"Claim your adulthood now!"
Thursday, May 15, 2014
Why 30 Is Not the New 20
Meg Jay, a clinical psychologist who has specialized herself in people in their twenties, made a very interesting speech at TedTalk, which is today's theme. Her message basically is that you don't have to wait your thirties to do something with yourself. It's not because you have great future plans for when you grow up, that you have to waste a decade of your life with what we call "having fun". Having fun is great, but isn't just for 20 something people, it's for everybody, and responsibility works the same way around! She begins her speech with a little introduction about her very first counselling and how she thought that it didn't really matter what her first patient, a girl in her 20s, did with her life or who she dated, because she still had so much time to figure life for herself. Her supervisor told her that now was the time to work on the patient, and on her future marriage. Your twenties is the time you get to develop yourself and prepare for your future. And I'm not only talking about education. She has decided to specialise in young people in their twenties because she's a firm believer that that's a decisive moment that will have direct consequences on their lives. And actually, data seems to point towards the same way.
She says that about 80% of the big changes in someone's life occur before 35 years old. So, if there's something that you want to change your life, now is the time to do it. She says that "your twenties are the time to educate yourself. About your body, and your options." Twenties is the critical moment of adult development. Yet, this isn't what we get to hear, is it? We hear things that imply that right now the later you're responsible, the better. We see TV reality shows like Jersey Shore, who stage people in their 20s and 30s who don't do anything with their lives, and who are rewarded for it. The media always seems to devalue 20 somethings achievements, once they learn the person is that young, as if they were not that good because of the person's age. What is it then that my generation is hearing? Well, it is a both infantilizing and comforting music that says that we're too young to achieve anything so why bother, twenties in the time to have fun and be dumb and party anyway! Hum...
The problem with that is that these infantilizing comments are internalized by a whole generation who's been patted on the head, and lead to think that now is not the time. Doesn't that sound much like procrastination? How surprising that the ones encouraging this aren't the youngsters, but the rest of the society! No wonder that the media so happily shouts that the new generations have no sense of responsibility whatsoever and so delightfully shames it, and consciously or unconsciously, puts its own generation above.
So, to help us out, Meg Jay gives us three tips:
1) Get some identity capital: Do something that adds value to who you are and who you might want to be next. Now is the time to try out all your dreams and possibilities, and explore your wishes and your potential. "Explore work and make it count!"
2) Don't limit yourself to the same circle of people you know! You limit your potential friends, ideas, opportunities, exploration, development, etc. Try to hang out with people from different background than you, be it from another age, from another culture, another faith, another language, another political view, etc. It will automatically shape "how you will think, speak and where you work"
3) You actually can choose your family! Maybe not the one you were born into, but surely the one you will create. She says that the time to pick your family is now. Now don't misinterpret that! Don't rush into precipitated choices that you'll probably regret! Thirties is a great time to settle down because you've become yourself, and you're mature enough to handle your life properly. What she means is that we should all be intentional in all our acts from our twenties, and with those great intentions we'll spend a decade trying out people, jobs, ideas, everything really, and we'll surely be ready to handle our lives in our thirties, since we'll already have a great deal of experience with life! "Consciously choose who and what you want, rather than just making it work or killing time with whoever happens to be chosing you!"
Here is her Tedtalk speech that I hope you'll find inspiring!
Have a great day, and keep your mind sharp!