Megan (Keira Knightley) in the film Laggies (now on DVD) could stand to read Dr. Meg Jay‘s The Defining Decade: Why Your Twenties Matter—And How to Make the Most of Them Now (2012). Check out The Defining Decade book reviews: it’s been a hit. Jay’s specialization, you see, is the anxieties of twentysomethings.
“In one way or another,” says Jay, “almost every twentysomething client I have wonders, ‘Will things work out for me?’ The uncertainty behind that question is what makes twentysomething life so difficult, but it is also what makes twentysomething action so possible and so necessary. It’s unsettling to not know the future and, in a way, even more daunting to consider that what we are doing with our twentysomething lives might be determining it.”
An article by Jay in The Huffington Post offers a list of how “twentysomethings screw up their lives.” Offered below with excerpts:
1. Spending all your time with your urban tribe–you’re not at Burning Man! “…The urban tribe is overrated. Twentysomethings who won’t ask outsiders for advice and favors and invitations fall behind those who will.”
2. Hoping that Powerball ticket will make your dreams come true. “…The question twentysomethings really need to ask themselves is ‘What would I do with my life if I didn’t win the lottery?'”
3. Stalking on Facebook (and then sulking at home). “…See Facebook pages for what they are, as one of my clients calls them: ‘self-advertisements.’ You have to be aware of what you’re seeing–and what you’re not seeing–or else you’ll never get off the couch and face the real world.”
4. Dating losers. “Too many twentysomethings have low-criteria or no-criteria relationships because they don’t think who they date in their 20s matters. But dating down is dangerous when a series of bad relationships leaves us damaged and depressed–or when suddenly that person we never had any intention of staying with starts to look better than starting over. Find someone you deserve and who is worth it.”
5. Being “too cool” for a desk job. “…Twentysomething unemployment and underemployment isn’t cool. Maybe you imagine you’ll get it together one day but salaries peak–and plateau–in our 40s, so people who start careers in their 30s never catch up with those who started earlier.”
6. Spending too much time with your Playstation. “…These are use-it-or-lose years when neurons that fire together wire together. Whatever you want to change about yourself, now is the time to change it.
7. Shacking up too early. “…Couples who cohabitate before becoming engaged are less satisfied and committed in their marriages–and are more likely to divorce–than couples who don’t….”
8. Acting like you’re on a reality TV show. “…The twentysomething brain finds negative information–such as reprimands from bosses and rejections from lovers–more memorable and exciting than positive information. Don’t stoke the drama via Gchat and text messages. Teach your still-forming brain to calm itself down with what is going right. Twentysomethings who can control their emotions keep their jobs and relationships…”
9. Ignoring your ovaries. “…Did you know female fertility peaks at 28? That ≤ of your fertility is gone by age 35? That the average cost of fertility treatments at age 40 is $100,000? That half of childless couples wish they weren’t childless? Planning to deal with kids at 40 is no plan…”
Read The Defining Decade or watch her TED talk, “Why 30 Is Not the New 20,” below: