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The Defining Decade.

I had some spare time today and decided to watch some TedTalks. The first I ran into is this. I suggest every 20-something who is reading this post to watch the video. Meg Jay is a clinical psychologist specialized in twentysomethings. She also wrote a book about the subject of this TedTalk, “The Defining Decade”.

This video kind of summarizes a part of what I have been learning in the past year, through my psychologist, through my boyfriend, and through my panic attacks. I was trying to become an adult already in my early teen, my parents kept on repeating to me that I still had plenty of time to grow up and I ended up anxious and confused. Of course this is a very short version of the long story, but it’s a fact that I have never been encouraged to become an adult.

Society does it, too. I grew up in Italy, where people study until they are past 25 years old and don’t get a job until they get a master or even a PhD. After that they get a small job, and then it’s a long way to the top. In the last years I’ve heard a lot of talking on the news about these new adults living with their parents after 30 years old. But what else could they do? Plus, in Italy you are certainly not encouraged to become what you want to be. You have to find a job that pays, so no romantic dreams like “I wanna be an actor/writer/football player/…”. Basically, nothing you might like. But still, I have always thought, somebody is gonna have to become an actor, a writer, a football player… What I started asking myself during the last year was: Why not me?

Meg Jay actually mentions different aspects of life (relationships, settling down, career, friends…) for which the twenties are the defining decade of adulthood. The defining decade. This means that most of the major decisions and events that will determine the rest of your life take place when you are twentysomething. Twenties are supposed to be used to build your life.

So the fact that at 23 years old I’m dreaming of finishing university, living with my boyfriend, writing for a living… maybe it doesn’t necessarily mean I’m not down to earth. Maybe I’m even lucky to feel these things now, before wasting all my twenties listening to the people who are still trying to clip my wings.

I feel so lucky to have the boyfriend I have. He comes from a different reality than mine, and he has been able to let me see that I can do things, I just have to work hard on them. I had never considered (after passing the age of fifteen years old) that I could actually be what I wanted to be. Not just a writer, but the person I am.

I guess most people need something or somebody to help them find their way, to encourage them and to make them believe in themselves and in their possibilities. A little something, or somebody you hardly know, could change your life. I really think that Meg Jay’s ones are words worth spreading, among twentisomethings, and among people have to do with twentysomethings, so… everybody.

“One good conversation, one good break, one good ted talk can have an enormous effect across years and even generations to come” Meg Jay



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