It’s 15 minutes until midnight and I’m sitting here listening to a TED talk titled “Why 30 is not the new 20” and reading Levo League’s “Stop Listening: You Define Your Twenties.” Why? Because ever since I turned 20, I started to see advice for being “in my twenties” everywhere I went. In Meg Jay’s TED talk, she focuses on telling 20-somethings to not throw away their 20s. Although Jay’s argument has some high points that I agree with, there were a few points I’d rather roll my eyes after hearing. When it comes to using the next ten years of my life as an investment for my future, I like to think I have it planned out fairly well, but with room for spontaneity.
“Do something that adds value to who you are…identity capital begets identity capital.”
I agree with this statement, but this is true for anything someone does, regardless of age. Why would anyone ever purposely do something that would destroy their value? Every decision a person makes at any age is a reflection of their value. Being in my twenties does not mean that I should pay extra attention on how I add value to myself, I have tried to do that in everything I do since day one. Yes, adding value to your life is important, but shouldn’t you do that to begin with?
“The time for picking your family is now.”
Okay, I’m a closeted hopeless romantic who wants to find “the one” too, but it might not happen in my twenties. Here’s the honest truth: I am stubborn and I have accepted the fact that there is a great chance I will not find my future husband within the next ten years. And frankly, I have seen happy couples who found each other well into their later years. The time for picking my family isn’t now; the time for picking my family is when I find the right man who will be a great father to the children I plan to have when I become physically, mentally and financially capable of supporting.
“You’re deciding your life right now.”
This goes back to the first quote and my belief that every decision you make has some sort of influence on your future. The decisions I make today will influence tomorrow, but the decisions I make during my 40s will also influence my 50s. It’s not just now, it’s every day.
I like to think that I have a good chunk of my life outlined for the next decade, but there are still moments that I can’t account for and will never be able to plan ahead. I can acquire internships, but there is still that chance no one will actually want to hire me when I graduate. I can go on dates and there is a great chance no man will want to put up with me for the rest of his life. A plan is never secure and according to Jay’s argument, I might just be another failure of a 20-something that has been thrown into the pool of generation Y’s who some have dubbed to be the “laziest” generation of all.
As I am sitting here today, as a woman in her 20s, I feel like I am being asked more at this age than ever. I am told I need to ask for more in my career, find the perfect man sooner, and am constantly being reminded that my generation is narcissistic and self-centered. Thank you, society.
The next decade of my life as a 20-something can be summed up perfectly: the past makes you stronger, the present might be a battle, but the future is worth fighting for. There is no deadline; just do it and do it at your best, whatever that may be – regardless of what everyone else believes.