A Must-Read Insightful Book For the Twenty-Somethings

Perhaps the much needed advice to prevent the onset of a quarter-life crisis

Earlier this year I read an amazing book called ‘The Defining Decade’ by Meg Jay which I think gave me a wake-up call & many important things to think about regarding my life. After reading the book, it really made me reflect & evaluate some of my approaches across areas of my life. I certainly feel much more self-aware after reading this book.

I definitely think it would be a great read for anyone currently in their 20s. However, even if you are not I feel that it still has many useful words of advice & lessons to learn from which can be applied to your life.

The author Meg Jay, is a clinical psychologist who specialises in adult development, typically in the 20-something age bracket. In the book she embeds her clinical experience, life experience & interesting stories from her previous clients to help convey particular messages & teach insightful lessons.

One thing I loved about the book is that from my perspective, it felt like an ongoing therapy session. In many ways this felt comforting & I felt seen, less alone in my difficulties & I feel like this is the helping hand you often need in your life. I also felt that my feelings & concerns were validated concerning adulthood. Feelings about career confusion, feelings of being lost & feelings of anxiety about making big decisions. The author interestingly explored a variety of topics including work, love, the brain, our emotions & more. Also, being someone that enjoys psychology & sociology, there were some interesting theoretical explanations & studies which were discussed.

A key theme I felt echoed throughout the book was the idea of having INTENTIONALITY in your 20s & I do agree with this. The idea of trying to be purposeful about your actions & goals.

“Feeling better doesn’t come from avoiding adulthood, it comes from investing in adulthood”

– Meg Jay, The Defining Decade

One of the many key life lessons which was re-emphasised to me from this book is the importance of networking in adulthood. I need to implement this! What was discussed in particular was the strength of what are referred to as “weak ties” – which may be people we’ve met or spoken to briefly, but may not know extremely well. The rationale behind this is that these people give us access to new ways of thinking & expose us to new ideas as they are not linked to our circle of familiarity. Therefore, they are more likely to know things we don’t & be linked to opportunities we may be unaware of.

Weak ties also force us to communicate in a different type of way than we are familiar with & encourage us to use what is referred to as “elaborated speech”, which is regarded as being more thoughtful & reflective than the everyday speak or restricted vocabulary/slang we may use with our close friends. Therefore, networking & connecting with weak ties are seen as a great, conducive opportunities for our growth.

Overall, I found this book quite thought-provoking & I think it will push me to challenge myself to take authority in many areas in my life & push me to try harder to embrace change, discomfort & uncertainty but also input useful action. I think everyone that reads this book will take something unique away from it.

“The future isn’t written in the stars. There are no guarantees. So claim your adulthood. Be intentional. Get to work. Pick your family. Do the math. Make your own certainty. Don’t be defined by what you didn’t know or what you didn’t do. You are deciding your life right now.”

– Meg Jay, The Defining Decade

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