Friday, August 05, 2005

First the Twixters, Now the Yeppies

So we've got another trendy label for 20somethings who are unsure about how they fit into the grown-up world. First it was Twixters and now we have Yeppies. As with Gen X, Gen Y, and NextGen, I think these new names tend to be rather dumb and not particularly illuminating. Despite the superfluous label, Kate Fox has done some interesting research on how young adults are approaching their lifestyles, and it's been picked up by news outlets in the U.K.:

The Yeppies* shop around for ideal life
"'Yeppies are unsure how to achieve their ambitions so they experiment through a shopping-style approach, trying to find the perfect job, the ideal relationship and the most fulfilling lifestyle.'

They postpone big, life-altering decisions until they feel they have exhausted all their options. 'It will be increasingly regarded as normal for young people to continue "Life Shopping" well into their late twenties and thirties. The way things are going, by 2012 thirty will be the new twenty as the "official" age for transition to adulthood; people getting married in their twenties will be regarded as too young or too immature to make such a big decision,' Fox said."

Since When Did Work Bring You Happiness?
"These days, we expect to actively enjoy our work, and feel that we have failed if enjoyment is not forthcoming. Ever since the Sixties, we have had it drummed into us that we are entitled -- even obliged -- to seek personal fulfillment in every aspect of our lives."

Those of you who have been following my meandering through the study of lifestyle choices already know why this stuff fires me up. Much of what I've outlined here is in the realm of the theoretical, as in "people might be generally happier with their decisions if they thought about their lifestyles as a whole, rather than looking at them in isolation (job change)." What these articles indicate is that people are already attempting to do so (practising lifestylism?), perhaps with mixed success. I'm excited about the idea of creating tools for these people (and others who haven't really been thinking this way yet) to help them envision better (more authentic, meaningful, productive) future lifestyles that manifest their values.


Jeremy said...

From another article:

"Just as they might browse the shops or flick through the pages of a lifestyle magazine, the yeppie likes to shop around when choosing jobs, careers, homes, identities and relationships. By trying on an assortment of different jobs and lifestyles, the yeppie wants to be flexible enough to change direction or to hit the reverse pedal when things do not work out. And he or she is happy to postpone all adult decisions until completely satisfied that all the options have been exhausted."

Anonymous said...

The trouble with delaying adulthood is that, at present, we only live to 70 something and it takes a few decades to bring up children and, for the sake of the children's health, its best to do this relatively early.

Jeremy said...

That's a good point, Ian. If the trend toward extending adolescence goes even further, it will start reducing the "productive" years of adulthood...although I suppose improvements in health later in life might make up for that difference. Doesn't it seem like 50 and 60 year-olds are a lot younger than they appeared to be 20 years ago? Maybe I'm just getting older...

Anonymous said...

Yes, because 70 years is the blink of an eye. If you have no children to raise, you have those 20-30 years to devote yourself to doing things that you enjoy. Call it irresponsible, but I have one shot to make my time on this planet bearable, so I'm going to strive to only do things that I want to do.

Jeremy said...

I don't think it's irresponsible at all to not have children -- I hope some of those biases disappear altogether in our generation. The idea that it is "selfish" to focus on your own goals and dreams through the prime of your life is really absurd when you think about it.

Within hip, single, urban scenes, there also seems to be a sort of reverse discrimination against people who do choose to have kids, as if they're mindless breeders with no creativity for self-actualization.