The Defining Decade (Updated Edition) – Meg Jay

This is my second time reading Meg Jay’s book written for twenty-year-olds, but my first time trying the updated edition. The first time I read it – over a year ago – was around the beginning of the lockdown and my future was more uncertain than ever. I really needed this book. Life has not necessarily gone to ‘‘normal’’ yet: in-person learning has not started yet, the mask is still a must, 2 m distance a necessity and social events have not all been translated to in person. But I am in a better place with regards to how I feel about my future. I’m still uncertain about it – and I do wish I could change that since I’m graduating soon – but I am feeling more hopeful about the choices that I will have to make and feel more ready to make them.

This book helped me feel more confident about where I am and validated my feelings of not knowing where I belong, where I’m meant to go and with whom I’m meant to connect. A lot of twentysomethings, as Dr. Jay states, are confused. Not only that, but she says that confusion is pretty normal at this state of our lives, when our brains are not even fully developed yet and possibly won’t be until we turn thirty. That is a scary thing to hear but also liberating in a way. It means that chances are I’m going to remain confused for quite a bit about various things. But the good thing about it is that there is so much I, and every other twenty-four-year-old, can learn in this period. According to Meg Jay, this is the it period where if we want to change something about ourselves – our personalities – we just might and it doesn’t have to take everything from us to do that.

Initially, when I read the unedited edition, I felt like the twenties were the worst period to be in. Possibly because I’m mentally healthier and more positive about the present and future, I feel differently about my twenties. When I read it the first time, I focused on everything I didn’t have – hadn’t graduated yet, hadn’t started my master’s, didn’t feel hopeful about dating, was still friends with people I should have moved on from a long time ago, felt a lot of anxiety about the day-to-day life and was working somewhere that brought me little to no happiness anymore. I was a mess, truly. I’m cleaning myself up, and guess what, I can do that because my brain is receptive to change. I’m finishing my master’s in less than a year, planning to move out of my mom’s place and hoping to get involved in clubs and associations to make more social memories before getting my diploma. I’m in a period of transition – like a lot of twenty-year-olds are, and although that’s super scary, it’s completely normal and I’m ready to face my fears.

Thank you Hachette Book Group Canada for the copy in exchange for an honest review.

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