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【Aeon】90后:成年初期,不想长大

【Aeon】90后:成年初期,不想长大

各国法律不同,但一般在20岁上下都达到了成年的法律年龄。我们的上一代,在20-29岁之间大多已经结婚生子,也有了稳定的工作。而对于如今20-29岁的年轻人来说,工业化的变革、大学教育的普及使得婚育年龄和进入社会的时间线被不断推迟。成年初期,一个新的人生阶段被提出了。处在这个阶段的我们,有时觉得自己好像已经长大了,有时又觉得还没有达到成年的心理年龄。我们一方面努力探寻着自己在这个世间的立足之地,一方面又拒绝被完全社会化。迷茫与抗争,混乱与转机,通向成人的道路迢迢漫漫。对于自我探索的尝试会在这个时期比青少年时期更激烈,但也更具方向。


90后:成年初期,不想长大

【Aeon】90后:成年初期,不想长大

编辑: Brigid Hains

译者:唐萧 & 刘璠

校对:刘蕊

策划:刘璠


Growing-ups

成年初期


本文选自 Aeon | 取经号原创翻译

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Living with your parents, single and with no clear career. Is this a failure to grow up or a whole new stage of life?

单身,和父母同住,无稳定工作。这是成人的悲哀还是生活的新阶段?


I will readily admit, it took me a long time to grow up. I graduated from Michigan State University in 1980 at the age of 23 with a freshly printed bachelor’s degree in psychology and no idea what I really wanted to do. I’d learned to play guitar in college and, intent on avoiding the drudgery of a crummy low-paying job, I now worked up a repertoire of songs large enough to enable me to make money by playing in bars and restaurants. I made enough to live on, but only because I had moved back home with my parents and didn’t have to pay for rent or groceries.

不害臊地说,我花了很久才真正长大成人。1980年刚从密歇根州立大学获取心理学学士学位时,我23岁,还不知道我真正想要的是什么。大学期间,为了不去做那种赚的少又很辛苦的工作,我学了吉他,弹会了很多歌。现在,这成了我的谋生技能。我在酒吧和饭店演奏赚来的钱足够我生活了,但那是因为我搬回去和父母住了,而且不用自己买生活用品。

repertoire /ˈrepətwɑ:(r); NAmE -pərt-/ noun (also formal rep∙er∙tory) all the plays, songs, pieces of music, etc. that a performer knows and can perform (总称某人的)可表演项目


After a couple of years, I entered graduate school in psychology, but even after I got my PhD four years later, I still didn’t really know what I wanted to do. In the romantic department, I was no further along either. I’d had lots of girlfriends by then, but never come close to marriage. Eventually, I did find my way in love and work, but it took many years more: I got my first long-term job (as a professor) at 35, married at 36, and had my kids (twins) at 42.

几年后,我攻读了心理学硕士学位,但即使是四年后取得了博士学位,我依旧不知道自己想做什么。在感情方面,我也停滞不前。那时的我交过很多女朋友,但没有一个能走到谈婚论嫁的地步。我最终还是找到了我珍惜的人、热爱的工作,不过那是很多年以后的事了:35岁时,我当了教授,这是我第一份稳定的工作;36岁,我结婚了;42岁,我才有了自己的孩子——一对双胞胎。


When my research on how young people make their way to adulthood first began, the initial inspiration was my own odyssey. I was in my early 30s and thinking about how long it was taking me – and lots of my peers – to get there. But I have maintained my research focus on these 18- to 29-year-olds because I found they were so rewarding to talk to.

我之所以会开始研究年轻人步入成年的过程,是受到了我自身成长历程的启发。那时我三十出头,思考着我和我的同龄人花了多久时间才完成了自我成长。但在之后的研究中,我的重点一直放在18岁到29岁的人身上,因为我发现,这些对象具有较高的研究价值。

odyssey /ˈɒdəsi; NAmE ˈɑ:d-/ noun [sing.] (literary) a long journey full of experiences 艰苦的跋涉;漫长而充满风险的历程

ORI.From the Odyssey, a Greek poem that is said to have been written by Homer, about the adventures of Odysseus. After a battle in Troy Odysseus had to spend ten years travelling before he could return home. 源自希腊史诗《奥德赛》,相传为荷马所作,描述了奥德修斯在特洛伊战争后,辗转十年返回家园的种种经历。


I had studied adolescents for years before that, mostly high-school students, focusing on their media use and risky behaviours such as driving while intoxicated. I enjoyed this research, but found that adolescents often clammed up when I tried to interview them. They were wary of me – a potentially intrusive adult – but it seemed that they also lacked self-reflection and self-understanding. Their egocentrism prevented them from being able to take a step back and reflect thoughtfully on what they did and why they did it.

