THE BLOG
12/27/2014 11:18 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Your 20s Matter

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I graduated high school at 17, graduated college at 20, married at 21, first child at 24, second child at 27.

I am currently 29 and my resume includes Program Coordinator for a non-profit organization, collegiate gymnastics head coach, and having my writing accepted to various places - among other things.

I am not saying all of this to brag... I am saying this to point out that I firmly believe that your 20s matter!

It has become more and more common for people to underestimate 20-somethings. The message is that you don't need to be responsible or have a direction in life when you are in your 20s. And the result is a bunch of 30-year-olds in panic mode b/c they are suddenly realizing that the last 10 years of their life actually did count.

I came across an awesome TED Talk on this topic. You can watch it here, & I have outlined some of the points (along with my own thoughts) below...

15% of the population are 20-somethings. If we are giving 15% of the population a free pass in life, we are in trouble. Parents end up supporting their children far beyond their means. Jobs are not getting the new energy or the focused individuals that they need.

80% of your life-defining moments happen by the time you are 35. By the time you are 35, you are likely to have settled down with your spouse, had kids, settled into a job, set up home in a particular city, made your life-long friends, etc. But your 20's are when you set those things in motion!

The first five years are critical when it comes to child development, but similarly it has been found that the 20s are critical for adult development. This means that your 20s should not be treated as an extended adolescence. The brain actually rewires for adulthood in the early 20s so we need to be careful how we are wiring it.

If we are rewiring brains so that they are not focused on loyalty, commitment, or hard work; then it is no wonder that we have sky high divorce rates and 20-somethings struggling to keep a job. The best time to work on a marriage is before you have one... don't waste your time with someone who seems fine to date b/c you are young and you have time. Be intentional about the relationships you create - they could lead to a future spouse or a future job.

You have a lot of freedom in your 20s. You get to create your own future, and it is very daunting! You can choose your own family by choosing a spouse. You can choose your career path. You can choose your friends who become hugely influential in your future as well.

To make all of this seem a little less daunting, you can do three things according to Meg Jay:
  1. Get identity capital - add value to who you are
  2. Don't huddle with people who are too similar to yourself - new opportunities (relationships or careers) come from weak ties
  3. You can pick your family so be as intentional with love as you are with work

In the end, I am very thankful for parents who taught me that there is no stage of life with a free pass. I was brought up to be responsible, work hard, and take opportunities that were given to me. They were also great role models who married young, had children young, and created great lives for our family. I could see how wonderful that was compared to the alternative of bars, one night stands, and dead end jobs.

I hope that we can help the 20-somethings in our lives get on the right track and take advantage of the wonderful decade that they are in!

This post originally appeared on MomShar.com