Why you should take your 20s seriously

“Don’t take life too seriously, you’ll never get out alive.” – Van Wilder

It seems like the prevailing advice today for anyone in their twenties is to live their lives free of any commitments and as independent and undirected as possible.  As a workaholic entrepreneur since I finished school, it never really resonated with me, but even I have found myself prioritizing based on the fact that my 20s are unique time I can do things I wouldn’t be able to any other time in my life.

A friend recently recommended I read The Definining Decade: Why your twenties matter – and how to make the most of them now. After reading it, I realized the importance of my twenties to a degree I never had and it has changed how I plan to approach the last few years of my 20s.

Written by a clinical psychologist, the book hits on all the key aspects of your life: Work, Love and your Body. There are many great takeaways, but the 3 biggest that have stuck with me are:

1) Your 20s lay the groundwork for success in the rest of your career.

Whether you’ve spent too much time as a bartender or waitress or in tech living in your parent’s basement as you “work on your startup”, you could be preventing your life from moving forward in a way that will make you successful and happy in the future.

Maybe Starbucks is enough to be happy now, but can you raise a child with that pay? More importantly, do you want to be doing exactly what you’re doing now in 10 years? If not, does your current job get your foot in the door?  If you aren’t Mark Zuckerberg, maybe you should think about how to build a career in a startup as opposed to being a young, fledgling founder forever.

No one starts at the top. It starts with a dues-paying low level job where you excel and get more and more opportunities. I had a master’s degree and still had to start with a part time internship to get my foot in the door in tech. That internship led to the person I interned for getting me a full time job at a startup they were on the board of. The founder of that company then introduced me to Hiten Shah as a mentor and now I run product for his company, KISSmetrics. This is how most successful people I know have built their careers, and it always starts small.

Lesson: Don’t put off starting to build a career. The sooner you start out in an industry and role you like, the sooner you can grow into a satisfying career.

2) Statistically, women need to have all their children by 35.

According to the author, a woman’s ability to get pregnant plummets starting in her mid-thirties. To make matters worse, the odds of a miscarriage for a woman over 35 is one in four.  This is a scary statistic that brings images to my mind of a couple struggling to get pregnant only to lose their child during pregnancy. No one wants that.

The thought of a family has been far from my mind all through my 20s. I’ve put my career goals ahead of everything else.  At the same time, I’ve known I do eventually want to have a family. Realizing these statistics has led me to better understand the choices I make and the time I’m working against. It now makes a lot more sense why there’s so many founders in their early 30s that have started families.

Lesson: If having a family is part of your life’s goals, you probably have less time than you think. If you’re a guy that wants to marry a woman relatively the same age as you, the clock is ticking on you just as much as it is for her.

3) Your brain finishes forming in your 20s.

I always thought your mind was formed as a child and that by the end of your teens your brain was probably what it was going to be until the decline began in your 30s or 40s. As it turns out, your frontal cortex goes through great change in your 20s before it is set more permanently in your 30s (imagine wet concrete hardening). Per Wikipedia,

The executive functions of the frontal lobes involve the ability to recognize future consequences resulting from current actions, to choose between good and bad actions (or better and best), override and suppress unacceptable social responses, and determine similarities and differences between things or events.

As a person whose goal is build a massive company, I realize I need to develop as many of the skills I need to lead such a company now, because in a few years it may be difficult or almost impossible to grow in the ways necessary to handle the role. As I hear about founders that can’t (or don’t want to) run a company once it reaches a certain size, I think about the challenges of scaling yourself and the development required.

Lesson: Whatever your career and life goals, realize that the skills you develop and the personality you forge in your 20s will determine many of your abilities the rest of your life.

Few books I’ve read have led to as much personal introspection as reading this one. If these concepts interest you, I highly recommend you check out: The Definining Decade:

68 thoughts on “Why you should take your 20s seriously

  1. Think hard about the end goal. If you enjoy working, work can be the goal. If you’re trying to achieve something else, though, like travel, someone it’d be wise to consider a shortcut. For example, one generally doesn’t need much success in their career to achieve a travel goal, especially someone in their 20s.

    • Josh,

      You’re absolutely right. And a famous example is certainly Steve Jobs who dropped out of college, sat in on calligraphy and even traveled to India.

      We all have our own path, but in the end it’s important to recognize you have one and that you do control it. What you chose to do in your 20s does impact what you can do later. As long as you are pleased with the direction, I think you should embrace it fully.