在那之前,我在青少年群体的研究方面已有多年经验。我发现,大多数高中生都沉迷于各个媒体平台,还喜欢搞一些危险行为,比如说醉驾。我乐在其中,但我发现,他们常常不愿意接受我的采访。面对我这个突然出现的成年人,他们抱有警惕,但这似乎也表明,他们缺乏自我反思和自我认识的能力。 由于他们以自我为中心,就很难往后退一步,仔细思考自己的行为和行为动机。


But ‘emerging adults’, in the 18-29 age group, did have that ability, and not only those who were college-educated like me. My most memorable interviews were with emerging adults whose experiences were totally different from mine – those who had been in prison, or abused as children, or raised by a drug-addicted single mom. Across the board, I found them to be insightful about what they had experienced and who they were becoming now. It was this insightfulness, expressed with humour and everyday eloquence, that led me to devote my career to understanding them and explaining them to others.

但这些18到29岁的“初入成年者”,即使不像我一样接受过大学教育,也还是能做到这一点。在我的采访对象中,最令我记忆深刻的是那些与我的经历完全不同的人。他们有的坐过牢,有的在儿童时期遭受过虐待,还有的是吸毒成瘾的单身妈妈养大的。他们整体都很清楚自己经历了什么,也明白现在的自己要成为什么样的人。他们表达这些的时候,通透幽默,充满魅力。而正因如此,我决心理解他们,并为他们发声。


Since then, I’ve written two books about this distinct life stage, in part to help emerging adults and their parents understand the longer road to adulthood in America today. I’ve also directed two national surveys, the Clark Poll on Emerging Adults in 2012 and 2013, which have given us a picture of this age group nationwide.

自此以后,我写了两本书,来阐述生命中这一特别的时期。我之所以出书,也是为了帮助这些“初入成年者”和他们的父母明白,在如今的美国,迈入真正的成年要比以前更难。我还分别在2012年和2013年策划了全国范围内的调查,即克拉克大学青年调查,我们从中得以一窥全美青年的大致面貌。


I was to discover, however, that there were many others who didn’t share my warm and benevolent views of emerging adults. Quite the contrary.

但我发现,虽然我对初入成年者报以理解和宽容的态度,但有很多人却并不同意我的想法。他们的态度正与我相反。


In 2004, after a decade of interviewing 18- to 29-year-olds in various parts of the US, I published a book announcing the theory of emerging adulthood as a new life stage between adolescence and adulthood, and summarising what I’d found in my research, on topics ranging from relations with parents to love and sex, education, work and religious beliefs. Prior to publication, TIME magazine told my publisher, Oxford University Press, that they were planning to run a cover story inspired by the book. Naturally, I was excited. However, when the TIME piece came out, it was shockingly bad. The cover photo showed a young man clad in a dress shirt and pants, sitting in a sandbox. Readers were invited to meet today’s young people, ‘who live off their parents, bounce from job to job and hop from mate to mate… THEY JUST WON’T GROW UP’. The text was mostly a lament on their deficiencies and an invitation to ridicule them for taking longer to enter marriage, parenthood and full-time work than their parents or grandparents did.

2004年,我对来自美国各个地方的18到29岁的青年人的采访已经进行了十年了。那时,我出了本书,将成年初期描述为青少年和成人之间的一个人生新阶段。在书中,我还将自己的研究成果浓缩为一系列的主题,包括初入成年者与父母的关系、爱与性、教育、工作和宗教信仰。此书出版前,《时代》杂志告诉出版商牛津大学出版社,他们准备以我的书为依托,就这个话题刊登封面故事。我当然是很兴奋了。但那期杂志刊印出来后,我很震惊。杂志封面是一位穿着正装衬衫和西裤,却坐在沙盒里的男士,配文“当今年轻人——靠父母过活、不停跳槽、不断换伴侣……他们绝不会真正长大。”这段话基本是在嗟叹青年人难以成才,是在鼓励读者嘲笑他们相较于父辈晚婚晚育、工作难以稳定的现状。


Ten years later, I am no longer surprised by this view of emerging adults, but I remain puzzled and dismayed. I have spent a regrettable amount of my time in the past decade playing Whac-A-Mole with the derogatory descriptions that my fellow Americans reflexively apply to emerging adults: they’re lazy, selfish and they never want to grow up. Oh, and they’re worse than ever, certainly worse than the adults now criticising them were in their own youth. Is there any truth to these stereotypes or are they just unfair?

