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Your 20s: The Defining Decade

Updated: Jul 25, 2020

The Defining Decade: Why Your Twenties Matter and How to Make the Most of Them Now

By Ph.D. Meg Jay 

I recently read this book for one of my classes. And it is absolutely worth your time, it's one of the best books I've read. It's well written and easy to read. 

Here are my spark notes!

"80% of life's most defining decisions are made by age 35" 

Consider that. Yikes! You should smack whoever told you to go find yourself in your 20s and fall off the grid in pursuits of finding your soul. The reality is that what you do in your 20s has a significant impact on the jobs you get, the money you make, the person you marry, and your overall happiness. 30 is not the new 20, no matter what the news says. 

Dr. Meg Jay has spent her life studying 20-year-olds. And my biggest takeaways from her book were in these sections: 

Identity Capital

In your 20s you build the connections to those who will offer you jobs and that will help you move up in the world. You start building a foundation for that resume that you'll have to use. You do not want to be 30 years old and only have one restaurant serving job on your resume. 

Weak Ties & the Urban Tribe

Strong ties are those who are connected to us directly, best friends, family, co-workers, etc. But you've heard, "it's all about who you know" before, and it's true when it comes to jobs. A weak tie or friend of a friend is more likely to offer you a job than a strong tie. This is the time to branch out and call your dad's best friend’s sister who works for your dream company. 

The urban tribe is the family you select in your twenties, your best friends. Be wary of this group, although it's great to have them for support, and to lean on, they think just like you and don't challenge you to grow to your full potential. Branch out!

Your Brain

You will have your last and final brain growth spurt in your 20s. This is your last chance if you want to truly change aspects of your personality and or the way you think. Use this time for self-growth, self-reflection, and self-projection. 

Dating Down

Don't move in with someone you wouldn't marry, that's the bottom line, millennials. Be intentional about who you date. You may think that you've got all this time to find your person. You are wrong. 30 comes fast, and by then most of the good picks are gone. Sorry to be so forward! But that's the truth.

Fertility Peaks

Yowza. This section sucked to read. The fact is this, you are your most fertile between ages 25-30, period. point. blank. And if you want to start thinking about kids at 30, it may be too late. After 30, women lose fertility by 50% each year. And men, you don't get off so easy either. The sperm you create in your 20s will yield smarter/stronger children. Old sperm is a real thing. 

Forward Thinking

You may think this is the time to explore, travel, and see the world. And it might be. But don't be stupid. You don't want long lapses of time between jobs on your resume. This is the time to work hard and build a foundation that has to hold for the rest of your life. 

This book is honestly great for all ages, even if you aren't 20. You know a 20-year-old, work with one, or love one.

Read the book. You won't regret it. 

"The future isn't 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" p. 173

Here is my 20-minute presentation of the book in my online class! You get the idea if you listen to the first three minutes.


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