      I’m also reminded of Jobs’s Stanford Commencement speech when he said: “You can’t connect the dots looking forward you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something: your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. Because believing that the dots will connect down the road will give you the confidence to follow your heart, even when it leads you off the well worn path.”

      Thanks,
      Jason

  2. If you don’t dump as much as you can into your pension/investments in your twenties, you will have to make (and invest) an absolute fortune – far, far, far more – later on to have any chance of catching up.

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  4. This article consists entirely of superficial fluff.

    First, miscarriages are far more common than you might think, even for those under 35 and a *lot* of pregnancy statistics are frightening. Further, the plasticity of the brain as a whole, including the frontal cortex, is not to be underestimated. Go to a good university that offers degrees to older and non-traditional students, say Columbia University. There, you’ll find plenty of people in their 30s and beyond picking up complicated skills and competing favorably with the younger, stereotypically ‘quicker,’ students. It seems likely that the state of their executive function has actually improved their ability to learn and focus?

    • I don’t disagree with anything you say, and I’d just like to clarify a few of my thoughts:

      1) It’s never too late to change.
      I think it just gets harder as you get older. “Set in your ways” is a an old saying for a reason, but I also didn’t intend for you to think I meant that when you hit 30 you can’t change anything.

      2) Pregnancy stats.
      I’m sure it is hard at any age, but there’s a lot of scary stats that get a lot worse as you get older. As a male your sperm quality goes down as you get older as well.

      3) Your brain is another muscle to be trained.
      There’s lots of evidence to show that just like you can train your body to perform at a high performance and maintain much of it for years, you can do the same with your body. Building new connections in the brain is always positive and can be done even in very old age.

      Thanks,
      Jason

      • Jason, regarding #3, here you are doing the right thing – that is to contradict your own statement “you brain finishes forming in your 20s”. Human brain never stops developing if you do new things. For example, if a 99-year old woman plays a new video game, her brain will *physically* change. It’s neuroplasticity.

      • Tony -

        The point made in the book is more specifically about the Frontal Cortex in particular and the degree of change; it’s not that it stops as you age, it just slows.

        Thanks,
        Jason

    • @arparp thank goodness for a critical (in the rigorous sense) viewpoint. @jason learn how to use the apostrophe. it’s never too late. Twenties is plural ie 20s, not possessive e.g. 20′s [sic] .

  5. Mark Twain nailed this one: “Never put off until tomorrow what you can put of until the day AFTER tomorrow.” Use your 20s for intense play, learning and avoiding as much responsiblity as possible. The ideas that you’ll get while going fishing for 10 years will more than pay for your “time off” later (Bucky Fuller nailed that one, and he’s got a molecule named for him!). Besides, if you’re 20-something now you’ll probably live ’til you’re 150. Plenty of time for responsibility later. Have fun, seriously.

    • Craig,

      This is exactly what many (including the author of the book I read) caution against. We all choose our own paths, just realize you’ll be a bit behind if you intend to build a traditional career down the line.

      That’s not to say it’s impossible, because frankly, most things are possible. There are great examples of people all the way in their 50s and 60s returning to school to launch new careers. They are outliers though against many others with regrets of not focusing more in their 20s.

      Thanks,
      Jason

  6. I hereby constitute taking my 20′s seriously through measuring the level of workaholism that I can achieve.

  7. Mid 40s talkin’ here. Software developer.

    I wish I still had the mental speed I had in my 20s. That, along with physical endurance and agility, along with just plain energy, are things that rapidly disappear after you crest the hill in your middle 30s. Those are the downsides of middle age.

    The upside is that people tend to accumulate wisdom and by the time they’re in their 40s they don’t make youthful mistakes quite as often, although from what I can tell the wisdom thing doesn’t peak until you’re well into your sixties.

    Yes, you want to have your kids by the time you’re in your middle 30s. The little darlings sap your energy like crazy, and people who embark on parenthood in their 40s look perpetually out of breath for a reason. The possibility of miscarriage as well as other things such as Down’s Syndrome multiply after the mid-30s. Get started on kids early enough and they’ll be there to mow the lawn for you by the time you’re really slowing down. Get started too late and you’re nearing retirement before they graduate from high school, let alone college.

    As far as living until 150, yeah, right. Everybody in their 20s feels like they’ve got the stamina to go until 150. Ain’t nobody done it yet. People who are in their 20s today will probably live well into their 90s, with varying degrees of health. Don’t count on triple digits, it’s not likely to happen at all.