十年后的今天,我已经不会再惊讶于这种观点的存在,但是我依然很是疑惑和沮丧。在过去的十年当中,就像打地鼠游戏一样,我花了相当长的时间不断地驳斥我的同胞不假思索地强加在青年身上的观点:他们懒惰、自私,还老是不想长大。是啊,他们很差劲,绝对比那些现在批评他们的人年轻时候差多了。那么这些刻板印象说的有道理吗?还是说,根本就无道理可言?


One of the most common insults to today’s emerging adults is that they’re lazy. According to this view, young people are ‘slackers’ who avoid work whenever possible, preferring to sponge off their parents for as long as they can get away with it. One of the reasons they avoid real work is that have an inflated sense of entitlement. They expect work to be fun, and if it’s not fun, they refuse to do it.

对初入成年者的一大指责是他们很懒。按照这个说法,年轻人就是抓住一切机会逃避工作的“懒虫”,他们不遗余力地压榨父母。而他们逃避社会工作的一个原因是自身优越感爆棚。在他们的期待中,工作要有意思,而如果这份工作没意思,他们就不干。


It’s true that emerging adults have high hopes for work, and even, yes, a sense of being entitled to enjoy their work. Ian, a 22-year-old who was interviewed for my 2004 book, chose to go into journalism, even though he knew that: ‘If I’m a journalist making $20,000 a year, my dad [a wealthy physician] makes vastly more than that.’ More important than the money was finding a job that he could love. ‘If I enjoy thoroughly doing what I’m doing in life, then I would be better off than my dad.’ Emerging adults enter the workplace seeking what I call identity-based work, meaning a job that will be a source of self-fulfillment and make the most of their talents and interests. They want a job that they will look forward to doing when they get up each morning.

没错,初入成年者们确实对工作有着很高的期待,甚至也觉得享受工作是理所当然的。我2004年出书的时候,采访了当时22岁的Ian,当时他刚选择投身新闻业。虽然他清楚地知道,“就算我一年能赚到两万美金,跟我爸这个富裕内科医师也是没法比的。但比钱更重要的是做一份他自己热爱的工作。“如果我能全身心热爱我所从事的工作,那么我就比我爸更强。”初入成年者希望在劳动市场找到我所称的“基于自我认同的工作”,也就是说这份工作应该能够带来自我成就感,能够将个人才能发挥到极致,并与兴趣匹配。他们希望每天早上唤醒他们的,是对工作的期待。


You might think that this is not a realistic expectation for work, and you are right. But keep in mind it was their parents’ generation, the Baby Boomers, who invented the idea that work should be fun. No one had ever thought so before. Baby Boomers rejected the traditional assumption that work was a dreary but unavoidable part of the human condition. They declared that they didn’t want to spend their lives simply slaving away – and their children grew up in this new world, assuming that work should be meaningful and self-fulfilling. Now that those children are emerging adults, their Baby Boomer parents and employers grumble at their presumptuousness.

你可能觉得这种对工作的期待根本不现实,没错。但你要知道,正是他们的父辈,也就是在婴儿潮出生的那一代人,提出了工作应该有乐趣这个观点。在此之前,根本没人这么想。传统理念认为,工作是生而为人不可避免的一部分苦痛,但婴儿潮这代人反对这一观点,称他们不想让一生被工作束缚。而他们的孩子正是在这种开放的环境中成长起来的,会默认工作本就该是有意义的、能带来成就感的。当孩子们即将步入成年的时候,他们出生在婴儿潮时代的父母和上司们却指责他们的这种正当想法。


So, yes, emerging adults today have high and often unrealistic expectations for work, but lazy? That’s laughably false. While they look for their elusive dream job, they don’t simply sit around and play video games and update their Facebook page all day. The great majority of them spend most of their twenties in a series of unglamorous, low-paying jobs as they search for something better. The average American holds ten different jobs between the ages of 18 and 29, and most of them are the kinds of jobs that promise little respect and less money. Have you noticed who is waiting on your table at the restaurant, working the counter at the retail store, stocking the shelves at the supermarket? Most of them are emerging adults. Many of them are working and attending school at the same time, trying to make ends meet while they strive to move up the ladder. It’s unfair to tar the many hard-working emerging adults with a stereotype that is true for only a small percentage of them.

