The Defining Decade

The Defining Decade

Why Your Twenties Matter--And How to Make the Most of Them Now

The Review:

I read Dr. Meg Jay''s Ny Times piece on co-habituation (.

) which lead me to ordering her book. I received it yesterday and read it in one sitting. So, I think it''s pretty nice.

As a twenty something, I would advise "The Defining Decade" to my buddies and even those still in high school. Dr. Jay teaches lessons about how to ideally method one''s twenties and why it actually matters. She interweaves research, stories, and counseling sessions with her patients to make a thought provoking but simple book to read.

In many of those patients, I saw my buddies or myself. There was the twenty something coffee barista still waiting for the right opportunity to come by. There was the awesome and successful, girl chronically hooking up and never dating because she''s still plagued with teenager, self-image issues. There was the bicycle store guy wanting to be original and afraid of settling down.

What they all have in common is this intense desire to know, Am I going to make it? And what the hell should I be doing in my twenties? School was so simple, but life is so difficult. This book isn''t a step by step guide. It won''t go into how to systematically meet guys/girls, get over depression, or how to do well on an interview. There are a lot of books on getting into the details.

Instead, this is a thought provoking book aimed against the popular twenty something zeitgeist today that, we can do anything, there''s always time, and I have until 30 to get my life together. Not to mention the million other stories we tell ourselves like, I''m never going to get nice at this, It''s better to wait rather than select, or Everyone on Facebook is doing better than me. In a sense, "The Defining Decade" is like Rich Father, Poor Father to individual finance. They are paradigm shifting books that sweep away the false assumptions and beliefs we purchased from our babyhood and culture and replace them with solid, real principles on how reality operates.

This book isn''t going to do the heavy lifting for you, only you can do that. This book is the starting point to begin living one''s twenties with drive, clarity, and purpose. The book itself is divided into three sections: Work, Like, and The Brain and the Organism. Work talks about increasing your identity capital, the value of weak ties, that you know what you wish even though you think you don''t, the unhelpful prevalence of Facebook comparisons, and seeing a career as the first step in a unique, customized life versus settling down.

Like goes into the importance of taking dating seriously in your 20s, compatibility with likely in-laws, how to make confident living together isn''t harmful, and choosing the right partner. The Brain and Organism is sort of a misc. collection of pieces centered on how your brain, organism, and mind operates. The Brain and Organism module also covered plenty of neuroscience research I wasn''t aware of.

ie, your brain undergoes a radical period of reconfiguration in your 20s which means now is the best opportunity for learning skills. Or, the frontal cortex that controls plenty of our mature responses such as regulating emotions is still developing for most people in their 20s. Besides the physical brain, Dr. Jay also talks about the mind such as learning how to calm yourself down, how to develop confidence (rather than believing it''s fixed), and that you can radically alter how you feel by changing parts of your life.

It also has a very frank section on fertility and that ladies don''t have as much time as they think to have kids. The final section before the epilogue talks about mapping your years to see how limited your time truly is. It seems common for many young people to talk about getting their career in order or going to graduate school eventually, getting married, and having children but not all simultaneously. Except, when you''re 25 or 27 saying this, you''re rapidly running out of time.

It''s difficult to convey in a review how nice the book is. This is the book I want I could have written in ten years. Not just because of the advice, but because of the patient interviews. I found myself agreeing and sharing the same Pov as the patient many times but via the counseling session, it was almost like I was sitting there and seeing my own assumptions fall apart and seeing the truth for what it actually is.

This book doesn''t knock you over the head with what Dr. Jay thinks is right but starts from where you already are and lets you see for yourself the issues in your logic. Just as any nice psychologist does. This isn''t your run of the mill advice book.

There''s plenty of popular myths and assumptions that "The Defining Decade" dispels with cold, difficult truth. I''m a self-help addict, and there was a lot of new data I never heard or thought of before. The underlying message in all the stories and sections is start living your life now. Take responsibility.

Don''t believe the lies that your twenties don''t matter or that confidence is only innate. For most people, the late night parties, pointless jobs, and random hookups won''t be what create your identity, what you care about or remember in the future. If anything, as Billy in the book says, you will perhaps feel betrayed that you wasted the best years of your life doing all the meaningless things that culture and others mislead you to believe most hight-priority. So, start getting ready now because the investments (or lack thereof) that you do in your twenties will have the greatest impact in your career, marriage, and overall happiness.

As she ends the book, 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 didn''t do. You are deciding your life right now.

People who download this book also download:

- The Wounded Heart
- Use Your Brain to Change Your Age
- Spontaneous Happiness
- A Bittersweet Season
- The Gift of Years