    As far as the saving for retirement advice is concerned: yes, this seems fairly solid, but I am not assuming I will be able to afford to retire, nor should you. I think the better strategy is to plan for semi-retirement and not kill yourself trying to save money when you’re trying to buy your first home and raise young children. This business of taking the last 30 years or so of your life off on vacation is a bubble; it’s going to pop.

  8. Thought provoking post. I really like the idea of taking your 20s seriously, especially as an investment in your long term future. However, I have to say that focusing narrowly on acquiring the skills it takes to “build a massive company” is not necessarily a good example of long term investing for everyone, or even most people. In fact, not to be personally critical, but it sounds an awful lot like the superficial goal of someone who’s brain isn’t done forming. I’d argue that a much more ambitious goal for someone in their 20s would be this two-pronged one: find out what you deeply love to do, figure out how to learn the most. If you do those things, then as you and your goals mature, you’ll always have the skills to meet them — and, even more important, you’ll be more likely to push towards something that’s challenging and rewarding, rather than something that sounded cool when you were in your 20s. Like Josh Watkins said above, the end goal doesn’t usually turn out to be as important as it seems in your 20s. End goals rarely happen. You’ll spend you’re whole life in the process.

    • Greg,

      You’re absolutely right. Most people don’t have this goal I mentioned and there are a lot of “wantrapreneurs” out there. That being said, I’ve known this is the career I want since I was in college, and I’ve been working hard to get there for the better part of 6 years now. I am currently running product at a 30 person web-startup. I like to think it’s a good stepping stone to many different career options, including my goal to build a massive company.

      I love your comment, “find out what you deeply love to do, figure out how to learn the most.” That’s brilliant and I know that’s what I’m trying to do. I hope more people can do that.

      Thanks for the great comment.

      Thanks,
      Jason

  9. As the song title of an german electro/punk band from the 80ties suggest: Verschwende deine Jugend. Waste your youth. It is the only time you’ll be able to waste. “Carpe diem” from another perspective I guess.

  10. I loved this book. When it came out I felt it was able to articulate all the mistakes I had seen my friends make in their twenties, as well as add new insight to subjects that I hadn’t explored very thoroughly. I don’t think it’s fluff. To me, the ideas in this book are really worth exploring in your twenties.

  11. Wow, i’ve learned quite a lot by just reading your three points.

    Our Brains stop forming in our 20s? That’s scary. I also read somewhere that our brains formed differently if you think differently. For example, if you are an optimistic, your brain will form differently when compare to those who are pessimistic.

    If it stops forming at 20s, then some people will be pessimistic for the rest of their lives. This is some scary fact right here.

    Thanks for posting this up. I’ll definitely pick up those books your friend recommended.

    • Pete,

      It’s not that you can’t change after your 20s, it’s just significantly harder. You can still learn and sharpen your mind well into your 90s, but the habits you create and the personality you embrace in your 20s are reinforced in your brain and very hard to change thereafter.

      It’s funny, my father always told me, “People basically are who they are by the time they’re 30-35.” He knew nothing about psychology (he runs an accounting firm), but totally nailed it and now that I’ve been “looking for it” for a few years, it’s been pretty obvious.

      Thanks,
      Jason

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  13. I think the twenties have for many turned into the new teens, they put off responsibility with the play now pay later attitude. I am 26 happily married with two kids. By the time I am 50 our kids will be grown and my husband and I can travel and enjoy grandkids. Many today are spending their later years doing the early parenting which really requires a lot of energy.

    • Glorianne,

      Thanks for reading. You’re absolutely right and that is the main message of the book from page 1. The author spends her entire career trying to help those in their 20s that are stuck. I just extracted the ideas that resonated with me most.

      Thanks,
      Jason

    • Glorianne,

      While I think it’s wonderful that you settled down with a great guy and have kids – please don’t be so remiss to think that this is the right path for everyone at such a young age. Or that by NOT doing so it in some way means people are avoiding responsibility or acting like a teenager. Speaking as a person who finished undergrad with honors, worked for 4 years with increasing responsibilities, went back to school for her MBA abroad and while doing so also traveled to over 25 countries – I don’t think I’ve been acting irresponsibly. Sure. I’ve racked up some student loans and some debt from the most recent experience. And sure, I’m still dating and not in a serious relationship yet. But am I a fulfilled person? Absolutely. I feel that my path has been perfect for me.

