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Generation LIMBO

Illustrations by Shonagh Rae

Millions of young people were busy creating their adult lives a year ago. Then suddenly their hopes and dreams were locked down. Chanté Joseph meets some of them and hears how their futures have been altered — possibly forever

With ‘30 under 30’ lists, schemes designed for 18-25-year-olds and constant celebrations of the ‘youngest ever’ to achieve success in a given field, it’s easy to believe that if your life isn’t heading towards success or you aren’t already successful during your 20s, you are pretty much failing. In fact, for most of us, the markers of adulthood are racing out of reach, our youth feeling increasingly prolonged despite us getting older.

People cannot afford to buy homes, they’re getting married later if at all, and job insecurity coupled with stagnating wages is making it challenging to plan ahead.

For many in their late teens and 20s, the pandemic has hugely intensified this notion of infantilisation; we are now witnessing a generation of 19-29-year-olds whose lives have been brought to a standstill by Covid-19. Underpinned by the cruel irony of giving up so much for a virus that affects them the least, what consequence will this sense of limbo have going forward on those now at the genesis of adulthood?

“I was meant to move to England and begin my transition last June, but I’m still stuck at home. I’m not out to my parents, so it’s been really tough. I’m stuck in limbo basically”
- Ciara

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“It’s depressing. I know you shouldn’t compare, we all know that, but it’s hard not to. This is not where I thought I’d be”
- nuna

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“My life plan totally derailed overnight, and I didn’t know where to start. The pandemic made it worse because I felt stuck waiting to carry on with my life but couldn’t”
- Nicci

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