The Defining Decade – Book Review


Today I’m going to talk about this awesome book I just finished reading. It’s The Defining Decade by Meg Jay. I loved it a lot. Meg is a genius.


I’m someone who learns from other experiences, whether it’s my own or other peoples, and this book is perfect for that because its a psychology book and she shares some of her clients stories along with commentary on how to live your life better in your twenties.

I’m guilty of it, and I’m sure you are too. Even though I got married at 20, I still had the idea that most of the important stuff happens in your thirties. That’s how society makes it seem. But in reality most of the biggest decisions you make should be in your twenties.

This book is made for twenty-somethings. So if you’re reading this and you’re a twenty something, you should read it. It talks about how we need to get our life together and start making decisions now, instead of getting in the mindset, “I’ve got my whole life ahead of me, I’ll do it in a few years.”

Think about it, you’re right out of college and not knowing exactly what you want to do, so you stick with your part time job and pick up some more hours to fill your time. While you’re doing that, a good stepping stone job is given to someone else, and you’re wasting your time at your part time job… But you don’t have to start saving for retirement, or actually making a salary yet, because you’re only 22. You’ll figure it out in a few years. Fast forward, you’re 27 still working the part time job? Now what?

Time flies, it really does. This book kind of gives you a life check on what to do next and how to get there. It gives direction in the steps you need to take.

I’d almost guarantee one of the stories shared in this book you’ll be able to relate to.

This book doesn’t only talk about getting serious with your work, it also talks about getting serious with relationships and you body + mind. If you haven’t bought it yet what are you waiting for?

I’m going to just flip through my book at share some of the stuff I’ve underlined.

“This leaves many thirty- and fortysomethings feeling as if they have ultimately paid a surprisingly high price for a string of random twentysomething jobs. Midlife is when we may realize that our twentysomething choices cannot be undone.”  pg. 13

“… I felt a lot of internal pressure to figure it out, but all the thinking I did was really debilitating and unproductive. The one thing I have learned is that you can’t think your way through life. The only way to figure out what to do is to do — something.” pg. 15

“Perhaps the single best thing we can do to make our own luck in our twenties is to say yes to our weak ties, or give them a reason to say yes to us.” pg. 31

“I think he knew that making a choice about something is when the real uncertainty begins. The more terrifying uncertainty is wanting something but not knowing how to get it. It is working toward something even though there is no sure thing. When we make choices, we open ourselves up to hard work and failure and heartbreak, so sometimes it feels easier not to know, not to choose, and not to do. But it isn’t.” pg. 31

“Not making choices isn’t safe. The consequences are further away in time, life in your thirties or forties.” pg. 40

“Shoulds can masquerade as high standards or lofty goals, but they are not the same. Goals direct us from the inside but shoulds are paralyzing judgements from the outside. Goals feel like authentic dreams while should feel like oppressive obligations. Should set up a false dichotomy between either meeting an ideal or being a failure, between perfection or settling. The tyranny of the should even pits us against our own best interests.” pg. 47

“”I don’t want to settle for some ordinary thing.” And I would say, “I’m not talking about settling. I’m talking about starting. Twentysomethings who don’t get started wind up with blank résumés and out-of-touch lives only to settle far more down the road. What’s so original about that?”” pg. 58

“Older spouses may be more mature, but later marriage has its own challenges. Rather than growing together while their twentysomething selves are still forming, partners who marry older may be more set in their ways. And a series of low-commitment, possibly destructive relationships can create bad habits and erode faith in love. And even though searching may help you find a better partner, the pool of available singles shallows over time, perhaps in more ways that one.” pg. 74

“Twentysomethings who aren’t at least a little scared about their relationships are often the ones who are being the least thoughtful.” pg. 87

“Life stories with themes of ruin can trap us. Life stories that are triumphant can transform us.” pg. 109

“Because our twenties are the capstone of this last critical various, they are, as ones neurologist said, a time of “great risk and great opportunity.” The post-twentysoemthing brain is still plastic, of course, but the opportunity is that never again in our lifetime will the brain offer up countless new connections and see what we will make of them. Never again will we be so quick to learn new things. Never again will it be so easy to become the people we hope to be. The risk is that we may not act now.” pg. 141

“With age comes what is known as a positivity effect. We become more interested in positive information, and our brains react less strongly to what negative information we do encounter. We disengage with interpersonal conflict, choosing to let it be, especially when those in our network are involved.” pg. 150

There are so many quotes I skipped over, because if I wrote all the quotes I loved in here I would write the whole book.

I hope you found this useful, and READ THE BOOK. IT’S AWESOME.





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