A quick question for all of you out there in your late teens or early 20s. What will you do with your extra decade?
Life expectancy in Australia is increasing. See, for example, here. This is likely to continue. So today’s young people will probably have a decade of extra life compared to their parents or grandparents. What are they planning to do with it?
It strikes me that you can take the extra 10 years at either end of your life. But social change means that by default young people are taking it when they are young. On average, young people get married later and start a family later than their parents. This means they have an extra decade to do other things. Many seem to use this extra decade in career building. But I wonder if this is the best use of their time?
An extra decade of ’20s’ provides an opportunity for young people to take risks that become difficult or impossible once they have family commitments. You can start the dream business and it doesn’t really matter if it fails. You can continue with further study because it really doesn’t matter whether you start your career in your early 20s or late 20s. You can carry out your dreams before entering the formal workforce. There are many things that you can do with an extra decade but I do worry that many young people simply waste it.
Ten years is a long time and a lot of extra life. But in your 20s it is also a great time to pursue your dreams.