By: Lauren Herman

Driving down the road, carefree in my twenties, I hear the lyrics:

Tired of lying in the sunshine, staying home to watch the rain/You are young and life is long, and there is time to kill today/And then one day you find, ten years had got behind you/No one told you when to run, you missed the starting gun.

The wisdom of Pink Floyd lives on in the TED Talk, “Why 20 is Not the New 30,” by clinical psychologist, Dr. Meg Jay, filmed at TED2013. Dr. Jay specializes in what she calls “twentysomethings,” a decade she describes as a critical period of adult development.

She fears, as described by the lyrics above, Americans are all too willing to define their 20s as an extended adolescence until ten years pass without the realization of missing the starting gun; the chance to start a life they now want now. Take some tips from Dr. Jay for the now and then.

The ToolBox for the Twentysomething

- Get some identity capital.

Do something that adds value to who you are. Exploration is important at this age because it will define and create the future you.

- Use your weak ties.

Weak ties, or acquaintances those outside your circle of friends, will help you the most in life. Don’t limit whom you know, what you know, how you think and where you work.

- Pick your family.

Adults have the choice to pick their family. Picking your family is about consciously choosing who and what you want rather than making it work with whoever chooses you.

As a “twentysomething,” I know from experience that Dr. Jay’s suggestions are easier said than done, especially as there are 50 million of us in the United States living in the post-Great Recession economy with rising tuition, high cost of living and limited job opportunities.  

But, for those in the mist of this decade or having a quarter life crisis, her TED talk is the light at the end of the tunnel. I am willing to take Dr. Jay’s TED Talk to heart because I have a lot (my 20s) to lose.



Celebrate more ideas worth spreading by attending the upcoming TEDxSacramento 2016 on February 12, 2016 - register now! It's not too late - tickets are still available for this unexpected, life changing conference for the Capital Region.