The GenTwenty Podcast Episode 3: Your Early 20s vs Your Late 20s

In this episode, Nicole and Marina discuss their 20s and the difference they’ve seen in the decade of their 20s.

We’ve both seen changes in mentality over the last ten years and on the podcast we agree that now we feel vastly different than we did when we were 22. Why is that? 

For one, your brain is still developing throughout your twenties. And, as our brains grow they are also growing in reaction to the things we experience in our early twenties, which affects the development process and it’s why our twenties can have such a profound impact on our lives. 

From this Bustle article, “Your Brain Is Still Growing In Your Twenties,” we learned:

All of your really complex thinking takes place in the prefrontal cortex of your brain, where high-level cognitive processing happens — but the area handles a lot of other functions, too, covering everything from language ability to emotional intelligence and controlling impulses. And throughout our twenties, it gets better and better at its job — not by growing, but by oiling the works, so to speak. —JR Thorpe”

So, if you’re 23 and feel like everything is harder every day, then hang on tight. The good news? Your brain keeps improving upon itself. The bad news? It takes time.

At the posting of this article and podcast episode, Nicole just turned 30, and Marina just turned 29, and they both agree how much better they feel as “adults” in their late-twenties and early-30s. Like, we-couldn’t-even-imagine-this-better. In your late 20s there is a fundamental shift of your perceived self, and the confidence that might have once been missing about “how” or “what” it meant to be an adult has slowly (but finally) appeared. 

That isn’t to say by the time we hit 30 we’ve made it or arrived or are perfect, or any other perceived “goal” that society has told us we must meet by the time we hit a specific numbered age. It just means, for most, that we’ve finally come into who we are, and are learning to embrace it rather than avoid or change it.

One really big thing we talked about on the podcast is that with age comes the ability to set boundaries, and how extremely important it is to be able to do so. Boundaries are not always physical parameters—they can be emotional, mental, and personal limits that you set for yourself. With learning to set boundaries for yourself of what you want to do or are willing to tolerate, you learn to put yourself first, and that is how you have a healthy relationship with yourself. Being able to say “no” to the event you don’t want to attend or the activity you don’t have the energy for is how you learn to take care of yourself. Saying “no” to the toxic people in your life is how you show yourself you deserve better and are worthy of kindness and good relationships. But it takes time, and it takes practice. We are not meant to overextend ourselves until we disintegrate. We are not robots.

With time comes wisdom and experience, too, and so our late twenties start to look a little different (and a little better!) because we’ve seen more of life, we’ve tested the waters as adults and grown into things. Again, it isn’t to say that things magically get better or get easier, but with time and experience comes practice and understanding. 

If you’re struggling right now, and thinking to yourself “I can’t wait until I am X age” we just want to say: It gets better. Hang on. Work through this moment, right now.  

For our readers who have reached their late 20s and beyond, what do you think? Have you seen a big change? We’d love to know in the comments below!

Continue reading about your 20s from the writers of GenTwenty:

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