这样想来,初入成年者确实对工作有着较高甚至是不切实际的期待,但要说他们懒惰,那真是太可笑了。他们在寻找理想工作的同时,并没有足不出户地玩着电脑游戏,或是整天忙着更新自己的Facebook。很多年轻人二十多岁的时候都是一边干着薪水很低的底层工作,一边物色更好的出路。美国人在18到29岁的时候平均每人从事过十份种类不同的工作,而这些工作大多都既赚不到钱,又不受人尊重。你在餐厅吃饭的时候可曾留意过桌边的服务生?或是买东西时柜台的收银员?或是逛超市时的理货员?他们大部分都是年轻人。而很多还是一边上学一边打工。他们在努力向上爬的过程中也在独立维持生计。因此,粗暴地给初入成年者们贴上懒惰的标签是不公平的,因为懒惰的只是少数,大部分是很努力的。


Is striving for identity-based work only for the middle class and the wealthy, who have the advantages in American society? Yes and no. The aspiration stretches across social classes: in the national Clark poll, 79 per cent of 18- to 29-year-olds agreed that: ‘It is more important for me to enjoy my job than to make a lot of money,’ and there were no differences across social class backgrounds (represented by mother’s education). However, the reality is quite different from the aspiration. Young Americans from lower social class backgrounds are far less likely than those from higher social backgrounds to obtain a college education and, without a college degree, jobs of any kind are scarce in the modern information-based economy. 

那么,在美国社会中,只有处于优势地位的中产阶级和富人阶层会在工作中寻求自我认同吗?也是也不是。希望在工作中寻得自我认同感的想法在全社会范围内都很常见:克拉克大学调查表明,18至29岁的年轻人中,有79%都认为,“我觉得在工作中,喜欢比挣钱更重要”。无论他们来自何种社会阶层,在这点上的想法都是一样的(此处的阶层以采访对象的母亲的教育背景为准)。但现实情况并非如此。相较于社会背景较好的美国年轻人,出身较差的年轻人享受大学教育的机会较少,而在信息化的现代经济中,没受过大学教育就很难找到工作。



Another widespread slur against emerging adults is that they are selfish. Some American researchers – most notoriously Jean Twenge, a professor at San Diego State University and a well-known writer and speaker – claim that young people today have grown more ‘narcissistic’ compared with their equivalents 30 or 40 years ago. This claim is based mainly on surveys of college students that show increased levels of self-esteem. Today’s students are more likely than in the past to agree with statements such as: ‘I am an important person.’

另一个私底下关于初入成年者的批评是,他们很自私。一些美国学者宣称,今天的年轻人相较于30或40年前他们的同龄人来说更为“自恋”。这些言论中,最为人熟知的要属圣地亚哥大学教授、知名作家和演讲人Jean Twenge。这样的言论主要是基于对如今日渐显现出较高自尊心的大学生的调查而得出的。如今的学生相比过去的学生,对于“我很重要”这样的表态更可能表示出赞同。


With this stereotype, too, there is a grain of truth that has been vastly overblown. It’s probably true that most emerging adults today grow up with a higher level of self-esteem than in previous generations. Their Baby Boomer parents have been telling them from the cradle onward: ‘You’re special!’ ‘You can be whatever you want to be!’ ‘Dream big dreams!’ and the like. Popular culture has reinforced these messages, in movies, television shows and songs. Well, they actually believed it. In the national Clark poll, nearly all 18- to 29-year-olds (89 per cent) agreed with the statement: ‘I am confident that eventually I will get what I want out of life.’

带着这样的偏见,事实就会被无限放大。的确,如今大多数初入成年者相比上一代拥有较高的自尊心。他们生于婴儿潮时期的父母从他们襁褓时期起就不断告诉他们:“你是最特别的!”“你可以成为任何你想成为的人。”“梦想要大。”……电影、电视节目、歌曲等流行文化又强化了这种信息。是的,事实上他们相信这种说法。在克拉克大学的全国测试中,几乎所有18岁到29岁的人(89%)都同意这种说法:“我充分相信最后我会得到我想要的生活。”


