Last week was a big week for twentysomething news. I couldn’t be happier that the changing needs of the third decade are finally getting some attention. First, the New York Times magazine ran a very long article (see http://nyti.ms/bn1BLK). Then, the same author got picked up by the Today show, see the link to the interview at http://bit.ly/a3jGr7.
This is the stuff we’ve been talking about for the last year—dealing with the push to grow up fast, and the pull back to slow down and try to figure it all out through the twenties. Both articles highlighted the overload of choices, the influence of peer pressure, media, the role parents play, and many other key experiences.
What I love most about writers and researchers focusing on this, is the role that choosing on purpose plays in making your way in the world. This is the time of life to build key resilience skills. This includes learning how to resist over-stressing, how to absorb the tough lessons when they come, and how to restore your strength so you can take on the next challenge.
The two articles get into lots of debate over whether there is a new stage of adult life between adolescence and full adulthood, with the responsibilities of family and finance. While the researcher in me is interested in following this line of inquiry, the application side continues to focus on what to do with this slow down phenomena of being a twentysomething in the 21st Century.
What counts is making choices. It’s the only way to deal with the floundering that comes with the overload of opportunity. Even our brains know enough to cut off the neural growth in areas of the brain we don’t use often, in order to be more efficient. We can consciously live our lives the same way.
Making a choice helps us avoid a condition I call perfection paralysis. When we want everything to work out perfectly, we avoid decisions, and end up being paralyzed with the swirling we do. I would rather see you decide, and end up changing your decision, than floating away on a wave of indecision, with no chance of finding your potential.
So hooray for the conversations about twentysomethings! The lines are more open than ever, so lets talk choices, fear, stress, new ways to get support, training and development to make it through this stage of life.