Ten Years to Change

As humans, we are given the longest childhood of any species. We have about twenty years grow, learn and develop into mature people, strong enough to leave the nest and survive on our own. The evolutionary gift of twenty years under the wing of a parent has given us what we needed to dominate the landscape. Due to our relatively recent social evolution, however, young men and women have been granted a developmental extension of sorts; not a delayed adolescence, but something I like to call, ten years to change – an opportunity to grow psychologically after we’ve finished growing physiologically.

Today’s generation of 20-somethings, especially women, have more opportunities than ever before. Perceptions of life accomplishment timelines are changing, women who intend to get married or have children someday are no longer expected or required to get started immediately out of adolescence. We do not have to choose between establishing a career and establishing a family anymore because they are not competing for the same decade like they used to. Today our twenties are for being ourselves and bettering ourselves, our thirties are for being who we always hoped to be.

After countless years of buckling down to get good marks in school to set ourselves up for the foretold “good life” and being who our parents told us to be, we reach our twenties and see the world for what it really is. Unsheltered from our families and student discounts for the first time, we are forced, for the sake of our sanities, to figure out who we are and who we want to be.

Many of us take our first optimistic steps as replicates of our parents, complete with all of the morals, mistakes and flaws they instilled in us. Luckily, today we have been given the good fortune to acquire the ability to enjoy a decade of selfish self betterment, something many of our mothers and certainly most of our grandmothers did not. This is the time, for those of us who were too busy being model students during our teenage years, to not only find ourselves, but become ourselves.

Becoming yourself often means you are going to have to break away from your parents and their dreams and ideals for you and for themselves, through you. This is your chance to not become your parents. This is your chance to become a better person, to make goals for your future, to achieve goals from your past, to learn on your own, to grow in a new way, to find your soul mates, to find your dreams, to read, to travel, to do what ever you need to do – for you. Most importantly, this is your one and only chance to have substance.

Past generations may view us as aimless procrastinators, afraid and unwilling to attract our due responsibilities; future generations will view us as those who were brave enough to break the cycle and take a shot at true happiness.