I ran across a TED Talk by Meg Jay titled Why 30 is not the new 20. This talk struck a chord with, especially since I’ve watched many 20 somethings live as if the time between 18 and 30 are simply “throw away years.”
As I’m getting older, I find myself talking down to some of the “kids” (yeah, they’re not kids) in this age group, letting them off the hook.
I’ve also seen people encouraging them to “live down” … a term I think I’m coining … encouraging these young adults to “live life while they can,” “get some experience” and “enjoy themselves.” While I do regret not getting in more adventures when I was younger, I’ve seen plenty of 40, 50 and 60 year-olds learn to ski, kayak and surf. I’ve yet to see a person who spent their 20′s bowing at the altars of self and pleasure develop into a healthy husbands, wives, employees or employers. This generation has so much more potential!
In this TED talk Meg encourages these Millennials to:
- Claim your 20′s! This is the simplest, yet most transforming thing you can do for your work, love, happiness and even all the justice concerns you’re so passionate about.
- I know you’re not going to marry that person you’re settling for today … but someday you may get married and the best way to work on your marriage is to deal with your issues before you tie the knot!
- Remember that 80% of life’s most defining moments take place by the age of 35.
- Realize that the first ten years of your career has an exponential impact on how much money you’re going to earn. The myth going around is that you can start a real career at 30 and be okay. The hard truth is that most people have better resumes right out of college than they do at 29.
Don’t let this get you down! Even if you’re 29, 39 or 89 there is time for God to work, for Christ to redeem and for the Spirit to fill. So let me tweak Meg’s three pieces of advice with a little Gospel/good news:
- Don’t have an identity crisis. Use this time to clarify and live out your identity in Jesus. Use some of your time to study who you are in Jesus. Reading Romans, 1 Corinthians and Ephesians would be a great start. The book “The Search for Significance” is a helpful book/work-book combo that delivers a heavy theological punch! Also, live our your identity. Serve. Take time to do some mission work.
- Build deep relationships beyond your peer group. I know people in their 20′s and young 30′s who like the same TV shows, movies, music and beer. It’s also next to impossible for them to make friends with anyone older than 40 and definitely not in their 50′s. You need buddy’s, but you also need mentors, guides and people who know the ropes.
- Become the sort of person that the sort of person you want to marry is looking for. Build your faith, your courage, your gentleness, your mercy, your boldness etc … as you build your life around God’s Spirit and Word. You can’t pick the family that raised you, but you can pick the family you will be a part of. The best time to work on your marriage is before you have one. The best time to build confidence and faith for your kids is before you hatch them. Make conscious decisions today to become who God is calling you to be. Don’t just hope it happens, work it out with fear and trembling!