Someone shared an article the other day on how people in their twenties today seem to think this is their ‘downtime’.
30 is not the new 20, it read. In your twenties, you should be focusing on who you want to marry, what career you want, expanding your inner circles, and doing things outside your comfort zone.
It was an article about psychologist Dr. Meg Jay that came out over a year ago, essentially saying that millennials were happily unmotivated, that if we wait to find love in our thirties it’s going to be ‘too late’ for us, and that we’re willing to wait to be 30 before we start ‘buckling down’. That all we want to do in the meantime is twirl around and have fun.
I don’t know what twenty-somethings this article is referencing, but I hardly think of this period of our lives as a time to twirl around and have fun. There’s incredible pressure in your twenties to ‘do something’ with your life, and I don’t know a single person in their twenties who thinks of this part of their lives as their ‘downtime’.
There could be a lot of people out there in their twenties who do feel this way, but I haven’t met them. On the contrary, almost every one of my friends is working their asses off, trying to figure out what their purpose is, and how to make a name for themselves in this world. In fact, it may be because of this stigma that people in their twenties think this is their ‘downtime’ that nobody in their twenties can quite relax.
I’m 29, and I’m just barely starting to relax, because early on I felt so much incredible pressure to do something amazing in my twenties.
I partially agree with the fact that your twenties are a good time to experiment and start taking steps towards building a nice future for yourself, but I don’t like it when articles say you ‘should’ be doing this or that when you’re in your twenties.
If we decide to wait till we’re 30 to start looking for love, who the hell cares? I don’t know many people who’ve done this to begin with. Everyone is looking for somebody. Even when I was 26 and not really thinking about marriage, I knew on some level that that was the year I’d probably have to start finding a good guy. All women at some point hope to find someone they can love and partner with for the rest of their days, and because there’s so much pressure, it’s too fucking hard sometimes. And sometimes even when you start ‘looking’ at 26, you don’t find that person until you’re 35. What then? Does this mean we were ‘dilly dallying’ in our twenties? Who’s to say we need to find a partner in our twenties anyway? You should do it when you feel ready, in my opinion.
All this is to say, that I don’t feel our generation is dilly dallying around. It may seem that way because social media has warped us into this insanely narcissistic culture, where it may seem like our focus is selfies and boasting about what we’re doing on weekends, but I really don’t think there are people out there in their twenties who aren’t thinking about their future or what they might want to do. I think it’s taking people longer to figure that out, yes, but I don’t think it’s because we think we have all the time in the world. In reality, it’s taking us longer to ‘figure it all out’ because we’re allowing ourselves the time and space to be creative and choose a path we enjoy, versus one that society thinks is best.
I just get feisty when people try and squeeze other people in a box. Don’t tell people what they ‘should be’ focusing on in their twenties. If they want to run their life into the ground, let them learn. If they want to take some time to figure things out, let them have their space. If they want to wait until they’re 35 to start forming a career, who the hell cares? Is it hurting anyone?
Opportunities present themselves at different times in our lives, and maybe nowadays people are more open to that happening in the right time for them, versus trying to get things done by a certain age. Everything comes to us in our lives at the exact point that we need it, and if that means we’re twirling around when it does, I wouldn’t call it dilly-dallying and wasting time. I’d call it perfect timing.
What are your thoughts on twenty-somethings nowadays? Do you find that a lot of them are waiting for their thirties before they start taking life seriously? Or do you find that they’re focusing on their future now?