November 24, 2014

The Defining Decade: A Review

I have read  a lot of books this year and while many of them were quite good, two have REALLY stuck with me. The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd is one, which I wrote about here. The other? The Defining Decade: Why Your Twenties Matter — And How to Make the Most of Them Now by Dr. Meg Jay.

I truly believe that our 20’s are our most important decade. It is during that time that we set the foundation for how we live the rest of our years. By no means will we have it all figured out during this time but we at least need a plan. Now I knew this but somehow still needed a push to let me know that I was on the right track, I still had the feeling that there was something else I could be doing MORE of.I stumbled across this book on Instagram earlier this year and after reading great reviews decided to give it a try. I am glad that I did. Using personal stories of her clients and students, but changing their names and certain identifying details, Dr. Meg Jay lets us know what she has learned about the twenty-something years as it relates to work, love and the brain and body.

Here are some highlights:

On why the 20’s our defining decade

“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 our twenties than at any time before or after. The brain caps off its last growth spurt in the twenties. Female fertility peaks at age twenty-eight.”

 

I'm pretty sure I needed a new highlighter after this book.

I’m pretty sure I needed a new highlighter after this book.

WORK

In the work section, Dr. Jay talks about the importance of increasing your identity capital, the strength of ‘weak ties’ and realizing that getting that first job out of college is just the first step in creating your customized life that will eventually lead you to all the things you wish to do.

LOVE

Here she talks about the importance of dating seriously in your 20’s. We tend to  think of our 20’s as the time to just party hard and date whomever comes our way. Too often we do think about compatibility or anything else because we tell ourselves that we still have time to think about it. While it is important to have fun and live your life to the fullest, Dr. Jay talks about how this nonchalant attitude is doing us a disservice because the next thing we know we’re in our 30’s and wondering where all the time went.

There is a very frank chapter on fertility and why women may not really have all the time we think we do. While most of us would prefer not to think about marriage or children until mid 30’s the reality is we have to start thinking about these things NOW. She also discusses how living together might not always be a good thing and how our earlier love decisions follow us.

BRAIN AND BODY

This section is focused on how your brain, body and mind works. Covering a lot of neuroscience research that I wasn’t aware of, aside from talking about the physical brain, she also talks how to calm yourself down and how to develop confidence.

 

 The Defining Decade  is definitely a game changer for everyone in their 20’s. A lot of us in our 20’s assume that life will just come together quickly after thirty, and while that may be the case for some even if it is different that we thought, for the majority of us that is not going to happen. We try to avoid making decisions now in order to keep our options open in the future. This book tells us why this is not a good idea, it dispels a lot of myths and assumptions with the cold truth.

Very true

Very true

If you haven’t read this book, I recommend visiting your local book store or downloading it now.  We can’t wait for the time is right, that will never happen. Now is when we need to act.

Rating: 5 stars

P.S. I have already given my friends forewarning, every one is getting this book for Christmas!

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Natalya