No one gets to adulthood without going through their twenties. This is how Meg Jay describes the “defining decade” for all of us. But she says that society increasingly encourages us to think of the twenties as a holding pattern, an extended adolescence. Listen to hear her reasons why this is not true and what to do about it.

Why you should listen:

In her book “The Defining Decade,” Meg Jay suggests the twenties are the most transformative — and defining — period of our adult lives.

Lately it feels as if 25 is just a bit too young to get serious. In her psychology practice, and her book The Defining Decade, clinical psychologist Meg Jay draws on more than ten years of work with hundreds of twenty-something clients and students, Jay weaves science together with compelling, behind-closed-doors stories. The result is a provocative, poignant talk that shows us why, far from being an irrelevant downtime, our twenties are a developmental sweetspot that comes only once.  Our twenties are a time when the things we do — and the things we don’t do — will have an enormous effect across years and even generations to come.

Who is she:

Jay is a clinical psychologist who specializes in adult development, and in twenty-somethings in particular. She is an assistant clinical professor at the University of Virginia and maintains a private practice in Charlottesville, Virginia.  She spent her own early twenty-something years as an Outward Bound instructor.


  1. What is the ending of Emma’s story?
  1. What problem did Alex come to see Meg Jay about?
  1. What does Meg Jay believe is the best time to work on a marriage?
  1. There appear to be two periods of brain maturation that are notable. The first is from birth to five and the second is…?
  1. Jay thinks that twenty-somethings should do these 4 things. Select the letters of the correct statements.
    A)        Claim their adulthood
    B)        Plan to make a lot of money
    C)        Use close friends
    D)        Get some identity capitol
    E)        Become entrepreneurs
    F)         Use weak ties
    G)        Find a best friend
    H)        Pick their family
  1. If you look at a partner as a member of your future family, does that take the romance out of dating?

Why 30 is not the new 20 with Meg Jay


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