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career-woman

If you are in your 20’s, I highly recommend you watch this Ted Talk by psychologist Meg Jay.

 

With myself fitting into this “twenty-something” stereotype, I feel a mix of emotions after listening to Meg Jay.  On one hand, I feel defensive as I personally don’t think I am wasting away my time in my 20’s  like Jay claims our generation is doing.  On the other hand, I can see her point, as I have seen some twenty-something’s negatively taking advantage of the fact that the time to settle down which = responsibility and security is now post 30’s.

Overall, I strongly believe it is a good thing that the social norm for marriage & children has shifted from our parents’ generation – the pressure to settle down was in their early twenties to now in our thirties.  This shift gives us the opportunity to be positively selfish.  What I mean by this is it gives us more time to be productive with our own life goals.  It gives us the opportunities to take our education further, build up our career’s the way we want, save money to enjoy travel, invest in property and build a strong foundation.  It also gives us the time to really pick out the friends and more importantly the partner we want to have in the next chapter of our life – creating our own family.

We look at our “baby booming” parents and the sad truth is that it is common to hear them speak of a lot of struggle in their days when raising a family.  I have heard too many times from baby boomers that if they could turn back the clock, they would do things differently.  Moreover, they’ve told me to take my time finding the right person to spend my life with, rather than just settling for the first person I think I love.  The divorce rate amoung baby boomers has doubled from 1990 to 2010.  In fact, 1 in 4 people getting divorced today are in the baby boomers age group.

I reckon one of the main reasons of why this shift has even occurred is because we, Gen X & Gen Y, don’t want to turn out like our parents, having mid-life crisis’s and being filled with regret.  Now if your parents are still happily together and living a fulfilling life that is such a great thing.  Please keep in mind, that I am just generalizing based on the facts.

So to all those twenty-somethings out there that feel that they could be taking better advantage of these precious years, here is a recap of what Jay’s message to us is:

Use our twenties to claim our adulthood!

  • Get some identity capital.  Something that adds value to who we are. Explore work and make it count.
  • Don’t get comfy with your urban “click’; new things come from weak ties.  Half of new jobs are not publicly posted, therefore reach out to friends of friends of friends.
  • Pick your family right.  Look for the right partner and work on the marriage before you have one. Consciously choose who and want you want.

My added advice based on having 8 years of my 20’s under my belt is:

  • Experiment responsibly. Experimenting with different avenues is great and we have the freedom now to take some risks, but do your homework before to make sure that all possible outcomes (A,B,C or D) from the decision will lead to a positive stepping stone to the life you want.  So if you’re going to change careers, make sure you’ve secured the new gig before quitting the current one.
  • Try to learn something new each day. It could be as simple as a new word or reading an article outside of the topic you normally would read.  Challenging yourself should be constant, and is a great confidence booster to keep going on the path to creating the ideal you.
  • Network Face-to-Face. Get out of the cyber social world, and network in the flesh.  There are so many social events (work or extracurricular related) happening in every city every day.  Sign up for one and put yourself out there.
  • When in doubt, get back to your roots.  Our 20’s is a trans formative stage so of course there are going to be times when we are ambivalent that we are making the right choices.  In times like this, it is great to lean on your family for advice.  Parents are our elders for a reason – they have wisdom that we can learn from.  Also, journaling is another great way to channel any gray matter going through your head.  Writing is a great way to organize our thoughts and makes the solution to a problem more apparent.
  • Have fun.  This rule should apply not only in our 20’s, but through every decade until the day we die.  Don’t forget to keep the kid in you, by staying young at heart.  Life does fly by, so make sure you wake up every day doing things that make you or are taking you to a happy place.

xo

Ash

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