A friend of mine recently sent me the link to a TED’S TALK by Meg Jay on: Why 30 is not the new 20.
Meg began by going back to her time as a budding psychologist having just seen her first client who was in her 20s. Meg laughed at the sexual antics of her client and counselled with the mindset: that LIFE happens later than 20 – career, marriage, children and even death, happens later, so that a 20 year old need not be worried about these LIFE concerns – until LATER.
However when she went to discuss this notion with her supervisor she was surprised by his opinion and advice that work on career, marriage, children etc for her client should actually begin now and the concept that ‘who you want to be in the later years of your adult life, is who you should start to be now’, through making conscious choices.
I was in two minds at the beginning of Meg’s presentation, I had a fabulous 20’s, while I had a career and was working in it, it didn’t really matter what it was and I played and played up for many years. I didn’t think about any choices I made on an ‘influential to life’ scale, I just made my choices with the intention of dealing with the consequences later. And yes while I can excuse this attitude as just going with the flow, ‘life experience’, I certainly have had to deal with those consequences.
Perhaps if I had just spent a little time on my identity capital and adding value to who I was and wanted to be LATER in life, in my 20s, the dealing with the consequences in my 30s may not have been so huge.
Conversely, I wouldn’t be the first person to comment – who knew (and who cared) where you wanted to go when you were in your 20s…
BUT then I have been very surprised recently as a large number of my clients are in their 20’s. They are categorically wiser than I was, they are starting on their road to self discovery, actively working at reducing stress, living healthier, happier lives and are actively preparing for their preferred family life and preferred career path. In effect they will potentially have so much less to wade through than I did when going through my identity crisis in my mid 30s.
This point was further brought home by a conversation I had recently with a friend and fellow 40 year old. We were discussing that with all we know now, what we would tell our younger 20 year old selves. She commented that if she knew more about herself then, like she does now, she could have focussed on having more fun, she would have been less anxious and paid less attention to what other people thought of her – in effect she would have found her way more easily.
So out the window goes my old thinking of blindly playing in your 20s – thanks Meg – and I plan to teach my children to make conscious choices in their early adulthood in support of the type of life they want to have; in support of their own self development; and in support of making conscious choices in love with the family that they may wish for in mind – to give them the best possible chance to achieve these LATER on.
And how do I sell this idea to them, well that’s easy = with the lure of having much more money as they spend less in their LATER years on therapy or mid life crises…