This week, The OC turned 10 years old.

The Backstreet Boys are currently on tour to celebrate their 20th anniversary.

Barney, at age 21, is legal to drink in the United States.

Polly Pocket is 24. (And no longer pocket size, I may add.)

And Mr. Dressup is dead.


What do all these seemingly meaningless pop culture statistics have to do with each other? Well, they are contributing to making us – the collective mid-twenty-something – and, this week, in particular, the Ottawa nuts, feel OLD.

Now, for our over 25 readers, before your eyes roll away from the screen, hear me out. Even Wikipedia (the most trusted source of information for our age demographic, by the way) states that the “Quarter-Life Crisis”, a phenomenon that has already been explored on in a nutshell in the past, particularly affects Generation Y.

Me, us nuts, we are Gen Y.

And furthermore, it is unlikely that, since BuzzFeed was founded in 2006 (the year I graduated high school), and Thought Catalogue in 2010 (the year I graduated university), you – the eye-rolling elder – had to contend with hilarious, yet slightly depressing, reminders like this and this and this, on the daily.

It’s probably for that reason that for my 25th birthday, among the bottles of wine, Starbucks gift cards and spa treatments, I received a book called ‘The Defining Decade’.

Likely meant as a little pick me up, a “seize the day, if you already haven’t”, or a small nudge in the right direction, this GIFT – with the tagline, “Why your twenties matter-and how to make the most of them NOW” – quickly had me reciting lines to my roommate (Kate) in high-pitched tones.

IN A NUTSHELL, if you will ….

“Your twenties matter. Eighty percent of life’s most defining moments take place by age thirty-five. Two-thirds of lifetime wage growth happens in the first ten years of a career. More than half of us are married, or dating or living with our future partner, by age thirty. Personality changes more during your twenties than at any time before or after. The brain caps off its last growth spurt in the twenties. Female fertility peaks at age 28.

Now, beloved readers, I’m not here to talk you on to a ledge. You don’t need to dig out your stash of Sex and the City (which premiered in 1998, by the way) DVD’s, dust them off and think to yourself, THEY were in their mid THIRTIES and were FABULOUS. Well it’s true, Carrie at any age, and hairstyle, was/is mega fab, but what I’ve had to remind myself – and my no-longer-a-child childhood friends – often, since turning the big 2-5  is that, for the most part, we’re doing okay.

As we mask our trepidation for where we’re at and where we could/should be, with elaborate birthday parties, break-the-bank work outfits, age-appropriate styled apartments and an array of hobbies that we’re sure will look good on our resume of life, we all also make those mental checklists of what we’ve yet to accomplish.

But, let me ask you this: Is there anyone you know – within your circle of friends, and age bracket – that you’re absolutely and completely jealous of? One person who you would trade lives with in a second? All the marbles – the good, the bad, the ugly? Okay fine, maybe there’s one or two. Maybe they have a golden retriever puppy, a brand new home, a model fiancé and a good paying job – but for the most part, age twenty-something means learning you can’t do it all.

Maybe you’re focusing on your career, your relationship, paying off debt, buying a house, traveling, living it up before it’s too late…  but what you’re NOT doing is: all of the above.

Because it’s impossible.

It’s impossible to traipse around Europe and come home to a full bank account and designer home. Or to spend every night closing down the bar, arm and arm with a circle of tequila tipsy friends and be the business mogul you aspire to be. Or vice versa.

The hardest part about being the same age as Miss. Polly Pocket is just accepting the thing you’ve been told since you met her on your fifth birthday: you can’t have your cake and eat it too. But as long as you’re chomping away at part of it, well, in my completely unprofessional, yet, encouraging books, you’re probably in better shape than you think you are.

And I don’t mean that resolution each and every one of us have to lose at least 10 lbs.

I just mean that while your best friend is buying a home, or getting engaged, or packing their bags, or getting promoted it’s probably okay to be happy with whatever you are currently accomplishing.

Because I’d bet money, someone, at least partly, wishes they were in your shoes.

Sing it, Jay…


  1. Carry Quigley says:

    Loved this :)

  2. Julia Kent says:

    RIGHT, I get what you’re saying… but the book isn’t saying “do everything perfectly”… it’s saying “make good decisions in your 20s because they will shape the rest of your life”. You don’t have to have found your soul mate, have the perfect job and own a home all in your 20s… but you DO need to choose your family wisely, find a job that contributes to your resume in a forward-thinking way, and start saving for your future. The books is trying to teach us to stop wasting our 20s.

  3. Rebecca says:

    I really enjoyed this blog entry! :) You capture how my friends and I feel now that university is over and done with and we are entering into the “real world.” Thanks for the advice and positive outlook.

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