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The Defining Decade: Why Your Twenties…

The Defining Decade: Why Your Twenties Matter--And How to Make the Most of… (edition 2012)

by Meg Jay

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183864,645 (3.89)5
Title:The Defining Decade: Why Your Twenties Matter--And How to Make the Most of Them Now
Authors:Meg Jay
Info:Twelve (2012), Edition: 1, Hardcover, 272 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:2012, non-fiction, NPR, Diane Rehm

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The Defining Decade: Why Your Twenties Matter--And How to Make the Most of Them Now by Meg Jay



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Story time!

I’ve had a really bad track record with therapists. Having been to about 6 different therapists, I’ve come to really distrust them. The last one I had seemed to be working out. She gave me the kick in the pants I needed to get my life back on track back in 2010-2011. She helped me find the courage to move to London. When I returned from London, I kept seeing her so we could deal with the inevitable depression of being back home. During our sessions I found her to be impatient with me at times and at others I felt she wasn’t genuinely interested in what I had to say. Still I kept going until I found out she discussed my sessions with one of my friends who was also seeing her. After that, I cut our sessions for good.

Because I live in a small country and everyone knows everyone, I get incredibly anxious just thinking about finding a new therapist. I became just as anxious when I started reading this book. The future scares the crap out of me. Planning scares me even more because it feels like I am setting myself up for disappointment. Yes, I can be quite the ray of sunshine.

Considering I am going through the longest quarter-life (nearly 30’s) crisis ever, I decided to read this book. It was therapy at my fingertips and at my pace.

Ms. Jay is good at stating the facts and accompanying them with anecdotes of her patients. Most of the time I found her no-nonsense attitude very refreshing. I enjoyed the chapter on work and the concept of identity capital. I also enjoyed the chapter on love. How one must date thinking about the future, not thinking about hookups. The twenties are a supremely important decade that shouldn’t be considered inconsequential. Vital experiences happen plus your brain has one last bout of development at this crucial age.

Other times, like when I reached the fertility chapter, I felt Ms. Jay become extremely judgmental and one dimensional. It brought back memories of that gossipy therapist. It seems to me Ms. Jay doesn’t even contemplate that a life without children could be fulfilling or that not everyone is straight. While she says that most twenty something’s want children (52% of them according to a Pew Survey), there’s a good percentage (I count myself in that percentage that don't) that don’t feel that inclination.

If I could distill this book into the work portion, perhaps even broaden it a bit, it would be a wonderful book. Sadly, because of it's narrow view after the halfway portion, I can't give it a great score. ( )
  lapiccolina | Jun 23, 2017 |
Dr. Jay thoughtfully ties chapters and concepts together with exerpts from real people and work she has seen them complete in therapy. This book helpfully debunks and verifies a range of ideas we hold about millenials today and the trials they face. Consider this an operations manual of sorts for the young adult in your life. If you have struggled to understand why they appear so aimless and how long they may continue along that path this book will become a guiding beacon back to the real world and into social productivity.
  VictoriaBrodersen | Aug 8, 2016 |
I loved this book and the honest, practical tone of Meg Jay's advice. Must read for everyone twenty something! ( )
  meowism | May 17, 2016 |
Abso-freaking-lutely one of the best and most relevant self-help books I've ever read! I strongly recommend it to any and all twenty-somethings who find words like college, professional identity, (first-time-working) anxiety, (online) dating (and dating down), job hunting, urban tribes, personality, marriage, children, planning for the future, and/or many others at all relevant to them!

Now please excuse me while I go find a job. ( )
  MMMMTOASTY | Mar 16, 2015 |
Yup, I read this book. It was good and informative.

But I have to say, the main thing it told me was the stuff I already knew. Which, to be fair, I maybe needed to be told again. But that was the fault of a lot of adults in my network (not my parents, to be clear) making sure I know that I'm still young, and it's fine to have fun, and blah blah blah.

That has always irritated me, because I have always felt like I was missing out. I have never heard my parents regret having a family so young or talk about the things they could have done if they had spent their 20s the way I have spent a good chunk of mine.

Seriously, listen to the people who you know who are in their twenties and decide if they sound happy to you. Compare the ones who are on a solid career path with those who are blundering around trying to figure things out. Because this whole "being young, having fun" thing is way overrated.

And this book is all about that. It's all about young twenty-something people who are torn between all of these cliches and ideas that are fed to them by older influences, like parents, employers, etc. For example, "you can be anything you want," which at some point just makes people feel like they can't be anything, or "You should be having fun!" which makes people think that by partying and taking it easy all the time, they are doing what they are supposed to be doing, even if they don't feel remotely fulfilled.

So basically this book reinforced everything that I already thought/believed but was starting to think I was being unrealistic about, mainly because everybody I know, peers and older role models (not to mention a couple of people I did informational interviews with) said that I shouldn't worry and everything will work out and blah blah blah.

So, you know. This book is good. Recommended, even. ( )
  GraceZ | Sep 6, 2014 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0446561762, Hardcover)

Our "thirty-is-the-new-twenty" culture tells us the twentysomething years don't matter. Some say they are a second adolescence. Others call them an emerging adulthood. Dr. Meg Jay, a clinical psychologist, argues that twentysomethings have been caught in a swirl of hype and misinformation, much of which has trivialized what is actually the most defining decade of adulthood.

Drawing from a decade of work with hundreds of twentysomething clients and students, THE DEFINING DECADE weaves the latest science of the twentysomething years with behind-closed-doors stories from twentysomethings themselves. The result is a provocative read that provides the tools necessary to make the most of your twenties, and shows us how work, relationships, personality, social networks, identity, and even the brain can change more during this decade than at any other time in adulthood-if we use the time wisely.

THE DEFINING DECADE is a smart, compassionate and constructive book about the years we cannot afford to miss.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:20:04 -0400)

Describes why the twenties can be the most defining decade of adulthood and offers tips on making the most of work and relationships during this still-formative time in a person's life.

(summary from another edition)

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