      I’m 29 now, have a Masters and just accepted an incredible job offer that is taking me to San Francisco. Of course I hope to get married and have kids as well. But having them when I’m 35 doesn’t mean that they or I will be worse off. Because I’ve ALREADY gone out to live my life. I’ve traveled. Had incredible experiences. And now have a great job that will help me pay off my debt, advance my career and give me the time off I need to still visit a new country every year. (A goal.) If I have a kid or two in my mid-30′s they will be out of the house by my mid-50′s as well… And I honestly think the time I’ve put into developing myself as an individual will benefit any offspring I have as well.

      And finally…I’m a subscriber to living your life to the fullest and living it in the now just as much as planning for the future. I am currently mourning the death of my step-father who raised me with my mom. He was only two years past retiring. If he had also waited to travel and see the world until retirement he never would have gotten to do it.

      I don’t think your 20s are the new teens. I think your 20s are for self discovery and shaping YOURSELF and how you want to live your life. This will look different for everyone.

      • Wow Eliza, perfectly said. Im only 19, obviously I haven’t yet reached my 20s but theres no doubt that I have been thinking about what those years would be like. How do i wanna spend it and what sacrifices am i going to have to make, If I want a “better” life later on? As a guy I wanna believe that my 20s are gonna be full of fun, freedom, and friends and all that, but I can’t ignore the fact that I also want to either go to medical school or into a top position in business. Im still trying to figure out how my 20s is going to look like trying to juggle these two things, but hopefully it works out haha!

        Anyways back to your post, congrats for living the life you wanted to because you actually wanted to live that life. Its great to hear that it worked out in the end with your job, and your still young for 29! You made me really think about how I would hate watching my life pass by as I sit on the sidelines hoping for this “better” future by not living it to the fullest.

  14. Some readers have called this fluff, but I think there are a lot of ground truths here. This trend of people avoiding commitment and responsibility in their 20s is both real and relatively new, prompting psychologists like Dr. Jeffrey Arnett to devote their careers to studying this period of “emerging adulthood” (whereas for prior generations it was just “adulthood”).

    I haven’t read the book, though I will. I wanted to add these addendums to each point anyway.

    (1) It’s not just about working hard, it’s about advocating for yourself. Find some sponsors. I have a good reputation of being a workaholic myself, but just like the author of this post, no one would talk to me about openings until *gasp* I told them I was looking. Then the opportunities started coming — did I want to apply for this or that job? Everyone is busy. Don’t assume they’re thinking about you if you haven’t given them a reason to. (At the same time, don’t be presumptuous. Make sure your “asks” are commensurate with your abilities and track record.)

    (2) You might have seen this article being circulated this summer: http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2012/07/why-women-still-cant-have-it-all/309020/. At least in my corner of the world (the Bay Area) it had women everywhere talking and asking, why couldn’t they have it all, and what has to change to make this possible?

    As a woman in my late 20s, I found this incredibly annoying. Women can’t have it all because there are not enough hours in the day, days in the week, or weeks in the year. Seriously. Anyone who thinks they can have it all without having to make some serious sacrifices is delusional. I think this is something that men get better than women do, but as the article *does* point out, it doesn’t mean that their choices to put work before family, etc., are any easier.

    Now for my addendum: Have all your kids between 30 and 35. This was a hard one for me, since in the last five years, I have gone from wanting to three kids to knowing I can realistically have just one or two. Bummer, sure, but my spouse and I are just too busy right now making sure we have cool jobs. The stay-at-home path is noble, if that’s your thing, but otherwise don’t mommy and daddy track yourself out of a career at 25. (Also, passing along a great tip about the SAH path: never leave entirely, always keep your foot in the door through contracting or consulting, so that people remember who you are.)

    (3) Another reason why to have a sponsor/mentor. I get told a lot that I have good professional skills, but I just emulate what people I admire do. And for those who argued that people in their 30s and 40s go back to school all the time, etc., etc., yes but they are mostly gaining more content knowledge, and I would guess their social skills and predisposition stays much the same. (I also think however that some starters like to start companies without “finishing” them because that is how they get their “fix”. Some neuro researchers have equated this with the fix people get from other addictions like sex or narcotics, just at a lower dose and over a longer period of time.)

    Great article in general. Thanks.

