Why 30 is not the new 20 | Meg Jay

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In her February TED Talk, Dr Jay advises people to 'claim their twenties' by investing in who they want to be, expanding their inner circle and finding out what kind of person they want to marry sooner, rather than later.

'Claiming your twenties is one of the simplest yet most transformative things you can do for work, for love, for your happiness, maybe even for the world,' said Dr Jay as she spoke at the TED2013 conference in Long Beach, California.

Even though the media portrays a person's twenties as something of an 'extended adolescence', this decade is, in fact, a 'developmental sweet spot,' explains Dr Jay, whereby people can change their personalities and alter their destinies.

She cites the fact that the first ten years of someone's career has an exponential impact on how much money they will earn later in life, and that your personality changes more in your twenties than at any other time in life.

[youtube height=”500″ width=”800″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vhhgI4tSMwc[/youtube]




She also explained that the human brain has its second and final growth spurt in a person's twenties, as it 're-wires itself for adulthood'.

This, according to Dr Jay, means that 'whatever it is you want to change about yourself, now is the time to change it.'

When you tell a 20-something they have ten more years to figure their lives out, you are, in effect, 'robbing that person of his urgency and ambition,' says Dr Jay.

And since all the pressure is being taken off people in their twenties, a huge amount is being transferred to those in their thirties, who suddenly have to find a partner, decide on a city to live in, build a career and have children, all in a short period of time.

While Dr Jay encourages women to work on their careers earlier in life, she also believes a woman should choose her life partner – or, at least, the type of person she wants to marry – in her twenties.




'The best time to start working on your marriage is before you have one,' she said. 'And that means being as intentional with love as you are with work.

'Make no mistake, the stakes are very high,' warned Dr Jay, recounting some of her patients who came to her after marrying their husbands on a whim once they reached 30, when dating was suddenly no longer like 'a game of musical chairs'. 

'The time to start picking your family is now,' she advises 20-somethings.

She also said that one of the most valuable pieces of advice a 20-something can take to heart is to expand their inner circle, and use their 'weak ties', or those whom they are loosely connected to.

20-somethings who only stick with like-minded peers limit 'who they know, what they know, how they think, how they speak and where they work,' she explained.




New and good things come from new people, she says, from friends of friends who may be out of our comfort zone.

'30 is NOT the new 20,' concluded Dr Jay. 'So claim your adulthood, get some identity capital, use your weak ties, pick your family. 

'Don't be defined by what you didn't know or didn't do. You're deciding your life right now,' she stated.

Dr Meg Jay has also written a book, titled The Defining Decade: Why Your Twenties Matter – And How to Make the Most of Them Now.

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