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So, last year I read a lot of books, including self help books and I had some strong opinions. Recently I finished Meg Jay’s The Defining Decade and it made me think a lot about self-help, my twenties, and what expectations come with this time in my life.
A lot of people think their twenties is the time to date whoever they want and have a good time, Meg Jay thinks that it is a time to date intentionally, and I think that it’s literally a time to do what you literally want to. I’ve been dating the same person seriously for four years, I don’t think that’s how everyone is built. The pressure to find a partner and get married is taxing. If it’s a priority for you, this book has great advice on how to prioritize important things during this time. If it’s not, that is great for you. Enjoy and stay safe ♥️.
Maybe I’m living in a fantasy land, or maybe it’s just the pandemic mindset, but some of this book’s conversation about career and ambitions frustrated me. Meg Jay occasionally wrote like people who are underemployed are there by choice when statistically, that’s just not true. This is made even more frustrating by the fact that she balances anecdotes with facts so well in other parts of The Defining Decade. But alas, your twenties is the best time to start your career and build some financial stability, I feel like most people know that and that jobs are not really a part of that “you twenties are for fun” concept but who knows, maybe I’m naive.
Is Twenty the New Thirty?
The above phrase feels like Meg Jay’s jumping-off point for this book and, I have to disagree with her idea that it is not. People are living longer than ever and we have not adjusted our life expectations to match up with the reality of life timelines. The cost of living has risen exponentially while wages have stagnated, so starting a family later in life is a financial stability issue likely more than just “delaying” it because you’re young. Also, on average women tend to make less when they have families, so Jay’s point that the twenties are a time for some of the most wage growth and the fact that the late twenties is also a time when a woman has some of the best outcomes when starting a family also conflict.
Setting a strong foundation in early adulthood is incredibly important, but it’s also not as do or die as Jay makes it feel at times.
What’s Your Point Syd?
Everything in this book should be taken with a grain of salt, but she does create a compelling argument with a few gems. I feel like a bit of nuance is missing from this book, but for anyone in their early 20s, it’s still a compelling read.
Also check out my YouTube video on the same topic for more of my thoughts!