Just this year, I became an escapee of my twenties.
And while there may have been a pang of regret at feeling old, I’ve got to be honest, I was ready to get on with the next decade. My late twenties were a time that I was not even remotely prepared for. Now I just need a bit of gray hair to make it look like I actually have some life experience.
I’m so glad to be featuring my buddy, Paul Angone today. I was glad to make his online acquaintance a couple of years ago. I was really glad to shake his hand in person and learn that his name is pronounced “An-go-nee.” I was excited when he became a fellow Moody author, and I was psyched to be able to endorse his debut book, 101 Secrets for Your Twenties.
Paul’s new book is a fun, insightful, and best of all – true resource for people swimming in the post-college mire. It’s a great gift for high school or college grads. Today, Paul’s answered a few questions for us. And then, you can share secrets from your twenties – or whatever decade you are in!
Paul, tell us anything we may need to know about you.
I grew up in Colorado as a pastor’s kid and 217,000 miles later am still driving the same Honda Civic Hatchback that was given to me by a church member, God’s way of redeeming all the Sundays I had to sit in the front pew.
I now live in a quaint town called Los Angeles with my amazing wife and two beautiful baby girls, two years old and six months. We get tons of sleep. When I’m not sunning at the beach or reading long, historical novels while my kids attend to chores, I write for my website AllGroanUp.com to help twenty-somethings struggling with “what now?”
In my early twenties I remember feeling like such a failure. Why were all my big dreams and plans mere fairy tales to life’s blunt reality? Was everyone else sailing on the Rock Your 20s Cruise Ship and somehow I’d missed that boat?
So sitting on a not-so-glamorous motel room floor, while traveling for my less-than-ideal sales job, I made a pact with myself, God, and that ’80s floral motel bedspread right next to me: I was going to find the secrets to doing my 20s right. Because up to that point it all felt nothing but wrong.
101 Secrets for your Twenties is the seven-year culmination of that search.
The book ranges from Secret #22 – The grass is always greener on the other side until you get there and realize it’s because of all the manure…
To Secret #35 and our need to be healed from the new OCD — Obsessive Comparison Disorder.
This book is the most honest, hilarious, and vulnerable book I could write about the ups-and-downs of a decade filled with ambiguity.
Why do you think there is this epidemic of young people whose lives just seem to hit the skids instead of soaring after leaving home? A generation or two ago, it seems that people just grew up. Now, people appear to “fail to launch” by the droves. Is this all just perception, or is it real?
Very real. And it’s not just anecdotal stories confirming this trend, there are twenty years of research led by professor Jeffrey Jensen Arnett towards a theory he labeled “Emerging Adulthood.” The average major life markers like getting married, buying a house, having a career, having kids, are all being delayed 5-7 years from years past with an average twenty-something changing jobs nearly eight times in their 20’s. Emerging Adulthood is not just a fad or the complaints of an entitled generation. I think it’s a very real stage of life that needs addressing, especially in the church where this age group seems to exist on the outskirts.
Are we filling the heads of young people with unreasonable expectations about what life will be like after high school, or do they just not listen? What should people in their 20s and 30s reasonably expect their lives to look like?
I think we’re groomed in every way possible to embody unreasonable expectations.
Our whole lives leading up to our 20’s are spent climbing stairs filled with visible signs you’re on the right path. Middle school. High School. College. GradSchool. Each step lined with blue ribbons and gold medals, omens to us that were going to rock the world once we actually enter it.
But at some point in our 20’s we’re kicked down the stairwell. No syllabus. No textbook. No professor with a flashlight to shed light on all the answers. No good grades affirming us that we’re on track.
No, just you and endless amounts of rooms. All you can do is start exploring. And it’s terrifying, if we’re honest.
But the more rooms we go in, the more the maze begins to make sense. I believe our 20’s are about learning how to get lost on purpose with purpose – you can’t explore if you don’t first lose sight of the familiar.
It took my entire 20s to truly understand what became Secret #99 — life in your twenties is more about setting the table than enjoying the feast.
Grab a copy of Paul’s book at Amazon, and tell us your number one secret for your twenties – or whatever decade of life you happen to be rocking at the moment.