“What do you want to be when you grow up?”
This is a question we all heard from the day we started kindergarten to the day we graduated from high school or college.
For me, this constant pressure to know what my future held made me very anxious during the college application process and while deciding on my major. But I was always assured, “Don’t worry, you’ve got plenty of time.”
Even when I was unsure of what I wanted to do after graduation, my friends and family told me not to worry because I would have a lot of time to figure it out.
Then, over the summer I watched this Ted Talk titled “Meg Jay: why 30 is not the new 20.”
It was such a wakeup call for me. I always felt better every time I heard someone tell me that I had “so much” time to figure out my life. After watching this video though, I realized every time I heard that phrase it allowed me to put off figuring out my life. When adults told me not to worry, it made me feel that I could push the future away and sail through life until adulthood finally kicked in. Hearing that I had plenty of time in the future to figure out my life allowed me to live in the present and enjoy every moment. This, however, was not helping me get any closer to knowing what I wanted to do.
Now, I don’t want to scare anyone reading this post into thinking you are wasting time and need to make a 30-year plan. But I wanted to share this Ted Talk with anyone who is in their 20s or will be in the next few years, because I think it is important to know why you should be taking control of your 20s instead of sailing right through.
Your 20s are important for developing your sense of self and figuring out the person that you truly want to be in life. Your 20s are important for setting yourself up for success for your future career. Your 20s are important for finding out the type of person you want to spend the rest of your life with. Your 20s are important for understanding what true friendship means to you when your best friends are no longer by your side 24/7.
Looking at this short list, it’s easy to see that this is an important developmental time in a person’s life. While it may be comforting to hear the phrase, “Don’t worry, you’ve got plenty of time,” I think it is important to consciously be aware that the decisions you make now will impact your future.
What do you hope to accomplish in your 20s? What are you most looking forward to about this great decade of life?