  15. I had all three of my kids in my 20s after leaving college. I ended up being a single mom and worked my ass off. I don’t ever wish I had waited.
    My advice: think about what you want in life and ignore what everyone else tells you to do. Find a mentor, someone you admire (I happened to admire some strong women-mothers who taught me a ton!) and go from there. And stop comparing your life to what everyone else has. I had some tough times in the past 20 years, I’m not going to lie. But I’d do it all the same if given the chance.
    I used to say I had my kids when I was young so I’d still be young when they were old. It’s true. I’m about to walk out the door for a morning run with my 18 year old daughter. No regrets.

    • Great thoughts. Thanks for reading and leaving a comment. This really nails it when you said, “think about what you want in life and ignore what everyone else tells you to do.”

      So true.

      Thanks,
      Jason

  16. For those who had kids and made it in their 20s, I commend them, but I think this is going to be a lot harder for people in their 20s now and those coming up behind them. Tuition is up, the economy and housing market is down, and there are other employers all too eager to give some other twentysomething the job if they even think you have babies on the brain. I do think one should think about what they want to do in life, but I also think being mindful of your resources and circumstances is really important also. The entrepreneurially minded will argue that you can make your own R&C but, in line with ignoring what everyone else is doing, you don’t have to have kids, buy house, etc., etc., in your late 20s just because everyone else has. Opportunities do come up (promotions, travel, etc.) that kids don’t make easy.

    • I think that’s the real message I hope people get. Gather all the facts and make an *active choice* of your priorities realizing what you are sacrificing. It’s often an “either / or” proposition, not a “you can have it all.”

    • Nearly everyone I know my age does NOT do now what they started out doing in their 20s. If a person thinks that life as we know it is going to be the same in 20 years, they are mistaken. It never is. The “way things are done” was incredibly different when my parents were in their 20s to when they were in their 40s. Same with me. My generation had the ‘manufacturing’ way of thinking drilled into our heads with the thought that you must find a job, keep it forever and retire with a pension. Those things just don’t exist now.

      Again, don’t listen to what anyone tells you the rules are. There aren’t any.

      • +1to wendy ….Don’t listen to anyone saying they know the rules….Henry Ford did not save a dime until he was 40. Consider the Lost Generation. The one graduating from college with the hopes they will find professional work where there is few to be had. The economy has been down for 5 years now and that leaves people who were 22 when they graduated right around the age of 27. If you graduated with a masters and it took you till you were 26…..and you couldn’t find a job, then you would be 31. But beware and give up….because you are who you’re going to be and your career is over before it ever started. If what you say is correct then more generations are are screwed than are not. You don’t know any more than anyone else that your 20′s define your whole life. I bet you are in your 20′s and cannot have the reality of someone older than you are. You ideology is the problem. your the one that discriminates people over 40. your the one that preaches the sky is falling to someone over 35. Any way you slice this or back it up or tout in reply’s of “what you meant to say”…just stop talking….i saw what you meant to say. Maybe people who are in their 20′s are listening to you…..and maybe they shouldn’t.

  17. Your article is good assuming the absolute goal of life is to have a career. For some people, it’s not.

    I’m in my mid 20s, and after getting a degree and running a web dev studio for a few years, I’ve packed most of it up to travel the world indefinitely. Funded by freelance development work on the side, which basically keeps my skills *just* in check and makes *just* enough money to survive. My actual career will start in my 30s. And I’ll be far behind. But the idea of burning my mind out now doesn’t interest me 1 bit. I doubt I’ll wake up one day and say to myself “damn, I wish I hadn’t have explored the world and met so many amazing lifelong friends and had so many unforgettable experiences in so many unbelievable places”.

    I’m constantly being exposed to this trend of focusing on the future. It’s like a polar opposite reaction to the “live your 20′s carefree” statement. It’s the “If you start now, you’ll be better off in the long run” statement. Whether that be with a career, children, superannuation, property investment, anything. What ever happened to now? Doing what you feel right at this moment in time? People are so worried about the future so far ahead they forget to enjoy life now. And you know what? I’d rather be happy now. Because in my short life, I’ve found that planning for happiness doesn’t work. I can’t know that what I’m doing will bring happiness and fulfilment in 10 years time. Happiness needs to be experienced here and now. And to me, being happy is the most important thing in life.

    Each to their own, but I think it’s good to remember that a career isn’t the most important thing in life to all people. The best advice isn’t to be completely carefree, or to be completely calculated, it’s about doing what makes you happy and fulfilled with life.

