Los Angeles Times, ” describes the lives of his two Millennial daughters in “The Middle Ages”

Chris Erskine at the Los Angeles Times

A year after graduating, the boyfriend admits he misses college so much that he can’t even visit his younger brother back in school. His life is good, but not college good. “What’s your major?” is still the best opening line of all time. Once you leave college, Thursday nights are never the same. You know, you can’t force this getting-to-know-you stuff. Either he fits or he doesn’t. In high school, the kid played football. In college, rugby.

John Hodgman, in another passage described what it was like trying to make it in New York:

Neighborhood in New York

It turns out that New York made no arrangements to receive me. No jobs were reserved for recent graduates with a degree in literary theory; no skylit garrets had been set aside in the West Village for me to think thoughts about books in.  Even if New York were paying just a dime a dozen for dumb dreamers like me, the city would go bankrupt in twenty-five minutes.

Chris Erskine speaking from his perspective of raising three adult children and a teenage son wrote:

“Here’s the thing: Constant as the surf, our kids will come, and our kids will go. Helps to have friends around. Helps to laugh. Or to hear that such departures lead to wonderful freshman years and terrific homecomings. And to Thanksgivings you’ll never forget.”

Not that they care, but 18-22 year olds don’t show up on demographic lifestyle dashboards until later in their 20s.

They’re simply counted in with the wide variety of family lifestyles.

It’s after they wrestle with the challenges of their Trying Twenties, ages 20 to 30 years old, that we find them renting in neighborhoods.

They can be found in Wireless Resorters, High Country Eagles and Permanent Temporaries communities.

This is a 10-year period when as a generation they begin to segment into seven lifestyles within the “Striving Singles” category.

Part Two: Failing at Growing Up