Today a member of our community sent me a link to a TED talk she had listened to which she thought I might be interested for my son, a new college graduate. It was by Meg Jay, a psychologist, and it is called “Why 30 is not the new 20.” You can listen to it here
You may have seen the stories and news blurbs asserting that folks in their twenties are entering this new period of extended adolescence. No longer should we be expecting young adults to work, have a place of their own, find love, make commitments, start families. The new world order calls for an extended period of “finding oneself.” Wrong, Jay asserts.
She goes on to invite people in their 20s to do three things:
- Get identity capital. Do something that adds value to who you are.
- Use your weak ties. Expand your circle beyond your besties. If you huddle together with folks who think like you, speak like you, etc. you are less likely to find a great job, find a love, discover new interests. It is by reaching out to your neighbor’s boss that you will find that new job.
- Pick your family. You are preparing for your family by the choices you make in your choices of sexual partners right now.
As Christians our baptismal covenant requires us to build our identity capital through spiritual practice, storytelling, reconciliation, works of service and social justice. By being part of a congregation, Christians of all ages are put in the way of weak ties—somebody knows a healer, someone with a place to rent, knowledge of who is hiring. Many of us also find our partners at church or through church members. As church we also serve as community to one another, sometimes with bonds as strong as family.
May all of us have the wisdom to be creating our identities, regardless of our ages.