  18. As someone who is 35, and spent my 20s working my ass off rather than “finding myself” or goofing off, I used to regret my decision. When I was actually living through it, I wondered if I was making the right choice. Why was I working a lot of weekends when my friends were out having fun (hell, weeknights too for many of them)? Why was I saving my money rather than buying a BMW? Why wasn’t I racking up credit card to take fun trips around the world?

    But now, at 35, while they struggle as a result of the large credit card debt, no savings, bad health (some of them) , I realize they want different things out of life at this point, but they aren’t set up to get those things. On the other hand, I am pretty well positioned to do everything I want to do for the rest of my life.

    The key is to optimize across your life, not for any single decade. Don’t throw away your 20s so you can have great 40s, but, to your point, too many people today are optimizing their lives around having the best time they can in their 20s, without regard to the the future. They will regret that.

    • I completely agree! I got labeled an “early bloomer” & got asked why I didn’t go out drinking as my hobby of choice like there was something medically wrong with me. In reality, I just knew that I had to make certain choices. I’m still in my 20s but I have a solid job, a dependable husband also with a solid job, and my must-haves (car, health insurance, etc) are met and I have goals & hopes for the future. My friends still go to the bars & have “lame” jobs, and get annoyed when I don’t want to hear them complain about it.

      I love what you said about optimizing your life – just do the best in the current situation. Part of being mature, I guess, is becoming responsible for your situation – you can’t depend on parents, friends, government to come in and completely save you if you mess up (although a support network does help). You’ve got to lay the groundwork yourself.

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  20. I am in my late 20s now, and sometimes feel like I’ve wasted the past 10 years. I got two degrees and good work experience, and had a decent job until recently when I left to relocate with my partner. Finding a new job has been very tough, and I’m not sure what I want to do with the ‘rest’ of my career life. I feel like it’s too late to change/learn etc. I know, really, it’s not. But the sunset of my 20s is a very frightening thing indeed.

  21. I am 29, and feeling depressed and terrified that my 20′s are about over, and I have neither played around and enjoyed them, nor worked in a career that will secure good times down the road. I have been a teacher since graduating college, even going back for a Master’s to try to improve my salary and education. With the fall of the economy and its effect on teacher jobs, I have had to teach preschool now for several years, just to keep a job in my field and not just screw around waitressing, ect. I’m 29, single, and nearly broke., and I didnt even have fun getting there! Now I’m too old to have kids too? :( Somebody tell me it’s really all about your 30′s. lol

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  38. I enjoyed reading the perspectives of various commenters from different age groups and backgrounds. I cannot help but conclude on the merits of moderation and balance. Too many young people today live through their 20s without much thought, not worrying about building solid skills and a strong foundation that will serve them well throughout their life. On the other hand, the 20s are the most critical years to explore the world, improvise, experiment, and cultivate new friends and interests. Can one achieve both? Sometimes, there are compromises to be made, but if they are made with some thought behind them, then these years can be very rewarding!

    I am entering my mid-30s and due to part-upbringing part-circumstances, spent my 20s building a solid career. I did have fun along the way as well, but I miss having lived in different cities across the world, trying different jobs, or different paths just for fun. And as one progresses in one’s career and responsibilities, the stakes of walking out on the given life just to try some novelty only get higher, not lower. Exploring in my 20s would also have been more fun. At the same time, those around me that did gather a lot more experiences in their 20s – like teaching in a foreign country for a few years, or trying a job in a fun city for a few months, or taking a couple of years off just to travel the world – are much more behind in their careers. In terms of savings and building a solid foundation, they will probably never catch up. We look at each other with awe and envy towards the things that we ourselves missed out. Are any of us worse off than the other one? I don’t think so — on the balance we acquired different things that are all valuable. Eventually the explorers will develop a good career (the 30s aren’t too late to build a solid career), and those like me will get their exploring done in different ways (comfortable disposable income and stable job allows for frequent travel and cultivating new hobbies). .

    The key — and I believe what the author is trying to point out — is to recognize your priorities and desires, and work towards those in your precious 20s. Do not squander them away. It is the best period of your life.

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  40. Jason-

    Thank you for taking the time to write this and share your thoughts. I have your book recommendation on the way, and am willing to rise to my own challenge of reading a book bi-weekly. This is my first stop on your site, but as a 25 year old looking for direction, I can’t wait to dig in more…

    Best,
    John

  41. Pingback: Why “figuring it out after thirty” is a terrible idea | The Art of Ass-Kicking

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