Are your Twenties the Defining Decade?

For the first time in a while, I am having a quiet weekend and I’m actually kind of glad of it, especially with this constant unbearable weather we keep on having. Treated myself to a bit of retail therapy earlier today, although I am a bit reluctant to buy anything at the moment because it’s sleeting outside and tropical on the high street with stores full of bikini’s, sandals, shorts and maxi dresses.  I’m beginning to doubt the existence of global warming, unless we’re going to have a long hot summer until October as compensation.

Today’s blog post stems from an article that I read in ELLE magazine’s April issue “Why Life Begins At 20” by Dr Meg Jay (Author of “The Defining Decade”) which completely dispelled the conception of what being in your twenties is all about and then made me start panicking about my own life. That is until my inner voice of sense told me to calm down and stop being so impatient.

Define your Twenties...Explore. Dream. Discover.

Define your Twenties…Explore. Dream. Discover.

Dr Meg Jay insists that we should ditch that guy, quit our jobs and move cities because “shrug your twenties away all you like, but they really are your defining decade,” and because “you are deciding life right now.” Inspiring to an extent but terrifying more so.

While I agree with Dr Jay that your twenties are your defining decade because for the majority of people, it is when most of your big life events happen- graduation, travelling, first job, moving out, meeting someone, marriage and for some children too but I mean, should there be so much pressure on us to do these things? Especially when in this day and age, most people go to university and then begin a long and arduous battle to get onto the career ladder before they can even think about mortgages, marriage and children.

Dr Jay also states in her article that most people regard their twenties as “an extended adolescence or an emerging adulthood,” and encourages us to “make your twenties count,” I think that your early adulthood is a time for figuring out who you are and what you really want in life and if you have to make a few mistakes or take a few U-turns, then this is surely the time to do it. I’m not saying everyone should live at a 100 miles an hour and just do what you like because you’re young (actions have consequences après-tout) but once you have responsibilities like a mortgage, bills and little ones, you can’t up and leave the country on a whim or go out on a spontaneous night out.

Again I agree that getting your career sorted is possibly the biggest life event of your twenties but again that isn’t easy for most in the never-ending recession we seem to be stuck in. And once you’re in a job that you love and helps to pay the bills, should we then be putting so much pressure on ourselves to move out and buy/rent a house? While I know that I don’t want to be living with my parents until I’m in thirties (and I’m sure they don’t want that either!) it’s literally impossible to try and get on the property ladder quickly these days unless you want to save every last penny of your income. I admire anyone that is able to do so though. but isn’t your twenties also about having fun and meeting people? Whenever I speak to anyone in the forties and fifties, the most common regrets they always have include not travelling, marrying and settling down too young and not putting more effort into their schooling. On the other hand though, it was the norm thirty or so years ago to be working at the age of 16/17, married by your early twenties and children before the age of 30. At the age of 23, my parents had had a house for 2 years, were married and my Mum was pregnant with me. Things are completely different now though and most people deem 23 as being too young to get married and have children.

The reason why the article put a sense of panic into me was because I constantly have this pressurising battle with myself in my head anyways about whether I should really start saving to move out or do I go travelling for a while because time is of the essence and before you know it, it’ll be too late? Or should I be worried because most of my friends are settling down and I’m feeling like I’m left behind? And then my inner sense kicks in and tells the control-freak in my head to shut up and to just go with the flow and let everything happen when it happens. Que sera, sera as my Mum always says.

So to move on, I think you should do whatever you feel is best for you in your life, whether it turns out to be the right thing or not. There is no right or wrong time for anything and no time restraints or pressure from friends, family and what is portrayed in the media. Whether you’re still figuring out what to do in life, travelling, dating, settling down with the love of your life, saving for a house or moving into your first house or having a baby, it’s your life, make the most of it and you define your twenties however you want to. Besides, turning 30 is just another exciting chapter in your life, not Game Over.

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