Blood Is Thicker Than Water: The Power Of Family

Or so the saying goes. I’ve been thinking a little bit about how my friendships have gone over the years and how things are so different now.

I used to think my friendships were everything. Ten years ago I had a group of friends from high school. We basically promised to be friends forever. But over a ten year period we all kind of fell off. At first I would get jealous when I perceived that I was being left out of a group. Like say I wasn’t invited to a random brunch or if I wasn’t included in a group text where some inside joke happened.  And to be honest, I WAS being left out by them. I wouldn’t call myself the most interesting or exciting person be be around at 18, true friendships just seemed to allude me.

So I felt really lonely during that time. What I didn’t realize was that I still had my family and that was my rock in life. During that lonely period, I didn’t realize that I was still going home every weekend and spending time with my sisters and my parents. They were in the background while I was out trying to keep my friends and make friends.

Then I got married and had a blessing child, one that I was neither prepared for nor mature enough for. I was 24.  All the friends that said they would help me out and visit when my child was born, gone. Ghosted. They were too busy traveling and partying. I guess that’s life. The weakest ties are the first ones to break.

It’s something I really didn’t value when I was younger. My cousins who are in the US are literally 3 hours away and I just felt so different from them. But now that I live closer, we text and chat and do eachother favors like no time has passed. I helped my cousin fix her resume so she could be a practicing esthetician and she helped me with some beauty treatments.

When I married my husband, I was marrying him but I didn’t realize that meant I was marrying into his family too. That can go either way depending on who you’ve married. I’ve heard stories of marriages and relationships being bliss until a mother in law steps in and places seeds of doubt into the husbands mind and undermines his wife.  Or the sister that likes to walk around in short shorts around your husband.  (Yes, I’ve seen this happen to someone I knew and it wasn’t pretty).  But I got lucky and his family is pretty amazing.  I just love that he has a large extended family.  Like 10 aunts and countless cousins.  It can be so confusing to remember everyones name but over time I kind of just became like one of them.

Every year they do a holiday party and its pretty awesome to be part of another family you weren’t born into.  Aunts and Uncles catching up.   His cousin Clara was telling me her career plans while I shared a few tips of my own.  And all of us sharing drinks and cheering to another year together and good company.  It just seems so much more effortless with family.  Family makes time for each other.

Meanwhile me and my “friends” want to meet up and it becomes:

“Oh wait, I realized I have a thing that day, can we change it” Of course this comes last minute after everyone else makes the commitment to meet on a certain day.

Or, “Thats so inconvenient, let’s meet closer to my place.  That restaurant is just too far from where I am and I’ll have to spend $ in order to get there.”  Meanwhile, it’s just as far for everyone else.

Or, “Don’t invite ____, me and her aren’t talking.”

Maybe women are just catty like that and don’t know how to be good friends.  But these kind of rude interactions are a freaking regular occurrence.

Or maybe I was looking for friends that had a bond like family, when really only family can treat you like family.

True friendship is probably the hardest thing to maintain and accomplish and I have yet to find it.  A true friend is someone who always has your back and through thick and thin.  They will support you, or at least listen to your problems.  They don’t get jealous of your good fortune or try to shoot you down.  They laugh with you and find moments of happiness to reflect on.

It’s sad, but I’ve never had a friendship like this.   My marriage is like this, but never a friendship.  The closest I’ve ever had was with that friend that ghosted me.  The friendship was great until we had our own families and decided to go our own ways.

I’m not saying that all friendships will fall apart.  I’ve certainly seen many friendships that surprisingly were able to with stand decades.  But friendship, like any other relationship requires effort, time, respect, and forgiveness.  People in my experience, just don’t have that kind of commitment in them.  Some people can’t even commit to their own families.  So I think it’s harder to find a true friendship like that.

So yes, blood is thicker than water.  In most cases that is.  I hope all of you reading this can take a moment and appreciate the value that family can have in your life.  Don’t be like me and realize this nearly 30 years later in life.

