I was recently scrolling through Facebook when I stumbled upon a link for a Ted Talk that two of my friends had posted. The title said “Why 30 is not the new 20” and naturally, as a curious 21-year-old, it caught my attention. I watched the 15 minute video to find out why 30 is not the new 20 and felt truly inspired by the end of the video.
You might want to brace yourself for the news I’m about to tell you… People are WASTING their 20′s! Who would have thought? According to the speaker, Meg Jay, these days people are starting a career later, getting married and having kids later, their even dying later (it’s a little morbid, but it’s true!). The fact of the matter is, for some reason, people think that you have nothing but time in your 20′s when the reality is that you don’t. Just because people are settling down later doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be working on yourself in your 20′s; if anything it should be the time when you’re working on yourself the most. When you neglect working on yourself in your 20′s, you will suffer the consequences later in life, in everything from your love life to your career.
Here’s something you might want to know, 15% of the population is in their 20′s, but as Jay puts it technically it’s 100% of the population. You can’t get to adulthood without going through your 20′s. She says that claiming your 20′s is the simplest and most transformative thing you can do in your life. Here’s why: 80% of life’s most defining moments happen by age 35, the first ten years of a career have a huge impact on how much you’re going to earn, and more than half of Americans are either married, dating, or living with their future partner by the time they’re 30. When you really take a look at the ten years you spend in your 20′s, you realize how much happens in that short period of time.
Researchers and newspapers are saying that the 20′s are an extended adolescence but really they are the defining years of adulthood. By telling 20-somethings that they have ten extra years to start their life, it basically robs them of their ambition to do anything worth doing in their 20′s. If you don’t take control of your life in your 20′s, you’re rushing to get a career, a marriage, and a family started all at once by the time you get to your 30′s. That’s a lot of pressure!
So the advice that Meg Jay gives to her audience is take control of your 20′s. She says you can do that in three ways: 1. Stop having an identity crisis and start creating identity capital (aka, do something that adds value to your life), 2. Urban ties are overrated (aka break out of your inner circle of friends), and finally you need to start picking your family now because you should be as intentional with your love life as you are with your work.
If there’s one thing you can learn from this it’s that 30 is not the new 20! Seriously… take control of your 20′s because it’s the best time of your life. Why wouldn’t you want to make it count? Leave us a comment and tell us how you’re making your 20′s count!
Ariel Schiller/ CW44 Tampa Bay