Holding onto the twenties

September 20th, 2015


In fourth grade, I was locked in a closet with my first crush and thought it was the beginning of an apocalypse.


When I turned 15 years old,  I snuck out of the house in the middle of January and had my first kiss after a few hard lemonades.


At 18 years old, I went to Rome and learned the true meaning of humility when I watched strangers mend broken hearts.


And as my senior year of college kicks off, at age 21, I have never felt more whirled, but I am certain what is learned the next few years has the potential to bring every other lesson together.


Over one’s undergraduate career, many questions are tossed one’s way. What is your major? How are your classes? What are you going to do when you graduate?


For a long time, I was embarrassed to say my major is English, classes are fine, and I have absolutely no idea where I’ll be come May 2016.


I have time to figure it out though. Right?


To feed into my confusion, we watched a video in Adolescent Psychology on the first day of class this fall that proclaimed, “30 is NOT the new 20.”


The video was a well thought-out TED talk. TED, a nonprofit devoted to ideas worth spreading, has always brought forth new ways of thinking.


Although, this one did not settle well with me, and I am still battling with the idea that maybe I don’t have time.


In the video, clinical psychologist, Meg Jay, relayed a message to “twenty-somethings” saying, “As a culture, we have trivialized what is actually the defining decade of adulthood.”


According to Jay, we are burying ourselves if we waste away ten years of the significant moments that jump-start our adult lives.


Jay says, “We know that the first ten years of a career has an exponential impact on how much money you’re going to earn. We know that more than half of Americans are married or are living with or dating their future partner by 30. We know that the brain caps off its second and last growth spurt in your 20’s as it rewires itself for adulthood, which means that whatever it is you want to change about yourself, now is the time to change it.”


Here’s where she lost me.


Why must young adults rewire themselves the way society urges them to?


Jay needs to take her facts and embrace what twenty-somethings actually believe in: a few years to learn responsibility by falling in love with anything and everything, traveling to understand where they feel they are meant to be, learning about relationships rather than throwing themselves full force into them, and so much more.


It would be hypocritical of me if I said I’d never told myself the twenties are my selfish years, but I’m not ashamed of that. This decade is for me.


By saying 30 is the new 20, us twenty-somethings aren’t insisting on blowing off the next ten years, we’re simply intending to use this decade for a different kind of hard work. Work that makes us happy, varying from one person to the next.


Come graduation this May, I do pray on having a job, and my naïve heart is hoping I’m not sitting in a cubicle twiddling my thumbs all day.


I plan to be in a new city and have profound experiences where I will be delving out of the societal norms of settling.


The millennial generation is about rejuvenation and changing the world. We are free flowing and concrete in a way different from our parents and grandparents. We are redefining what “real life” means after college.


Jay tells us to claim our adulthood, pick a family, and gain identity. And we will, but it will be on our own time, in our own ways.