Is it true that today’s 18-year-olds do not want to become adults?

A grandmother and a youth (unrelated) reply to this question, to learn more about each other.

From an adult:
Today’s kids are divided into two categories. The first category are those who are busy and curious because they understand that we are in a moment of crisis that also affects them. These teenagers are looking for a job soon, even while in school; maybe they are doing volunteer work and at the end of school, they already know where they want to go, ready to move out of their homes.

The second category, I believe, are numerous, and consists of teenagers who avoid problems, are pampered by families and not ready for responsibilities. From an early age, they were overprotected or shielded against the difficulties they would later meet.

For these youngsters, who live off their family’s resources, there is no motivation to go it alone to achieve certain goals, because achieving independence is considered being worse off, and is actually so in many cases. Then they go forward as eternal dependents, with parents who support them, even in their inevitable love affairs, maybe even living at home, without any responsibilities. Going it alone, building one’s own life and getting married, sacrificing oneself to get a coveted job, are no longer the desired goals. In our cities, we see groups of young people, not only ages 18 but also 30, well-dressed, often in a restaurant, gym-goers, who pass from one amusement to another.

Some work, others do not, and they are going to join the ranks of the NEET (Not in Education, Employment and Training), that is, of boys and girls who don’t go to school, don’t work and don’t train. We’re talking about “eternal adolescents.” Perhaps the previous generation should make an examination of conscience. Were they able to transmit the values that we received and which give meaning to life? Young people, however, still know how to give of themselves generously to change society for the better, if someone can help them discover the beauty of commitment to others. (Marina Gui)

From a youth:

It’s hard to say what we 18-year-olds want. Surely compared to the past it is harder to accept the passing of time. This may be due to the trust that science imbues us with, to being attracted by beauty and unbridled fun – all characteristics that were less present in the mentality and lives of young people some ten years ago. However, it is not true that we don’t want to grow up.

For example, there is a present dualism in me. On the one hand, I don’t want to grow up, but want to take advantage of my youth, have experiences, take long vacations, travel around, try new things with my friends, and count how many summers I still have before the end of university, for when I start working, there will be much less of these.

On the other hand, however, I am not afraid to become an adult and take my life into my own hands. I am curious and fascinated by what awaits me and what will come. I cannot wait to find a job and do what I like, to make a contribution to society. So I do not believe that the 18 year-olds don’t want to grow up.

Of course we would be delighted to “stop time”, but knowing that I like the life of an 18-year-old, as much as that of a 13-year-old when I was 13, and knowing that I have always been happy as time went by, I’m not worried. I experience joy and curiosity going forward in this wonderful journey that is life. (Marco D ‘Ercole)

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