Some great quotes on family that I think capture it’s true importance

“Family is not an important thing. It’s everything.” ~ Michael J. Fox

“Family is a unique gift that needs to be appreciated and treasured, even when they’re driving you crazy. As much as they make you mad, interrupt you, annoy you, curse at you, try to control you, these are the people who know you the best and who love you.” ~Jenna Morasca

“You need a strong family because at the end, they will love you and support you unconditionally. Luckily, I have my dad, mom and sister.” ~Esha Gupta

Feel free to check out my other posts:

The Power Of Positivity

Stand Up For Yourself, Even When You Have Everything To Lose

On Gratitude…

The Power Of Change

Stand Up For Yourself, Even When You Have Everything To Lose

They say sticks and stones will break your bones but words can never hurt you.

I beg to differ.

Because every time I’ve ever let someone talk down to me, I’ve felt like absolute garbage. And I think bad or negative encounters stay with us longer than we like to admit. There are some people in this world that are just plain nasty. You can be as sweet as pie to them and they always find a way to cut you down. Sometime we don’t even know how we feel until hours after the encounter occurs. In instances of confrontation I’ve always walked away, but I’ve learned to let the other person know that I’m not going to take it from them and their behavior is not acceptable.  Confidence is something that’s learned in time.

——–

The first time I’ve had a bad encounter was when I was working at Auntie Anne’s pretzels. 18 year old me as standing by the cash register selling hand rolled delicious pretzels. A customer had asked for extra butter on her cinnamon sugar pretzel and as I was putting in the bag after she had paid she says, “You’re disgusting. You just touched my pretzel with your hands.”

I said, “No ma’am, I’m using the tongs to grab these. But if you like I can give you another one”

“Okay, I want these.” She points to the cinnamon sticks which are 75 cents more.

“Okay, but those are the cinnamon sticks, they’re more than the regular pretzels. They’re 75 cents more.”

“Well, I don’t know why I should pay more for them.”

“You get more pretzels with it, that’s the price Ma’am.”

My coworker who sees me struggling, tells me to just give her the sticks for the same price.

“I usually can’t do this, but I’ll give these to you for the same price as the pretzels.”

“You know what, I should get these for free since you’ve wasted so much time.”

I’m starting to get really aggravated. “Sorry, I can’t give food for free”

We go back and forth like this and this nasty woman tells me I’m just a cashier and I’m a loser.

She takes the pretzel sticks and then throws it at me. This adult woman just threw food at me!!

I had never been attacked like that in my life and she literally just laughed as this 18 year old high schooler cried tears of anger and frustration.

That day I learned some people are just sadists and just take pleasure in hurting, humiliating and taking advantage of people in fast food.

That altercation sat with me for a few days. I wished I stood up for myself more and wondered what it was about me that gave that woman the impression I was someone to pick on.

———–

My first tour as a NYC rental broker was equally as bad of an altercation. It was literally my first day showing and my senior agent had these two recent grads looking for a 1BR under 2300 in midtown. And if you know Manhattan, you know that’s a dirt cheap rent anywhere. I had no idea what my senior agent Kevin had told these girls but I met them at the corner of 56th and Lexington and had them sign the Fee agreement for the apt they were about to see. I was so nervous. I wasn’t even trained on anything yet, and I probably came off as really green.

“Why do I have sign this?!” One of the girls demanded.

“There’s a fee with this apt. I can’t show this apt unless you agree to a brokers fee if you rent this”

The girls eyed me suspiciously, then signed it.

We went off to see the apt down the street.

“This is a terrible apt, not what we saw online. You wasted our time.”

I called Kevin to confirm that was the apartment they had called on. He confirmed and told me to ask them if they wanted to see any of our other apts in that price range.

I don’t remember what was said next but they were picking on me, double teaming me and complaining about, “how I switch and baited them and that the’ve seen better apartments with other agents.”

I just wanted the appointment to end. “Well, it sounds like I don’t have anything else to show that you would like, I’m sorry.” I said tersely.

“What a waste of time!”

“I’m sorry you feel that way.” And then I left.

One block later I’m on the verge of tears wondering if I can really cut it in real estate.

