Can your twenties be a “Defining Decade” instead of merely a stepping stone to more advanced ages’ milestones? Renowned clinical psychologist Dr. Meg Jay’s TED Talk, “Why 30 Is Not The New 20,” is meant to remind conflicted quarter-lifers caught between leaving home and starting their own that the span in between shouldn’t be time simply wasted. She shares concerns that the media is manipulating the timetable of adulthood and created an “extended adolescence,” which trivializes these important formative years.
“Claiming your 20s is one of simplest things you can do for work, happiness, love, maybe even for the world,” said Jay.
It’s safe to say, she knows a little bit of something about that era in life. Dr. Jay is a clinical psychologist, author, and speaker who specializes in adult development in twentysomethings in particular. She earned her Ph.D. in both clinical psychology and gender studies, from the University of California, Berkeley and is a clinical assistant professor at the University of Virginia, her website notes. The sought-after psychologist also maintains a private practice in Charlottesville, Virginia. “At Berkeley, “Dr. Jay was a research associate on the Mills Longitudinal Study, one of the longest-running studies of female adult development in the world. ” Dr. Jay’s book, The Defining Decade, was a 2012 Slate.com Staff Pick.
Dr. Jay delivered an eye-opening message for twentysomethings that, contrary to popular belief, our 20’s are not a throwaway decade. In this thought-provoking talk, she stresses that just because marriage, serious career choices, and children aren’t immediate concerns, it doesn’t make your twenties disposable. “Claiming your 20s is one of simplest things you can do for work, happiness, love, maybe even for the world,” said Jay. ”We know your brain caps off its second and last growth spurt in your 20’s as it rewires itself for adulthood. Which means whatever you want to change, now is the time to change it.”
She offers three key pieces of advice on how twentysomethings can “re-claim adulthood in the defining decade of their lives.” Watch the full speech here for her professional insights. Some bloggers report feeling pressured and even panicked by her talk’s guidance, but can that fear be a motivational tool? Is Dr. Jay’s criticism a meaningful wake up call for the meandering millennial or a Boomer-era backlash against the more ambiguous ambitions of the younger generation? — Casandra Armour