30 Is Not The New 20

Let me interrupt your regularly scheduled programming to delve into a topic unrelated to fitness for a minute here. This blog is called “Life Support” after all, which should suggest I extend beyond the health and fitness realm, and every once in awhile I do.

I’m only a little over a year away from that pivotal birthday, the big 3-0, and thus have some fresh perspective to impart on all you youngsters.

Life is short. Live each day like it’s your last. I can use every cliche in the book, you all know them, but too often they’re over-used and under-utilized, so I’m going to stop there. But the message they convey is so true.

I’ve been reading The Defining Decade: Why Your Twenties Matter – and How to Make the Most of Them Now by Meg Jay of late, and it really reinforces the perspective that even though we’re living longer lives nowadays, it doesn’t necessarily mean we aren’t wasting years of it going through the motions.

Jay urges twentysomethings specifically to rid themselves of the idea that their 20s are a prolonged adolescence, “30 is not the new 20” from her perspective, with 80 percent of life’s defining moments happening by the time a person is 35. She believes the life decisions you make or don’t make in your 20s set the tone for the rest of your life.

In your 20s, you have immense power over the direction of your life, and the freedom to carry out that power without the restrictions of adulthood (kids, mortgages, more kids etc). Even though I belong to the camp that believes it’s never too late to make a lasting change if you have the will to do it, there’s no doubt your 20s generally allow the best opportunity.


If you are living with a person out of convenience, and know you have no aspirations of spending the rest of your life above ground with that person, get out now and start anew. If marriage and a baby carriage are true goals for you, there is a time limit to accomplish that even with today’s modern medicine. Having children – birth complications notwithstanding – is tough! If you’re 45 and running after a one-year-old, I commend you, but I wouldn’t recommend it.

Think about the qualities you want in a long-term partner while you’re in your twenties, says Jay, and it will hopefully prevent you from rushing into marriage when you turn 30 and alarm bells start going off. It’s funny how a birthday can change one’s perspective, but be proactive in your 20s and you won’t have to feel like life is passing you by.


The same goes for work. If you hate waking up everyday to go to your job right now, start taking steps to find an alternative. Figure out what your true passion is and find a way to get paid to do that everyday. I don’t suggest quitting your day job and living on food stamps while you find out what that is, but make time to focus on your passion outside of work and baby steps will inevitably be taken. It’s only a matter of time before things start falling into place when you make a commitment to change.

Though I may not agree with everything Jay says in the book – hell, not everyone wants marriage and a white-picket fence after all –  the overall message to start living now is a good one. If you aren’t living the life you want to live, wake up and take strides to change that today. Go!


Mitch Calvert is a Winnipeg-based fitness coach for men and women like his former self. Heavyset in his 20s, he lost 60 pounds and now helps clients find their spark and lose the weight for life.