I was happy that I kind of stood up for myself but hated that I felt so small.

—————-

Today a client tried to move in a day early. These are literally professional hustlers and were fighting us every step of the way. They had their movers at the building. And were furious that they couldn’t move in rent free, one day early.

“You all knew we were trying to move in a day early!!” Professional finger pointers.

My manager was trying to resolve the problem but was making it worst with his lack of tact. “I’m sorry I can’t just give you these keys and have you get one days free rent.” ?????

These people were desperate to get keys with all their stuff ready to move so they started throwing my name under the bus. “I signed leases with Alex and we talked about this!”

I wanted to set the record straight so I went talk to the client and try to smooth things over with some understanding. He started saying how ridiculous the whole thing was and how we’re holding him and his girlfriend hostage by not giving him keys etc. He’s telling me we don’t know how to do our jobs. He was raising his voice and getting in my space.

A part of me felt small again, like that day I felt when the woman threw pretzels at me. But I was thinking, I don’t need to apologize and if this becomes a full out confrontation, I’ll just leave.

I said calmly, “you don’t need to talk to me like that.”

“You messed up our whole morning and my girlfriend is late for work, I’ll talk to you how I want to!”

Oh yeah? I threw my hands up and said, “I don’t need to indulge this.” I started walking away calmly and called him disrespectful.

I got over it but it was funny how everyone in the office was so quiet when he attacked me verbally. Not even my manager knew what to do. He later brownnosed his way back into the client’s good graces.

I told my manager, “I don’t care, one day I might get fired for not sitting down and taking it from client’s and I’ll just have to move on to the next property.”

He seemed shocked that I would be so bold and tell him he can’t make me be nice to these assholes.

——————–

I’m actually a very introverted person and when people attack me for something that’s I did, I take responsibility and offer a solution. But if that’s not enough, I know how how to take my losses and walk away, while politely telling someone they are out of line.  Gaining self confidence and self-worth comes from knowing when to walk away.

Life is a slippery slope and we end up taking the treatment we think we deserve.

Don’t let anyone make you feel small. Stand up and speak up for yourself when people try to step on who you are and take advantage. If you think people will stand up for you, they won’t. Nobody stood up for me in any of these scenarios, sure they sympathized with how I felt, but no one stood up. I could have lost my job for not giving good customer service but I took the risk and guess what, I didn’t lose my job!

Some of you might be reading this and thinking, it’s not worth the aggravation and that you should never risk your job for your pride. And maybe I’m giving bad advice. But in my heart and in my soul, I know that every time I don’t stand up for myself I’m allowing myself to be treated as less than and accepting that as truth. I know it probably won’t change how nasty some people are. If standing up for myself doesn’t do much else, at least I set a boundary with myself on what I’m willing to accept. Ego shm-ego.

The workplace is a tough place, and you always have to remember to look out for #1. Learn how to be assertive at work and fight for your own agenda. No ones going to stick up for you and no one’s going to defend you. And while most jobs require some level of customer service and hospitality, it doesn’t mean you should allow your self to be treated like a doormat and disrespected.

Jobs come and go but your sense of self and how you are to be treated by other people is 100% on you.  Self confidence is everything.

Thanks for reading, if you liked this post feel free to follow, like and share!

How Did That B*tch Get Rich?

The big question on my mind.  On everybody’s mind, really.

As I start to make my transition to my 30s, the money question seems to be everywhere.  We’re all so proud of the 401ks we started and the money moves we’ve made.  It’s all so nice to flash cash on Instagram and Snapchat.  Just like how (in our early 20s)  we used to show off how many times we went out in a week or all the people we knew, now the trend is to show off how we’ve got it like that.

I was meeting a girlfriend for lunch last Saturday and as we strolled around Chelsea we chatted about all the good things we were doing for ourselves.  Allie was a teacher and after years of partying and living with her parents was tired of being broke.  So she was taking things into her own hands and making moves of her own.  She got a new job that gave her benefits, she had a tutoring job on the side, and planned to work the after school program.  She was ready to make $$$ and I was really happy for her.

