30 is not the new 20… apparently. @PhilipLeBrun

By Phil Le Brun

A week or two ago Marc showed us a TED talk delivered by clinical Psychologist Meg Jay in 2013. Like most of the class, I’d not seen this talk before in, which Jay urges twenty-somethings to rid themselves of the idea that our twenties are just a prolonged adolescence. It polarised the room and brought into question our own ideas of success and how we would come to measure it.


There was an added layer of reflection for me as since watching the talk and writing this blog I celebrated my 25th birthday. 25 definitely puts me in the older percentile of students at SCA, with some only just moving out of their teens (with intimidating maturity and flair I might add). It’s something that doesn’t bother me in the slightest though as I know what it has taken to get me here and I’m happy with what I’ve achieved. Additionally, where I’ve been has given me a sharper focus and clearer direction to where I want to be.


So in many ways the talk resonated with me as it reconfirmed my decision to reroute the career I had spent a couple of years cultivating. The talk pressed for the need to take hold of your life as according to Jay 80% of life’s defining moments happen by the time a person is 35. Powerful and stirring words. Yet it rankled me.


Beneath the rousing call to arms was an intimidating pressure put on an already overstimulated generation to find the right career and life partner NOW. Equally, I imagine for over thirties still figuring things out, it might suggest they’ve missed their chance to get where they wanted.


Jay speaks of the inertia and procrastination that can beset people in their twenties as they drift in and out of short term jobs and relationships with an expectation that things will magically slot into place when they enter their thirties. This I agreed can be a dangerous game to play. Your twenties are special and electrifying years; a time to travel, start a business, take a job in a different city, try new things and crucially for Jay – find a partner and build a career. The last two things is where I take issue.


This TED-talk should come with a disclaimer; ‘this is advice for people who list marriage and children as their life goals’. I would argue not all experiences need a focus and not everything that counts can be counted. For example I’m not sure where fun fits into Jay’s neat little package of success. Or finding out who you really are, reading things you’ve never read, learning about your family, exposing yourself to situations you’ve never been in before, discovering new music, failing and growing. For me these things are invaluable.


But Jay is right we need to face certain realties. Be intentional. Because while I may disagree with Jay on how to live a happy and successful life, I agree that the intention of living should be realised early and often. Just make sure you feel happy and grateful for what you’ve achieved in your own eyes.

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