08/26/2014 02:10 pm ET Updated Oct 26, 2014

What to Expect: The Third Decade

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By now, your millennial has left the nest. Well, maybe. They might be in college or starting their first job. They may still come home on weekends for laundry and reassurance. In the third decade of life, many exciting changes are emerging in your millennial's life. Remember, however, that your millennial is maturing in a world very different from the one you came of age in, so these developmental milestones are just guidelines. Here are some important milestones to anxiously await.

By the third decade, your millennial is probably:

  • Able to live independently for the first time
  • Comfortable starting the coffee pot by themselves, though they still may prefer your help.
  • Interested in sexual relations with people after drinking a lot of alcohol.
  • Interested in sexual relations with people when they have been drinking only a little alcohol.
  • Interested in sexual relationships when they are sober.
  • Questioning whether or not it is justifiable to accept a job offer that includes free donuts.
  • Coming to your house on the weekends to do laundry, because they may be suffering social anxiety about going to the laundromat because what if they run out of quarters?
By the third decade, your millennial should:
  • Be accepting of people whose ideas are different from them (some people do not acquire this skill until they are in their fourth or fifth decades. Other have a congenital absence of this ability).
  • Be comfortable making choices about the foods that make up their meals (even if it's ramen. Every night. For two months).
  • Have conversations that are almost devoid of "like" and "awesome."
  • Be able to execute a firm handshake (palms may still be sweaty at this age, this is normal)
  • Have a general sense of their likes and dislikes
  • Be able to identify other's preferences by asking thoughtful questions and actively listening to their response (prior editions included this in the chapter "The Elementary School Years," but it has since been extended).
  • Fold a map.
  • Ask someone to help them fold a map in a calm, collected voice.
By the third decade, advanced millennials can:
  • Balance a checkbook.
  • Have an enlightened conversation with their parents or adult mentors about what a checkbook is and why someone would need to balance it.
  • Cook a meal with real food that they bought at the store with their own money.
  • Change a tire.
  • Overcome their social anxiety long enough to place a call to AAA to have someone come change their tire.
  • Make coffee for more than one person (gifted millennials may already own their own set of mugs, but normal development states that to-go cups are okay).
  • Form a relationship that is based on mutual respect.
  • Form a relationship that is based on mutual sexual attraction.
  • Engage in a fictional, unrequited relationship with a fictional character wherein the attraction is entirely one-sided.
  • Update multiple social media platforms simultaneously while under the guise that you are checking the weather.
  • Actually check the weather so they know how to dress.
  • Remember, all millennials will mature at their own rate. External influences may hasten or delay their development. It's important to love and care for your millennial no matter what stage they are in and understand that while they may be delayed in some areas, they are likely also excelling in others.

You may also want to be on the look out for signs and symptoms of an impending Quarter-Life Crisis. Typically occurring around the age of 25, this self-limiting condition has a few hallmark symptoms:

  • Bathtub crying.
  • Excessive, unkempt facial hair.
  • Coffee addiction.
  • Inability to make decisions about future.
  • Writing impassioned, open-letters to politicians.
  • Weeping into cereal bowl.
  • Weeping into soup bowl.
  • Weeping into the bowl they are smoking weed out of.
  • Bong-weeping.
  • Bong-laughing.
  • More bong-weeping.
  • A sudden interest in craft beer.
  • A sudden, intense interest in deviant poets.
  • A decrease in interest in things that used to bring them pleasure.
  • Dry mouth.
  • A decreased tolerance for peer's bullshit.
  • Obsessively looking at Petfinder.
  • Obsessive tweeting #mylife.
  • Hyperventilation.
  • Decreased tolerance for alcohol (not uncommonly matched with an increased intake of alcohol).
  • Increased intake of processed food.
  • Guilt.
  • New appreciation for mason jars.
  • Confusion.
  • Apathy.
  • Diarrhea.

There is currently no treatment for a Quarter-Life Crisis, but studies show that big blankets, tea and Netflix marathons are proven to lessen symptoms.