In recent years a new verb has become part of our popular lexicon. Adult. As in, how to adult. As millennials graduate and move away from the world of academia, it is becoming increasingly difficult to gauge whether we are busy making progress or just busy.

In previous generations the goalposts by which adults judged their relative success or failure in life were clear and easily discernible. Marriage. Home ownership. Children. Promotions at work. Acquiring or failing to acquire these things told us whether we were adulting properly, or merely wasting time. But the goalposts have moved. The economic and social fabric of society has become much more porous and dynamic. Buying a home is no longer the aspiration of all young people, and in any event it may never be possible. Fewer than 40% of millennials see climbing the corporate ladder as a career aspiration. And young people are delaying marriage and children or forgoing them altogether.

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Written by Jameka Neil