Meg Jay's, "Why 30 is not the new 20" created a lot of buzz. A lot of people were offended that Jay generalized a "happy life" as a traditional life with a marriage, children, enjoyable career. Sure, there are outliers and people that fundamentally don't seek those goals, but I think most of us do seek to be loved and content. I also think many of the critics are just being defensive towards their lack of effectiveness in their 20's. Regardless of your opinion, the talk was provocative and said something that needs more debate. I agree with Jay. 30 is not the new 20.
This is not my opinion. These are the facts. We know that 80 percent of life's most defining moments take place by age 35.
So when we think about child development, we all know that the first five years are a critical period for language and attachment in the brain. It's a time when your ordinary, day-to-day life has an inordinate impact on who you will become. But what we hear less about is that there's such a thing as adult development, and our 20s are that critical period of adult development.
Leonard Bernstein said that to achieve great things, you need a plan and not quite enough time. Isn't that true? So what do you think happens when you pat a twentysomething on the head and you say, "You have 10 extra years to start your life"? Nothing happens. You have robbed that person of his urgency and ambition, and absolutely nothing happens.
...I told Emma to forget about having an identity crisis and get some identity capital. By get identity capital, I mean do something that adds value to who you are. Do something that's an investment in who you might want to be next. I didn't know the future of Emma's career, and no one knows the future of work, but I do know this: Identity capital begets identity capital. So now is the time for that cross-country job, that internship, that startup you want to try. I'm not discounting twentysomething exploration here, but I am discounting exploration that's not supposed to count, which, by the way, is not exploration. That's procrastination.
You're deciding your life right now.