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Is adulthood just a meme?

The latest meme circulating amongst Gen Z and millennial women perfectly depicts their feelings of being duped by adulthood. Rewriting history isn't something that they shy away from but the huge chasm between their experiences and their Gen X and Boomer parents has never been better articulated than the latest my parents at my age vs me meme.

Millennial and Gen Z women have inherited the value systems and beliefs of Baby Boomers and Gen X which, in the current landscape, are becoming so irrelevant that they’ve left them struggling to find ways to feel like adults. World Economic Forum research, into wealth inequality shows that for Baby Boomers born in the 1940s, 70% were homeowners by the age of 35. For Gen X children of the 1960s, the figure was still 60%, dropping to 50% for today’s millennials.

Our white paper Women at 30 revealed that this is a generation feeling duped:

75% hoped to be financially comfortable by now. Only 22% are.

75% hoped to own their own home. Only 34% do

69% hoped to have a job they love. Only 28% do

68% expected to be engaged or married. Only 41% are

66% hoped for kids. Only 49% have

61% hoped to be doing well in their career. Only 36% are

52% wanted to travel extensively, 19% have

24% wanted to own their own business. Only 5% do

But showing remarkable attitude and spirit, this group doesn’t want to be infantilised and it will soon have to rewrite adulthood so that it can transformed into something achievable.


Creating a revised set of “life milestones” is a solution that is emerging . If this generation can’t achieve the more traditional goals dictated by society – a partner, marriage, a house – they will write their own. It’s a list of attitudinal measures, of things that are less vulnerable to the external flux and uncertainty that this group feel in their lives, from the longtail of pandemic disruption and cost of living pressures to global conflicts and the climate emergency. These are milestones that can be reached when less controllable measures (such as salary and status) fall short. This is adulthood rewritten, by a generation determined to define its own measure of success.  

If you'd like to know more about what these new milestones are please get in touch. And if you'd like to download a free mini report of Women at 30 sign up to our monthly insights newsletter Muse.


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