I said, “You’ve got to get if for yourself, no one’s going to give it to you.”

She was like, “Absolutely, but sometimes I look at some people and I’m like, how did that Bitch get rich?”  “Like really, of all people.”

I didn’t really know what people or bitches she was talking about but it was a question that I had been determined to answer since before we were really even friends.

I remember being in High School and watching MTVs “My Super Sweet Sixteen” and it was this stupid reality show about rich teenage girls planning their over the top sweet sixteen.  It would literally be 50K and up type parties.  Mini weddings.  At the end they would get a new Mercedes or Ferrari or whatever they wanted and I was like WTH how do people live like this?

My super sweet 16

I became obsessed with understanding how rich people come to be and thats kind of how I got into NYC real estate.  I wanted to understand how do people get rich.  Maybe if I got close to it, I would be able to understand it and create wealth in my own life.

Well, being a NYC rental broker, you get to see the intimate details of someone’s wealth.  You see their tax returns, their employment letters, the professions they chose, the co-signers that they use to get an apartment, the assets in their bank accounts and more!  It blew my mind at first, how much wealth was needed to live in NYC.  It’s literally wealth I still don’t have but understanding it and seeing how wealth exists in our world helped me accept the fact that I’m not wealthy, at least not in the sense that “My Super Sweet Sixteen” portrayed.  Here are the top ways that I noticed people were able to live a wealthy lifestyle.

Generational Wealth

This is the most common way that wealth is accumulated for most people.  I call it, “Getting A Leg Up.”  People who come from generational wealth are already starting at 10.

To be generationally wealthy is a true privilege.  People with generational wealth not only have the resources and assets to seize more opportunities, they are already raised to use money in a way that works for them and are less likely to fall into debt and other problems that would detract from be wealthy.

Example: Jerry is a 3rd generation American.  His grandfather came to the USA and hustled 3 jobs to buy a house and raise his family of 3 children.  One of the 3 children starts a business and it becomes successful.  Meanwhile the house that their grandfather bought is now worth 3X as much due to inflation caused by the booming tech industry.  The grandfather allows one of the other children to take a loan against the home and flip 3 other houses.  Another child is successful.  The last child was able to go to college and build a career to manage to become a middle manager and make a good living.  All three of this grandfathers children were able to make it to middle or upper class. These children have 2 of their own children.  Jerry is one of those grandchildren.  The original siblings help each other out in raising their children by babysitting and offering advice on best school district.  They share resources with each other like baby clothes and books.  Grandfather dies and leaves his fully paid off house, pension, and other assets to all the 6 grandchildren in a trust.  Each child gets $150K each in a trust to use when they turn 25.  Each child has the means to go to college, two of them specialize in a profession like medicine or law, two others start a new business with their trust, and the remaining 2 go into the family business.  Jerry is 30 years old, has an Ivy League degree, $150K in a trust and is a partner at his family’s company.  That is what generational wealth looks like. 

Beauty

They say beauty is in the eye of the beholder.  And while that’s true, there is a variety of beauty in this world.   But we must admit that conventional beauty has so much power in our society. To be beautiful is to have doors literally opened for us.  Now this section isn’t just about women being beautiful.  Men can be beautiful too.  Just yesterday my 20 year old intern with stunning blue eyes and a linebacker’s build was telling me how the girls at Chipotle gave him free Chipotle.  And that won’t be the last freebie or leg up he gets for being extraordinarily handsome. I swear he looks like this actor:

Regardless, doors will open for him because beauty is attractive.  And people are drawn to what is attractive.  But this won’t necessary result in wealth.  Unlike generational wealth, people won’t hand you money just for being beautiful.  Often, beautiful people have to leverage their youth and beauty for opportunities for wealth.  I once had these model clients.  They were REAL models.  The types that walk runways for Gucci and Balmain.  They made well over six figures just in the US for their beauty.  One girl showed 200K from her contract with IMG Modeling. These girls also worked for other modeling agencies in Europe.  But wealth is real for these beauties. Once their modeling days are behind them, they could easily marry well to do men in finance who want a wife with good genes and beautiful skin to match. I don’t think many women have that kind of opportunity just handed to them.

