A copy of “The Defining Decade” by Dr. Meg Jay held up from a New York street against Times Square buildings.

The Defining Decade: A Book Review

By Ally Bolender
Web Content Contributor

“The Defining Decade” is a book every 20-somethings needs to give a read—it would be an understatement if I didn’t say this book completely changed the course of my life.

Author Dr. Meg Jay reflects on more than 10 years of private practice with hundreds of 20-somethings to compose a book on how to make the most out of your 20s without feeling like the years flew by.

A copy of “The Defining Decade” by Dr. Meg Jay laid on top of yellow flowers.
Book recommendation: “The Defining Decade” by Dr. Meg Jay. Photo by Ally Bolender.

Jay focuses her insight on four major sections of life: work, love, and the brain and body. Drawing on 10 years of work, Jay uses her clients as examples to challenge the “30-is-the-new-20” culture.

She argues that your 20s are the most important ones yet. Your brain is still developing, so how you perceive success, love and relationships in your 20s has a strong impact on the rest of your life. It is important to set yourself up in this transformative period in order to have a better life ahead.

Imagine where you want to be in 10 years, and look what you’re doing now. Are you on the right track to accomplish your goals, or are you idly pursuing everyday tasks for short-term satisfaction?

Jay uses psychological arguments to explain the obscure desires and feelings people in their twenties have. She helps bring reason to why some work in a coffee shop for years after receiving a degree, or why some 20-somethings feel severely unconfident in a job they are qualified for.

Jay does not say that young people in their 20s who don’t have a steady job are doing it wrong, or that thinking about a career or love later in life is a bad thing. She merely emphasizes that all our actions have consequences, and if you want a career and children in your 30s–you have to start preparing now. Jay has the experience to direct her readers with truth, and provides a tremendous amount of insight that will surely better you life, regardless of your age.

“The Defining Decade” tells it like it is with no room for sugar-coating. I found Jay’s straightforward approach not off-putting, but both motivating and eye-opening. Overall an extremely useful book for adults that are about to form decisions that will impact the rest of your life.

In your 20s, you are no longer an emerging adult or an extended adolescent. Your days aren’t broken up by classes, you don’t have a curfew, and you will probably feel like a minor character in your own play, but this book will give you the direction you didn’t even know you needed.

Featured image by Ally Bolender.

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