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Quarter Life Crisis + Book Share: ‘The Defining Decade’

Once I turned 25, I felt like life had slapped me in the face. I heard a voice in the back of my mind ask, “What have you done with your life? You’re old. Why haven’t you achieved x, y, and z yet? What’s next for you?”  These questions overwhelmed and depressed me.

I started feeling restless and so alone. Was I the only 25 year old who felt this way? I already graduated college but the job hunt was daunting. Feeling hopeless, I began to long for travel. I figured that traveling and leaving behind my life would fix my problems.  Daydreaming about travelling the world, like a backpacker, made me feel excited. However, like most twenty-somethings, I didn’t have that type of cash for an adventure like that.

While in Barnes & Nobles one night, I found a book that might have the answers to all my quarter life crisis problems: “The Defining Decade: Why Your Twenties Matter- and How to Make the Most of Them Now” written by Meg Jay, PhD.


Jay is a clinical psychologist that uses her 10 plus years of working with clients in their twenties and other research to highlight the point that our twenties do matter. Some of her accounts with clients my age I could truly relate to. According to Jay, I am not alone in this feeling. Many, if not all, twenty-somethings feel some type of discontentment with their life.

The popular misconception of the twenties is that we should fill our time with having fun, partying, make all sorts of mistakes before “life” really began. But Jay argues that life has already begun. Many twenty-somethings are pushing back making decisions about work, love, and our life in general until our thirties. Jay says that is not a healthy way to live. She argues that putting off decisions until then can actually make life more difficult. Additionally, through her stories of her clients, she shows that not living a deliberate life causes one to ultimately feel unhappy and unsatisfied. In sum, instead of floating around waiting for life to happen to you, you should instead make life happen.

The underlying theme of the book is for twenty-somethings to realize they should be utilizing these years to start to get their life in order. We should be making moves now, so later we don’t have unnecessary stress. There’s nothing wrong with having fun, but don’t forget your purpose in life. Jay reminds readers that the twenties may be “the best years of our lives,” but we still have decades after to enjoy also. So why not put the work in now to try to make life more grand later?

This book has changed my thinking about my life now! I still would like to travel the world someday, but I realize I have some more time until that will be possible. Just running away from my problems, unfortunately, won’t solve them. I felt inspired after reading this book and now know what needs to be done in my life right now. I want to still have fun before I have kids, but I plan to always keep in mind of my future. Working a little bit at a time at my dreams and goals can help to set the foundation to a successful future.

I highly recommend this book to all twenty-somethings. It is definitely an eye-opener. It can help those who feel unsatisfied in life and those who haven’t realized themselves they may be sabotaging their lives.

Have you read “The Defining Decade?” What are your thoughts?
Also, feel free to comment below if your are experiencing or have experienced a quarter-life crisis. What has helped you to cope?


2 thoughts on “Quarter Life Crisis + Book Share: ‘The Defining Decade’

  1. Tasha says:

    Loved the insight you gave about this issue. I always think to myself that I should have a lot more accomplished at 25! Life is hard work, any progress sometimes is good progress

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