Is There Life After 30?
1 month ago
80 percent of life's defining moments happen by age 35; then what?
"Your 20s are supposed to be the time of your life!" they say.
But, depending on how true that statement is -- or was -- for you, it probably either made you cringe, shed tears or grin like the Cheshire Cat. (And if you haven't hit your 20s yet, keep reading anyway.)
A recent report in Slate finds that "there really is something deeply, weirdly meaningful about this period; [that] we remember more events from late adolescence and early adulthood, with a particular concentration of memories in the early 20s, than from any other stage of our lives."
Your 20s probably brought along with them any number of firsts: your first heartbreak (by someone you thought was "The One," but wasn't), your first hangover that you couldn't recover from as quickly; your first rejection letter (from a dream internship, job, home, or all three), and your first terrible boss (that maniacal narcissist who somehow taught you everything you know, but only in terms of what not to do).
And it's those exact 'firsts' that experts say make the 20s so important.
Slate's Katy Waldman points to a 1988 study in which scientists found that 93 percent of vivid life memories concern "first-time events." And Joshua Foer, author of "Moonwalking With Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything," told Waldman, “You’re going to remember your trip hiking across Peru more than the year you spent sitting in your office doing the same job you’d been doing for the past five years.”
But is the monotony of a job all that life amounts to once you hit the over-30s hump? A mundane routine?
Thirty-five? That's grounds for sheer panic for people of all ages, whether you're quickly inching toward that era or you've already passed it. You're either plagued with pressure to suddenly make the most of your years, or you're fearing that it's too late to do the same.
So is it just a sad reality that our later years can't be as illustrious as our first?
J. Kim Wright, a lawyer, author and self-described "nomad," says don't believe the hype.
"I thought this was a joke," Wright says. "I can barely remember my 20s—so much has happened since."