“I just don’t think I’m ready to get married, have kids, and do all that. She and I are still learning to adult,” said a friend of mine the other day. He and his girlfriend have been together for several years, are both in their late 20s, and enjoyed steady employment.
Although trivial and mundane, this statement offers some important insights into today’s culture, particularly regarding the present fertility crisis. While demographers have cited economic or environmental motives for refusing to have kids, the matter may be much simpler: today’s adults are just not ready for adulthood. People in their 20s and 30s do not want to take on responsibility, make commitments, or work hard.
Besides not having children, they will often avoid other “adult” things like owning a house, working long hours, and even keeping up steady friendships, let alone getting married. These things are too hard, and they’re not ready to take them on quite yet. First, they have to travel the world, earn a graduate degree, and binge-watch The Office for the umpteenth time.