Your Third Decade – Ages 20-29

People in their twenties sitting around a fire pit on a beach.

Twenty-something friends hanging out.

By Maureen Santini © Copyright 2018-2019. All Rights Reserved.

Your third decade of life spans ages 20 to 29 – often challenging years. Begin writing about this decade with the year of your twentieth birthday. If you were born in 1950, for instance, your third decade began in 1970.

For many people, their twenties were an extension of their teens in the sense that they were still in school and/or living at home. For others, the twenties were a major turning point in the sense that they had completed their education, at least for the time being, and were beginning a new life.

People in their twenties frequently must make decisions likely to have a long-lasting impact on life, according to Ida Khamesy, MA, LMFT. Feeling in limbo and experiencing decision anxiety are typical during the twenties.

During your twenties, you may have begun or completed college or vocational school, enlisted in or left military service, worked at a variety of jobs or begun a career. You may have been single or you may have married and had a family. Whatever your situation was, write about it in detail.

Basics

Start by capturing basic information. List the addresses of your residences during this decade along with the names of others in the household.

Talk about your basic routine, including naming places you frequented such as churches, schools, restaurants, sports arenas, museums, and parks.

Education and Training

If you were in college or vocational school, write down the name of the institution, your area of study, addresses of your residences, extracurricular activities and highlights of these years. Was your overall educational experience positive or not? Did you also work? Did you know your area of study or was it difficult to narrow down? How did you pay for school? Did you graduate? Why or why not?  

Name those who were most influential at this time, including instructors, mentors, bosses, friends, and relatives. Why were these people important?

Family

Identify the people in your family you spent the most time with, such as parents, siblings, grandparents, and so forth, if you were single and/or living at home. If you were married and had children, write about your courtship, wedding, and the births of your children along with your experience of parenthood.

Relationships

If you were not married at this point, describe your social life, including names of significant others and friends. Who were those most influential in your life and why? Where did you spend most of your time and with whom? Talk about your main activities during this time.

Work

Military

If you were in the military during this decade, describe the training you received, the places you were assigned, your duties, rank, and experience. Were you drafted or did you enlist? Did you envision the military as a career and/or a training ground for a future career? Did you experience combat or near combat conditions?

Jobs

Whether you embarked on a career path in your twenties or worked at a variety of jobs, list each employer by name and date along with your duties. Did you envision these jobs as temporary until you figured out your future or did you know you had found your work niche?

Skills, Hobbies, Interests

Write about your main hobbies and interests in your twenties. Name organizations and clubs you belonged to. Were you in a band, on a baseball team, in a book club, coaching youth, playing darts at local bars? Did you follow fashion, movies, television programs, or sports? Were you traveling to new places and/or learning new skills and hobbies?

Health and Welfare

Were you generally healthy or facing health challenges? Were close family members healthy or facing health issues? Describe physical, mental and emotional problems you or those close to you faced and how you dealt with them.

Current Events

Describe your level of awareness of current events in your twenties. Explain your involvement in or concern about events such as the economy, natural disasters, elections, and wars.

Future Outlook

From this vantage point, what were your expectations for the future? Were you saving money to purchase a house? Were you paying off education loans? Was your work fulfilling or were you planning to switch to a different job?

Conclusion

Looking back, describe ways in which you and your focus changed from the beginning of your third decade to the end.

Well done! Next up: your fourth decade

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