By Natalie Cosgrove There are currently 50 million twenty-somethings out there in the world, and that’s 15% of the adult population (100% of the adult population if you consider that all adults were once in their twenties). That’s a heck of a lot of people that have been told over and over again that their 20s are a time to have fun and “hang loose,” that basically these years are a free pass before adulthood starts. Meg Jay counters that notion in her book The Defining Decade: Why Your Twenties Matter and shares poignant insight on how these years are not to be wasted! You may recognize Meg Jay’s name from her TED Talk, Why 30 is not the new 20. Watching the talk was great, and there are some key takeaways from it, including the three things that all twenty-somethings need to hear:
There are so many interesting things to be learned from in Jay’s book too, including statistics on “the cohabitation effect” that describes how moving in together before engagement can be detrimental to a long-term commitment: a twenty-something’s frontal cortex in the brain is not fully developed, and this can be why it’s more difficult to make good choices. Jay also provides specific details on fertility and insight that there really isn’t as much time for family planning if you’re putting off even considering your options until your 30s. While this book can seem at times to be a little too “self-help,” it also a roadmap for twenty-somethings and a cautionary tale of how valuable this decade is to your overall life satisfaction. Great pearls of wisdom and quotations that make for excellent opportunity to reflect are sprinkled throughout the book. One of the best is, “When we try to do something new, we don’t know what we’re doing. That’s the biggest challenge,” by Jeffrey Kalmikoff, which strikes a chord with the unsteady nature of learning to adjust to new circumstances. Reading a book like this can really open up some doors for making the most of your 20s. Taking time to understand your Big 5 personality profile and how that can be defining in your love life as well as thinking critically about your career choices are topics Meg Jay spends pages and pages sharing insight on. Whether you’re in a rut and looking to make a change or just skeptical of some choices in your life, this book is a great resource.
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