Book: The Defining Decade

I just read The Defining Decade, whose tagline is ‘Why your twenties matter and how to make the most of them now’ by Meg Jay, PhD. I don’t normally do a lot of self now’s reading (read at all), but my sister-in-law recommended this one to me and I’m going to choose to believe that she thinks I have the basic tools necessary and just need a bit more refining as opposed to I am completely misplaced in space, lol.

So this book is divided into 3 sections: Work, Love and The Brain and The Body, two things which the average 20-something thinks about often and a third which they should be thinking about. The first chapter was pretty standard, and the love chapter left me with a couple more questions than answers – for example, there was an interesting bit about choosing your mate, intentionally, and how it relates to choosing your new family. But… where is this mate to be found? Maybe there should have been a dating guide on the side, ha. I find with a lot of my friends the question stays where are the good men/women? Overwhelmingly so. Most people I know haven’t been in serious relationships in their adult life and have no idea how to go about it – also because relationships are such weird soul sucky things that have unique formulas to each one, and so I suppose a dating guide on the side wouldn’t really help.

The third section caught my attention more than the others, towards the end, because of some of the things she was saying.

For one, on fertility:

‘Compared to their twentysomething selves, women are about half as fertile at thirty, about one-quarter as fertile at thirty-five, and about one-eigthth as fertile at forty.’ This is debatable, but the fact is that your fertility plummets after thirty, and even more so after 40. The women who give birth after are apparently the exception to the rule. With that in mind, think about when you want to have babies, then work backwards from how long you want courtship and marriage sans babies to last, and it’s very easy to feel like you’re running out of time… which is kind of unfair, but it is what it is. What else do you need to work backward from? Planning to have a PhD by 40? Are you on a good timeline for that as we speak?

‘Most twentysomethings can’t write the last sentence of their lives, but when pressed, they can usually identify things they want in their thirties or forties or sixties – or things they don’t want – and work backward from there.’ Things I don’t want like brokeness. Yes. So start saving now lol.

And finally:

‘The future isnt written in the stars. There are no guarantees. So claim your adulthood. Be intentional. Get to work. Pick your family. Do the math. Make your own certainty. Don’t be defined by what you didn’t know or didn’t do.

You are deciding your life right now.’

I’d give the book a 6 and a half out of 10.


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