But – and this is the key point – that doesn’t mean they’re selfish. It certainly doesn’t mean they are a generation of narcissists. It simply means that they are highly confident in their abilities to make a good life for themselves, whatever obstacles they might face. Would we prefer that they cringed before the challenges of adulthood? I have come to see their high self-esteem and confidence as good psychological armour for entering a tough adult world. Most people get knocked down more than once in the course of their 20s, by love, by work, by any number of dream bubbles that are popped by rude reality. High self-esteem is what allows them to get up again and continue moving forward. For example, Nicole, 25, grew up in poverty as the oldest of four children in a household with a mentally disabled mother and no father. Her goals for her life have been repeatedly delayed or driven off track by her family responsibilities. Nevertheless, she is pursuing a college degree and is determined to reach her ultimate goal of getting a PhD. Her self-belief is what has enabled her to overcome a chaotic childhood full of disadvantages. ‘It’s like, the more you come at me, the stronger I’m going to be,’ she told me when I interviewed her for my 2004 book.

关键在于,这并不意味着他们就是自私的。也不是说这一代就是自恋的一代。这只是意味着,不管会面临怎样的困难,他们对于自己创造美好生活的能力都具有高度自信。如果他们在生活的挑战面前退缩了,难道这是我们所愿意看到的吗?我已经看到了他们较高的自尊和自信,这是进入成人世界坚实的心理盔甲。大多数人在他们20多岁的时候都不止一次地被生活所击倒。有时是因为爱情,有时是因为工作,有时是因为梦想的泡沫在残酷的现实面前破碎。高自尊可以帮助他们重新站立起来并继续前行。比如,25岁的Nicole成长于一个贫困的单亲家庭,母亲是精神疾病患者。Nicole是家中四个孩子的老大。由于肩负家庭重任,她的人生目标不断地被延迟被耽误。然而,她现在正在攻读本科学位并立志获得博士学位。她的自信就是她能够不断克服童年不幸困境的秘诀。我在2004年写书的时候采访了她。她告诉我,“生活越残酷,我生越坚强。”

cringe /krɪndʒ/ verb [V] to move back and/ or away from sb because you are afraid 畏缩;怯退 SYNCOWER 


The ‘selfish’ slur also ignores how idealistic and generous-hearted today’s emerging adults are. In the national Clark poll, 86 per cent of 18- to 29-year-olds agreed that: ‘It is important to me to have a career that does some good in the world.’ And it is not just an idealistic aspiration: they are, in fact, more likely to volunteer their time and energy for serving others than their parents did at the same age, according to national surveys by the US Higher Education Research Institute.

关于“自私”的谴责同样忽视了如今的初入成年者是富有理想和爱心的一个群体。在克拉克大学的全国测试中,86%的18岁到29岁的人认为:“从事一份对社会有用的事业,对我来说很重要。”这并不仅仅是一种空想主义:事实上,根据美国高等教育研究所的全国调查,相比父辈年轻时候,他们服务他人所奉献的时间和精力更多。


As for the claim that they never want to grow up, it’s true that entering the full range of adult responsibilities comes later than it did before, in terms of completing education and entering marriage and parenthood. Many emerging adults are ambivalent about adulthood and in no hurry to get there. In the national Clark poll, 35 per cent of 18- to 29-year-olds agreed with the statement: ‘If I could have my way, I would never become an adult.’ That’s not a majority, but it’s a lot, and that 35 per cent is probably the basis of the stereotype.

至于说到他们从来不想长大,有一点是真的:就完成学业、进入婚姻、成为父母这些方面而言,现今完全进入成人阶段、履行成人责任的年龄线确实被推迟了。许多初入成年者对于完全长大持有矛盾的情绪,因此并不着急着到达。在克拉克大学的全国测试中,35%的18岁到29岁的人同意这样的观点:“如果可以,我宁愿永远不长大。”抱有这样想法的人不算大多数,但也不少。人们很可能就是基于这35%的比例才产生了“现在的年轻人永远不想长大”的刻板印象。

ambivalent /æmˈbɪvələnt/ adj. ~ (about/ towards sb/ sth) having or showing both good and bad feelings about sb/ sth (忧喜参半、好坏参半等)矛盾情绪的


Adulthood is full of onerous responsibilities, as all of us who have been there for a while know well: going to work every day, making the meals, keeping the household reasonably clean and orderly, paying the bills. It doesn’t look like a whole lot of fun to most young people. Gerard, a guitarist and singer in a rock band, told me that, at 27: ‘I feel like I’m kind of teetering on the brink of adulthood, you know. I guess in some ways I feel like it and other ways I don’t. I associate being an adult with being really boring, and I just don’t feel quite that boring yet.’

