Living Your Twenties

 by Gwynn Guilford

Dr. Meg Jay offers some sobering ideas on how important it is not to squander your youth:

Our 20s are the defining decade of adulthood. 80% of life's most defining moments take place by about age 35…. Too many 20somethings have been led to believe that their 20s are for thinking about what they want to do and their 30s are for getting going on real life.  But there is a big difference between having a life in your 30s and starting a life in your 30s.

She argues the still-growing twentysomething brain can be an advantage:

[T]he late-maturing frontal lobe has been interpreted as a directive for 20somethings to wait around for their brains to grow up. The real take-home message about the still-developing 20something brain is that whatever it is you want to change about yourself, now is the easiest time to change it. Is your 20something job, or hobby, making you smarter? Are your 20something relationships improving your personality or are they reinforcing old patterns and teaching bad habits? What you do everyday is wiring you to be the adult you will be. That's one reason I love working with 20somethings: They are so darn easy to help because they–and their brains and their lives–can change so quickly and so profoundly.