Please note well, young people and anyone that knows young people – 30 is not the new 20.
We always hear is that our twenties are the time to “live it up” and make stupid mistakes without concern for the future, because you can start caring and changing when you hit your thirties.
Yeh, that would be incorrect.
As clinical psychologist Meg Jay points out in her newly released TED talk, the media and our ways of thinking have it seriously wrong. And it’s the young people that lose out, as they make decisions that will affect their lives more than they realise.
I’ll let Jay speak for herself in the above video, but will give you her main points. Since people are advancing career-wise and settling down later in life, the twenties are seen as a bit of a “developmental downtime”. In truth however, this decade is a “developmental sweet spot” which will impact on later life, in the same way that early childhood experiences can have long-term results. It’s in the time that your brain has its second and last growth spurt, which rewires it for adulthood.
Jay points out that claiming your twenties is one of the most transformative things that you can do. There are three main parts to this that she calls building identity capital, making use of weak ties and picking your family.
Building identity capital: Jay puts this as forgetting your “identity crisis” and doing things that add value to your identity and your future. This is such great advice! In my head, it translates to getting out of a self-obsessed mind-frames and taking the time to serve others as well as the wider community. Once people live more like this, they not only “add value” to their lives but will also become so much happier!
Making use of weak ties: Jay describes this as not always sticking to your inner circle of friends, but making an effort with other connections that we have. Life is about networking to a certain degree, and you never know who you could meet or what job contacts you could make through being open to new people.
Picking your family: Jay points out that after years of somewhat meaningless and impermanent relationships, people in their thirties suddenly notice that others are getting married and so do the same with whoever they are dating or living with at that moment. She also points out that this should not be done! The best time to prepare for your marriage is before it; this is the time of your life when you can pick your family, so do so wisely, looking for someone that will stick by you and has a similar life outlook.