Point of View

Point of View

30 Is Not the New 20

By Ryan Howes

September/October 2020

What’s happening in the world of twentysomethings? Current external stressors aside, how do they feel about this decade of their lives? Is it a time to party and hang with friends? Or is it time to build a family and a career? Or something in the middle?

University of Virginia professor and author Meg Jay says that twentysomethings have been sold an erroneous message by our culture: that the 20s don’t count, and you don’t have to work on developing your adulthood until your 30s. As a result, they’re missing out on some once-in-a-lifetime opportunities.

Jay is the author of The Defining Decade: Why Your Twenties Matter—And How to Make the Most of Them Now and Supernormal: The Secret World of the Family Hero. The former has sold more than 500,000 copies and has been published in more than a dozen countries. Her related TED talk, “Why 30 Is Not the New 20,” is one of the most-watched to date and has been viewed more than 10 million times. She recently shared some of her story and advice for therapists with us.

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Ryan Howes: How did you become interested in working with twentysomethings?

Meg Jay: I’ve spent my whole adult life in college towns, surrounded by twentysomethings, so over the past 20 years I’ve gotten to know them pretty well. The work…

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1 Comment

Wednesday, October 21, 2020 6:18:25 AM | posted by Helen Blantz
A great article! I have been coaching in this age bracket, and conversations have absolutely been about identity and the role that confidence building plays - no matter what the starting point. The pension analogy is a good one - it's about encouraging young people to visualise what a fulfilling and purposeful future could look like and work backwards from there. That way, young people can use their 20s to explore, develop, fail even - but doing all of that within the context of aligning actions with an overall vision. Even if that vision changes as life evolves...