30 is NOT the new 20: An Introspective Take on the Defining Decade

Don’t be defined by what you didn’t know or didn’t do, your deciding your life right now.”

– Meg Jay, PhD

20

               Stagnation is not a sign of progression, but a depiction of procrastination. Any information that supports a delay in development and self-growth is not advice of benefit, but of destruction. As a God-created being of the universe it is our right to move forward in life towards the acquisition of new opportunities, experiences, and relationships. The concept of having a decade – a ten year period of life- to partake in aimless and meaningless behavior is absolutely absurd and out of the question. The phrase “30 is the new 20,” stands out to me as a detrimental falsehood, that in the era of the new millennium is sometimes treated as truth. In a recent TED Talk, executed by psychologist Dr. Meg Jay, she talks about the definitive factors of an individual’s 20’s. I support this idea one hundred percent. As a twenty something, I have earned a degree of higher education, worked in various internships in different areas of the United States, and through self-reflection and thought gained a better grasp of who I am as a person both personally and professionally. As an introspective individual, I have experienced the benefits of “putting in work” early (through self-development, reading, meditation, educational outlets….etc.) with the expectation of acquiring my desired outcomes (manifested as the achievement of my goals and aspirations) at a sooner date.

Dr. Jay covers crucial points supporting her theory of 20’s being a foundational decade in one’s life, stating “Claiming your 20’s is the simplest most transformative thing for work, happiness, and love.” In today’s society, twentysomethings make up 15 percent of the US population, that’s approximately 50 million people, in my opinion that would be entirely too many people to just be walking around unfocused, un-bothered, and unguided. According to Dr. Jay’s research, the 20’s are a critical period of adult-development, especially from a scientific standpoint. In her research, Dr. Jay discovered that the human brain caps off its second and last growth spurt, before rewiring itself for adulthood, in this particular decade of life. Therefore, our twenties may be our last chance of fine-tuning ourselves before our personalities, habits, and life-perspectives are pretty much set in stone – to divert a minuscule inch, an article in the NY Mag’s Science of Us, entitled “How Much Can You Really Change After You Turn 30,” also supports this claim while offering an alternative perspective. The article by Melissa Dahl, states that while basic personality traits and behaviors are established by age 30, it is still possible to act against pre-established nature through how one proactively decides to express those traits or behaviors. For example, an individual who is usually shy and reserved in public settings, can (with practice) CHOOSE to act in the opposite manner – however this isolated act can hold negative physiological effects.

Our twenties are a decade of infinite possibilities, if we choose to see them in this way. There are three things that Dr. Jay suggests in order to move forward in claiming the definitive decade, and they are as follow: Get identity capital, add value to your life through investing in your future-self; Reach out to weak ties, don’t just associate with people your age – get out and seek mentors- the next job or opportunity may be in that connection; and start selecting your family (future spouse, long-lasting friendship) now – if you are in a relationship (friendship or romantic) that is not working, GET OUT. Dr. Jay emphasizes the importance of being intentional with love, she states “Consciously choose who and what you want, rather than making it work with whoever happens to be choosing you.”

As a twentysomething now is the time to walk boldly in the direction of goals and aspirations. The time to start reading is now. The time to learn how to self-advocate and negotiate contracts and salary quantity is now. The time to explore is….yep you guessed, now. I wish you all the best in your pursuits, and I will see you at the top!

Sincerely,

A. Nicholson

 © A. Nicholson, 2013-2014. All Rights Reserved.

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