“Twenty-somethings are very prone to what’s called present bias. So are all humans, which is what procrastination is about, and oil consumption and overspending … I think thinking about ‘later’ is very scary for 20-somethings, because they don’t have a lot of experience doing that. So, a lot of what I do with clients is not give them advice as much as ask very pointed questions: “What is it that you want?” “Where would you like to be in five or 10 years?” “Do you want to get married?” “Do you want to have kids?” “What do you want your job to be?” … These are questions that no one asks 20-somethings because they know it scares them. But deep down, 20-somethings want people to ask them these questions because they know they need to figure it out.” —Dr. Meg Jay, The Defining Decade
If you’ve been following this blog for a while, you know that talking about Adulthood and Growing Up are some of my favorite subjects. When a friend recommended this book to me, The Defining Decade, I got a little anxious: am I so transparent? Do I need ANOTHER book to tell me how to think about my life? What could this book offer that I haven’t heard a thousand other places?
But, ya know. It’s actually pretty good book. And not just ‘cause I like this kind of thing.
If you’re in your twenties (ESPECIALLY if you just graduated) you need to read this book. 1. It’ll make you feel a lot better to know you’re not alone with the idea that growing up can be scary and 2. she doesn’t try to tell you what to do; she only gives advice on things to think about and the science behind why the 20s are so important.
We know that 80 percent of life’s most defining moments happen by age 35. We know that 70 percent of lifetime wage growth happens in the first 10 years of a career. We know that more than half of Americans are married or living with or dating their future partner by 30. Our personalities change more in our 20s than any other time. Our fertility peaks. Our brain caps off its last growth spurts … The things that we do and the things that we don’t do are going to have an enormous effect across years and even generations.
To be fair… I didn’t love everything in the book. Some sections were more applicable than others and I didn’t always agree with her advice, but on the whole it’s something I would recommend whole-heartedly.
Twenty-somethings are worried. They’re anxious. They’re worried about whether life is going to work out for them. Whether it’s going to work out as well as they thought it would … But the thing to do about that is to realize that my 20s are really the time to make my own certainty, and to make sure that yes, my life is going to work out because I’m starting to put the pieces together in an intentional way.