College graduates are moving home, the place they would least like to be. The reason-it's the economy, stupid! Dylan Suher, a recent college graduate defines his moving home as a failure. "The feeling that the natural order of life-that you become an adult and then you leave home-has been disrupted." (New York Times, July 17, 2011, SR, p. 7). But college students are not alone. We live with internal clocks of what is appropriate to do at each age. The late psychologist Bernice Neugarten labeled this your "social clock." We have all heard people say, "I'm too old to still live at home; I am too old to go back to school; I am too old to get divorced; my biological clock is ticking."
Each culture has different sets of timetables for events. Formerly, we predicted when certain transitions would occur: when leave home, marry, have babies, retire, etc. Life no longer follows this linear plan. We live with conflicting realities. It is wonderful that our lives do not follow a rigid plan; however, it is confusing that our lives and futures are not predictable. For example, our expectations about the appropriate time to start a family have clearly changed.The PEW report claimed, "The demography of motherhood in the United States has shifted strikingly in the past two decades. Compared with mothers of newborns in 1990, today's mothers of newborns are older and better educated."