成人世界满是艰巨的责任。谁不是甫一涉足便清楚地感受到,这意味着每天都要上班,做饭,保持房间整洁有序,支付账单。对大多数年轻人来说,这完全不有趣。27岁的某摇滚乐队的吉他手兼主唱Gerard对我说,“我感觉自己正在成人的边缘徘徊。有时候我觉得我长大不错,但有时候我觉得不是这样。我觉得做一个大人很无聊,但是目前我还没有觉得那么无聊。”


Despite their ambivalence, by the age of 30 the great majority of emerging adults have a marriage partner, at least one child, and a stable long-term job. Most of the rest will reach these milestones some time in their early 30s. So, it’s not true that they never grow up. Most of them just don’t want to take on the yoke of adult responsibilities in their early 20s. They would rather use the flexibility of their 20s for the kinds of exploration they couldn’t have pursued when they were younger, and won’t be able to do later – go to a different part of the country or the world to live for a while, try to break in to a glamorous but long-shot profession such as music or acting, or simply work in a low-pay, low-stress job for a while and have a lot of fun with friends. They want to make use of their freedom while they have the chance. That’s not contemptible, it’s wise, and we don’t give them enough credit for their wisdom. By age 30, nearly all of them are more than ready to trade their footloose freedom for the rewards of enduring bonds to others.

不管多么矛盾,在30岁的时候,大多数曾经的初入成年者都已经结婚了,至少有了一个孩子,还有了一份长期稳定的工作。在剩下的人里面,大多数也会在刚过30岁的那几年到达这些人生里程碑。所以,并不是他们永远不会长大。大多数人只是不想在20多岁的时候就被套上这些成人枷锁。他们宁可用20多岁的自由时光去探索他们在年少或以后的时光里都未能和不能探索的事物——去一个不同的地方居住一段时间;或者是开始学习一个很炫但不大可能作为职业的技能,比如音乐或者表演;或者从事低薪低压力的工作一段时间,以便可以和朋友们享受美好生活。他们想在还有机会的时候享受自由。这并不是,反而是一种明智。但我们并没有因为他们的这种智慧而赞扬他们。到30岁的时候,几乎全部的年轻人都会乐意用这种行动无拘的自由去换取与他人之间辛苦但快乐的联结。

contemptible /kənˈtemptəbl/ adj. (formal) not deserving any respect at all 可轻蔑的;可鄙的;卑劣的 SYNDESPICABLE 



People who are scornful of today’s emerging adults might see themselves as trying to wake them up and make them more responsible, but how helpful is this approach, really? Is ridicule likely to make young people more inclined to accept a dead-end job? Will hostility motivate them to become productive members of society?

对初入成年者抱以轻视的人可能会认为自己正在试图唤醒他们,让他们变得更有责任感,但是这样的方式真的有效吗?嘲笑会使年轻人向一份没有前途的工作低头么?敌意会促使年轻人转变成为对社会有用的一员么?


Not likely. An opened door promises a lot better results than a smack upside the head. It’s in the interest of all of us to help young people make a successful transition to adulthood, because when they do, everybody benefits. Emerging adults want to contribute to their societies, not be passive dependents. Nearly all of them are striving hard to make their way in the world, and they aspire to find a form of work that does some good in the world. But their societies are not doing a very good job in reforming educational and employment systems for the modern world, in order to make it possible for young people to make the most of their talents, abilities and energies. The lack of access to high-quality educational opportunities is a scandal in a country such as the United States, which is the wealthiest the world has ever seen. It represents a colossal waste of human potential.

这几乎是不可能的。开放包容比起当头一棒要来得有效的多。帮助年轻人成功地完成从青年向成人的转变,与我们每个人都是息息相关的。因为当他们能够很好地完成这个转变的时候,整个社会都会受益。初入成年者愿意为社会做贡献,而不是做消极的依赖者。几乎每一个人都在努力地寻找自己在这个世界上的道路,并且立志找到一份能够对社会有帮助的工作。但是社会在改革教育和用工体系以适应现代社会这方面并没有做的很好,没能通过这种改革来帮助年轻人尽可能地发挥他们的天赋、能力和精力。美国是世界上最富有的国家,在这里,缺乏高质量教育机会可谓是一种丑闻,是一种对人的潜能的巨大浪费。

colossal /kəˈlɒsl; NAmE kəˈlɑ:sl/ adj. extremely large 巨大的;庞大的


One concrete goal should be to make tertiary education a universal entitlement in the 21st century, just as secondary education became an entitlement in the 20th century, and primary education in the 19th century. I say ‘tertiary education’ instead of ‘college’, because it might take a wide range of forms, from university to occupational training programmes. One way or another, in the 21st-century economy young people need something beyond secondary school to prepare them for the workplace. 

