Here is my first post for the fun, informative, and fabulous Dirty and Thirty blog:
WARNING: This video will scare the crap out of you. If you have an ounce of stress about feeling behind on the arbitrary “life” timeline, then grab a cocktail- and a diaper- and watch.
I woke up on my 28th birthday feeling like how I’ve dreaded waking up on my 30th. Panicked. And, WTF?! These wrinkles came out of NOWHERE! I was breaking up with my boyfriend, my checks were not steady and not covering the bills, and consequently, I felt my career was nowhere near my potential.
Thank god I’m over 21 because the tequila shot I just drank was delicious.
So I decided to change my approach to life and play to my strengths. I’m an excellent student. In order to gain wisdom and find new answers, I dove into self-help/psychology, the major I always wanted to have, if it wasn’t so damn impractical. My broadcast journalism major hasn’t turned out to be so practical either, but, I digress.
Which brought me to TED Talks. Specifically, this one by psychologist Meg Jay titled “Why 30 is NOT the new 20″.
Watch the video, but I will summarize the main points below.
She opens this talk by diving into every insecurity a single, underemployed, approaching 30 year-old may have about life… AND tells you all your fears are true! Oh, and she has stats to prove it.
– 80% of life’s defining moments happen by age 35.
– 50% of Americans are living, dating, or married to their future life partner by age 30. (I thought it would be more, score one for Team Single)
– Your brain caps its 2nd and last growth spurt in your 20′s to re-wire for adulthood. If you want to change anything about yourself, now is the time to do it.
– 20′s development for adulthood is equivalent to the first five years for children; your mind and body make fundamental changes that have long lasting effects.
– Female fertility PEAKS at 28. (Translation: F*ck. Literally. Start doing it… now!)
Good news- I just lost my appetite by being scared to death. That dress is going to fit good tonight!
My freaked out reaction, I think, is all part of her grand plan to light a fire under your butt. Or, to put it more eloquently, this was a perfect segueway for a well-timed Leonardo Bernstein quote.
“To achieve great things, two things are needed: a plan and not quite enough time.”
Oh, don’t worry, I know there’s not enough time now, because that biological clock just started ticking louder than a Skrillex set. And the fact she just said this brilliant quote:
“The new midlife crisis isn’t buying a red sports car. It’s realizing you can’t have the career you always wanted, or the child you wanted to have, or give your child a sibling.”
Yeah. Let that sit. It’s heavy.
First, sip your cocktail and compose yourself. There’s light at the end of the tunnel, and it’s not a white light, more like a disco light.
1. Forget About an Identity Crisis- Get Some Identity Capital
Do something that adds value to who you are or is an investment in who you want to become. No more dead end jobs, no more overanalyzing, just do it. Identity Capital begets Identity Capital; this is a ball you want to start rolling.
2. Get New Friends
Not only does this expand your way of thinking, but also expands your options. Your acquaintances, or “weak ties” as Meg puts it, will get that ball rolling. Half of new jobs aren’t posted, and a great way to find them is by taking advantage of your weak ties. This is also called networking (I know, I hate that word, too).
3. Start Picking Your Family Now
The best time to start working on your marriage is before you have one, says Meg. Be as intentional about your love life as you are with your career. Don’t try to make it work with whoever is choosing you at the moment. Figure out what you like, don’t like, and what you inevitably want by trial and error of dating. NOW.
You have control. Yay! I mean, you always have control, but now you can feel like really you do.
You know those evil stats at the beginning? Those can work in your favor. Because your 20′s are such an important developmental stage, you are malleable and small changes in habits and thinking can have a huge (positive) impact on the rest of your life.
So, according to Meg, 30 is not the new 20, regardless of how the socially acceptable timeline of career, marriage and kids has stretched. Take control of your life. Don’t be defined by what you didn’t know or do, because whether you like it or not, you’re deciding what you do now.
I found a lot of truth and inspiration in this TED talk. We know not to procrastinate on work, why procrastinate on our development? Although, I would love to know her sources for some of the (scary) stats.
What do you think?