Making the Most of Your 20s

Making the Most of Your 20s

Sure we may marry later, settle down later, and have kids later, but that does not mean that 30 is the new 20.

Meg Jay, Psychologist

The most life-changing TED Talk I have listened to is definitely the episode on claiming your 20s, by psychologist Meg Jay. Her talk focuses on helping 20-somethings claim their defining decade by simply not letting it pass them by. She advocates for 20-somethings to invest in identity capital, use our weak ties, and pick our family.

  • Adding identity capital is simply adding to yourself. Examples of adding to your self-value could involve taking classes, travelling, gaining credentials, and trying a bunch of career options while you are still unsure of what exactly brings you joy and money.
  • Using weak ties is how we get ahead in life. A weak tie is someone who you know indirectly, or through someone else. Calling your sister’s friend’s boss about a potential internship opportunity may seem scary, but those extended relationships are often where we find our next opportunity.
  • Choosing your family is what happens when you take relationships seriously through your 20s. Working on good relationships before you even think about settling into a group of friends or getting married, ensures that the people you include in your life are there for a reason.

No one is getting through adulthood without going through their 20’s first.

Meg Jay, Psychologist

Life is long. And now more than ever people are doing things like get married, have careers, and have children later and later. Activities that used to be common for 20-somethings like buying a house are now saved for our 30s or 40s. But I agree with Jay that our 20s are not a time to wait on the rest of our lives. Exploration is important but so is living intentionally.

An overwhelming theme I heard in university was “I’m not sure what I want to do with my life.” I have had many friends confide in me about how scary thinking about “real life” is for them. And I can definitely relate. I have had so many fears about my timeline and whether I am doing enough or whether the things I am doing are the “right” steps to take. It is important to remember that everyone is on their own timeline and your only real priority should be claiming your 20s in the best way you know how.

Claiming your 20s is one of the simplest, yet most transformative things you can do. For work, for love, for your happiness, maybe even for the world.

Meg Jay, Psychologist

In the process of finding purpose, sometimes you just need to do SOMETHING, without worrying about whether it is the “right” thing. This is adding identity capital. This doesn’t have to be done by getting a degree. But it does involve committing to something, be it taking a trip to India or getting your “serving it right” certification or starting a blog.

A lot of stress comes from feeling directionless, and one solution to that feeling is to just choose something that you feel good about and going for it. Don’t worry about whether it is the perfect step, just add value to yourself and see where it takes you!

Be as intentional with your love life as you are with your work.

Meg Jay, Psychologist

Relationships are everything…or so we say they are. Sometimes I need a reminder that the time I spend with my family, friends, and boyfriend is just as important as the time I put into my career and personal goals. Relationships are not something to ignore or not take seriously in your 20s. Relationship boundaries, bringing good people into your life, and knowing how to keep them in your life, are all valuable lessons that should not be reserved for your 30s.

30 is not the new 20. Don’t be defined by what you didn’t know or didn’t do. You’re deciding your life, right now.

Meg Jay, Psychologist

Thinking about how long life is can make your 20s feel insignificant. At the same time, I often feel pressure to make the very most of my young life. But the point is not to add stress and pressure to your 20s, nor is it to feel as though your 30s is when life really begins. The point is to take your life seriously even when you are young. Exploration is important, perfection is not the goal, and working on living your life intentionally is all you can ever hope for and work toward.

~ Belle