切实可行的目标是把高等教育作为21世纪的一种普遍的权利,就像中等教育和初等教育分别在20世纪和19世纪成为一种权利一样。我说的是“高等”教育,而不是“大学”教育,因为我认为“高等”教育可以是多种形式的,从大学到职业教育计划等。不管怎样,在21世纪经济中,年轻人需要接受比中等教育更高的教育,以适应工作的需求。



It will take some time to make the transition to universal tertiary education, but meanwhile, there’s something else that parents, employers and other adults can and should provide to emerging adults: patience and support. Becoming an adult is a struggle. In the national Clark poll, 72 per cent of 18- to 29-year-olds agreed that: ‘This time of my life is stressful.’ The last thing they need as they navigate their way forward is antipathy from older people. Parents should not hesitate to support their kids during emerging adulthood, emotionally and financially, if they are able, as long as the kids are pursuing a capital-P Plan with diligence. Recognising that there is a new life stage of emerging adulthood that extends through most of the 20s, in which instability and uncertainty are normative, can help adults relax a little when young people seem to be moving forward on that Plan at a slower pace than they expected.

过渡到普及高等教育可能需要一段时间,但还有一点是家长、老板和其他成人应该为年轻人做的:耐心和支持。成为一名大人是需要经历挣扎的。在克拉克大学的全国测试中,有72%的19岁-29岁的年轻人认为:“我人生中的这段时间是充满压力的。”来自长辈的敌意不是指引他们人生道路的方式。只要孩子辛勤地追寻着他们的头文字P计划,家长们就需要毫不犹豫地在这段时间里支持他们,无论是在情感上还是经济上。认识到有一种叫做成年初期的新的人生阶段会贯穿孩子的整个20岁生涯。这个阶段中,不稳定和不确定是一种常态。当孩子的成长速度不如预期时,这种认知可以帮助家长们略微缓解一下心情。


The origins of the many prejudices against today’s emerging adults are complex, but maybe one key reason is that many of their elders still use old yardsticks to measure their progress. The pace of social, economic and technological change over the past half-century has been mind-boggling, and what is ‘normal’ among young people has changed so fast that the rest of society has not yet caught up. Many observers are still finding them wanting if they are not married and settled into a stable job by age 23 or 25, even though that would be unusually early by today’s standards. Understanding that a new life stage of emerging adulthood is now typical between adolescence and young adulthood, and that it is a time when change and instability is the norm, will help make it possible to ease up on the negative stereotypes and learn to appreciate their energy, their creativity, and their zest for life.

这种针对当代年轻人的偏见,其根源是复杂的。但是一个可能的关键因素是很多大人仍然使用旧的标准在衡量年轻人的进步。过去半个世纪中,社会、经济和技术变革的速度令人咋舌。对于年轻人来说,“正常”的标准也一直在变,而这个社会还没有跟上。对于23岁或者25岁还没有结婚或者还没有一份稳定工作的年轻人,很多研究者依然认为他们是不健全的一代。即使按照如今的标准来看,这个年龄是有些过分早了。我们需要知道,如今还有成年初期这样一个介于青少年和成人之间的新的人生阶段普遍存在。这个时代,变化和不稳定才是常态。这种认知会帮助社会缓解对青年人的负面偏见,学着去肯定他们的活力、创造力和对生命的热忱。

wanting /ˈwɒntɪŋ; NAmE ˈwɑ:n-; ˈwɔ:n-/ adj. [not before noun] ~ (in sth) (formal) not good enough 欠缺;不够好;不令人满意


*因全文较长,故进行了删减。删减部分主要是概括了当代美国青年所呈现出的优于上一代年轻人的品质。比如:犯罪率呈现出降低的趋势,更具有世界公民意识,更愿意从事志愿工作,对于种族和性取向的态度也更包容等。


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【Aeon】90后:成年初期,不想长大

<原文链接:https://aeon.co/essays/still-living-with-your-parents-don-t-you-want-to-grow-up>

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