Book 2 of Quarter-Life Crisis Challenge

TheDefiningDecade  Quotation-Leonard-Bernstein-great-humor-stress-time-Meetville-Quotes-124744

Title: The Defining Decade – Why your twenties matter and how to make the most of them now

Author: Meg Jay, PhD

Coming off the emotionally roller coaster of the last book read during this challenge, I had quasi-high hopes for this book…which were quickly dashed. Let me start off by saying that I know I have lead a “blessed” life. At 26 years old – soon  to be 27 at summer’s end – I have earned two bachelors degrees (paid for mostly through scholarships), finished my masters this past December (paid with savings I accumulated my first three years of working), and currently thinking of seeking another degree (E.d.D. or another certification) to help me open up my employment options. I’ve been working for five years at the same job, which I find fulfilling. Of course I have my share of bad days, but who doesn’t. Between graduating with a double major and finding my current job I only went through 6 months of unemployment – much less than many of my friends. As far as my love life goes, I’ve had multiple monogamous relationships – both short and long term. Each of them has taught me more about myself and what I want in my future husband. I have friends and family who have been supportive and are always there for me when I need to talk out my inner ramblings…this all being said I feel that this book was not truly meant for me.

That isn’t to say that I didn’t find some meaningful quotes or interesting thoughts from Dr. Jay. But honestly, a lot of what she wrote about doesn’t really relate to my current predicament. If anything, she confirmed what I already knew and the book made me feel better about the path I’m already on. Even if it was in a – “Wow, I’m glad I’m not dealing with that hot mess of a problem”. Some of the more interesting points in the book where…

“Twentysomethings who don’t feel anxious or incompetent at work are usually overconfident or underemployed.”

“There is a difference between living your life in your thirties and starting life in your thirties.”

“There is a difference between sliding into living together and making the conscious decision to move in with another person because you want to spend your life with them.”

I would recommend this book to someone who just got out of college or someone in their twenties who feels they lack direction. That doesn’t necessarily mean I feel like I’ve got it all together – I don’t. I’ve spent countless hours freaking out about what my “future” may or may not hold. But honestly, why spend time worrying about things that are out of our control. Sure there are several things within our control: who we date, where we apply for jobs, what we do to prepare for further educational or work opportunities, etc. But there are always going to be curve balls thrown our way. That’s life. What we really need to worry about is whether or not you have the skills and maturity to deal with life’s “curve balls”.

Now to next book to conquer…I’ll be revisiting John Green’s “Fault in Our Stars” and am currently reading “Looking for Alaska”. Get ready to start the YA Book Challenge!!!


Book 1 of Quarter-Life Crisis Book Challenge

dearsugar_tinybeautifulthings  Jacketshotmed-682x1024

Title: Tiny Beautiful Things
Author: Cheryl Strayed

Dear Sugar,

Since your book is comprised of collection of some of your “best” replies from your advice column from The Rumpus, I thought it only appropriate to review your book in letter form.  We often know that advice columnists are not professional therapists, psychologists, or psychiatrists. I doubt someone who had to evaluate someone’s mental health for a living would enjoy doing it for free to complete strangers without knowing a true back medical history on the advice seeker. What really draws readers to advice columns is the writers’ ability to draw us in and tell us a story. Sugar (aka. Strayed), you’ve done just that. Honestly, I picked up the book without knowing anything about you, your former work (memoir, The Wild), or The Rumpus. I’m sure, like others who read advice columns, I read each letter and then tried to guess what “advice” you would impart on each person.

Unlike “Dear Abbey” you weren’t trying to change social norms or have any other visible public agenda. Actually, you didn’t give any sort of straightforward advice, except the occasional recommendation that the person seek out professional help. Instead, you delved into your own experiences to give perspective through anecdotes, which were not only entertaining but had LOADS of shock value. For a while I thought you were writing JUST to shock the audience, but I could see and understand why you wrote what you wrote for each person.

I was able to read several letters at a time, enjoying the way you told your stories, until I reached one that struck a cord with my own personal life. Once I read those, I had to stop and put it down. I even had to skip a couple and come back to them later, because I knew I wasn’t ready to read those – “The Truth That Lives There.” However, I truly think that in spite of the essay, anecdotal feel of the “advice” given there were many truths found throughout the book. Here are just a few of my favorites…

“Go, even though you love him. Go, even though he’s kind and faithful and dear to you. Go, even though he’s your best friend and you’re his. Go, even though you can’t imagine your life without him. Go, even though he adores you and your leaving will devastate him…Go, even though you’re sure no one will ever love you as well as he does…Go, even though you don’t know exactly why you can’t stay. Go, because you want to. Because wanting to leave is enough.”

“The best thing you can do with your life is tackle the mother fucking shit out of it.”

“Forgiveness doesn’t sit there like a pretty boy at a bar. Forgiveness is the old fat guy you have to haul up a hill.”

“You will learn a lot about yourself if you stretch in the direction of goodness, of bigness, of kindness, of forgiveness, of emotional bravery. Be a warrior for love.”

I enjoyed this book and would recommend it to others who enjoy well written essays or would just like to read a different perspective. This book made me take a second look about my life. I don’t believe EVERY person who reads this book will make some huge epiphany about their own life. But I do guarantee there will be at least one or two stories that will make you take a closer look at your life or make you remember a moment in your past that you hadn’t thought of in a long time.

Thanks Sugar. It was a roller coaster ride.


Looking Forward

Now to next book of the Quarter-Life Crisis Book Challenge!!!…”The Defining Decade: Why your twenties matter-and how to make the most of them now” by Meg Jay, PhD