In Praise of a Misspent Youth: Are 20-somethings too serious, too young?

When I graduated from college, I went to the Tenafly Public Library and found a book that listed all the names of book and magazine publishing companies in New York. (Yes, there really was something like that back in the old days, kids!) I had my resume printed on some nice thick paper. Using my dad’s Apple 2E, I wrote some cover letters and folded everything up in an envelope, stamped, and mailed it out. I only got as far as the B’s in that publishing book, because Brady Books, the computer book imprint for Simon and Schuster, hired me as an editorial assistant for $15,500 per year. 

That low-paying, but fascinating job was just one of the gigs that I did in my 20’s, while juggling graduate school classes in highly impractical topics — The Political Thought of Max Weber! Rational Marxism! I always had enough for a cheap apartment in a semi-safe part of New York City or Chicago. I went to a lot of parties, and had a lot of fun. My husband was living a similar life throughout his 20s in Cleveland and later in New York City, when we finally met at the end of our 20s. We didn’t buckle down and get serious about 401K plans and proper careers until our mid-30s and didn’t buy our first house until our late 30’s. 

But talking to young people and their parents today, I am often shocked by their deep conservatism.

Read more at my newsletter, Apt. 11D