i HAVE a nEVER ENDING READing list.
The Defining Decade
I recently turned 23 and experienced yet another quarter life crisis (going 3 years strong!). So in an effort to remedy the clusterfuck that is my life currently, I bought hella self help books.
I chose to start with this one because I needed reassurance that there was a point to the struggle bus that is my 20s right now and how I can make them better. The book was broken down into three sections, let's talk about it the same way.
The first section was Work.
The concepts of identity capital and weak ties stuck out to me the most in this section. Identity capital made me consider what have I gained through my education besides knowledge that can help me further my career (or start it if we're being honest). It is so easy to allow yourself to be stagnant because you believe it's your 20s and you have time to grow but the growth and the struggle has to coincide with one another. Is the job you're working now just a filler or can it help propel you?
Weak ties expanded on the idea of networking and how the people you barely know can be more helpful than people you've known for years. Think about it: you all get along because you have something in common and are probably in similar places in life. Expand your pool of acquaintances because those can be the people that can lend you a helping hand. Remember: Birds of a feather flock together, but they can also be unemployed together.
A great takeaway from this section is that you have to curate the life that works best for you and not try and fit yourself into the life you think you should have based on social media or even your family.
The next section was Love.
I got DRAGGED in this section. The cohabitation section alone snatched some of my favorite baby hairs when Jay brought up the facts of living with your significant other. It's easy to get settled into a routine and settled into your home and before you know it you're 30 feeling like you settled with your partner and are too scared to leave and start all over.
A great part of this book is that she uses the stories of her real-life clients to illustrate her points. From unpacking your trauma from high school to realizing that you can be too accommodating in a relationship to even dating with intention, this section alone was enough for me to recommend this book. An interesting nugget of knowledge was that when you are looking for a partner, consider their family before you decide to commit. You are basically choosing your family and I for one don't want an overbearing mother-in-law who conveniently decides to dip out of my business after stirring up some mess.
The final section was The Brain & The Body.
I love a good history story and beginning this section with Phineas Gage's story of how he changed after a brain injury was a great way to illustrate the way our brains react to change in our 20s. We are experiencing our last brain development so it is important to act with intention. I for one am eager to get the dread 9 to 5 job because I am honestly tired of the lack of structure in my life.
Her writing about calming yourself once you get that first job where imposter syndrome is probably whooping your ass on the daily was very important to me. You can't always count on someone else being there to console you or reassure you that you can do this job. Unless you crafted magnificent lies on your resume, they hired you because you are capable. Also, remember that you don't have to stay there forever, take everything you can from that job and you'll build the confidence and skills to move on.
I really appreciated Jay mentioning the biological and financial factors that have to be considered when thinking about starting a family. Some methods are very expensive, men actually do have a time limit for children and the overlap with aging parents, toddlers and career changes in your 30s. Do you really have that much time?
So wtf is tea?
Would I recommend this book? Yes. I actually wish I had read it prior to entering my 20s so that I could have considered all these things even earlier. I appreciate the conversational tone and simpler terms (I'm in grad school so inflated, pretentious research articles are a norm for me). I felt reenergized and less afraid about the coming years because I was thinking about what I wanted and having to answer the questions I didn't even know I needed to ask.
I was SO inspired actually that I even created this playlist for you guys to enjoy.
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