George Will writes about boys who won't become men in this week's Newsweek. George decries the fact that the median age at which boys marry or leave home is going up. He makes some good points but misses the context of extended boyhood: we're living longer.
Life expectancy goes up about 3 months a year. This works out to about 2.5 years per decade or about 5 to 7 years per generation.
So, let's say that we still left home and married at 14, as people did only a century or so ago when life expectancy was about 40-some years. Is that really how much preparation we want them to have for work and parenting? Do we expect 14 year olds to choose who they'll be married to at 85?
If the next generation gets married two years later than their dads and then retires four years later than their dads, they'll still end up married and retired for longer than their dads. That is what happens when life expectancy goes up each generation.
It is not just old age that now lasts longer. So does youth. That life stages - from youth to middle age to old age - would all extend for longer as life itself lasts longer makes every kind of sense to me. But I guess saying that wouldn't make for a very interesting column.