The good thing is that the genetic lottery isn’t the only way to cash in on beauty.  With youth comes natural beauty.  Men and women are realizing this and capitalizing on their youth, building online businesses and brands for their youtube channels and Instagram accounts. From ages 16-35 women are at the peak of their beauty/youth.  For men that time frame is 20-40.  Just imagine how big of a business you can build in 20 years.  You can build an empire.  I could go on and on about how pretty privilege is a thing but I think I’ll save that for another post.  The good thing is that beauty and youth can truly be the stepping stone to success for those willing to step out of their shell and grab it.

Hustle

Some people are more hustlers.  I think I fall into that category over beauty.  I’m sure my youth has helped me a lot in gaining opportunities and getting my foot in the door.  But I’m not THAT pretty.  More like a girl next door type of look to me.   So I’ve had to rely more on my hustle and charm.  Hustle and charm are not easy skills to attain.  You need a mix of street-smart, hunger, people skills, charisma and intelligence to really win in this category of wealthy.  A talent or two won’t hurt either.

To be be clear, the definition of [hustle] according to Urban Dictionary is: To have the courage, confidence, self belief, and self-determination to go out there and work it out until you find the opportunities you want in life.

There are a million ways to make money hustling.  I truly believe there’s enough pie for everyone.  Hell, you can all bake your own pies. We live in a world that is rapidly changing with growths in technology and change in culture and opportunity.  Youtube star are making millions, Instagram Influencers are getting paychecks.  You can literally open a new store on Etsy and sell those handmade bracelets you always get compliments for or those handmade soaps.  You can become a motivational speaker.  Or you can be like me and do real estate and work your way up. Or start in any industry and work your way up.

This, to me, is the backbone for all wealth. There had to be someone to get the moneyball rolling whether it’s you or your grandfather. There really isn’t much substitute for grit, perseverance and grind when it comes to breaking socioeconomic barriers.

Smarts

Being book smart is important and if all else fails, you can’t go wrong with book-smart. It’s the type of hustle your parents always pushed for. “Education is everything,” my father said, “No one will ever be able to take your education away from you.”

And that’s true, I just wasn’t prepared to face the level of intellectual competition that I would face in that one year of law school.

My sister was, though. She finished her studies to become a doctor. After watching her go through 4 years of premed, 4 years of med school, 2 years of residency, another two years of fellowship and enough testing and studying to make your eyes bleed, I’m not sure I would say that I envy her life now. She truly earned it and now makes 250K a year working 32 hours a week. 32 hours a week!

Being smart is not just reading books and stating facts. It’s competing with all the other smart and intelligent people to be the best. I never felt more insecure of my own intelligence that I did during that one year of law school.

Think about beauty pageants that line women up according to their beauty and grace. Intellectual pursuits is kinda like that except with your brain and how smart you are.

No thanks, wasn’t for me.

Summary

I think the bulk of what I’m trying to get at is that obtaining wealth for a majority of people is not easy. But it’s not unattainable. And as long as it’s possible for you to get to the next level, you should be striving to make that happen. I’ve been broke and now I’m comfortable; I wouldn’t say wealthy but I anticipate maybe 10 years from that. Being broke sucks, staying broke is tougher. A lot of people don’t realize they can get up and change their situation. I’m here to tell you, YOU CAN.

I like to call it “bootstrapping it.” And IMO gaining wealth from your own hard work and grit is more satisfying than having it handed to you. Most of us reading this are not from generational wealth, it’s up to us to make our own wealth. It’s going to be a lot of trial and error, a lot of failure, but all you need is that one moment. All you need is one big win and all that failure will be erased.

I wish you all the best of luck on your journey for progress and wealth. Please share like and follow if you liked this post. I follow back!

Why I Took The Risk And Quit Law School

I think a lot of what has held me back in life has been my own insecurity over what other people think. There’s kind of a safety in following the herd and doing what’s expected. I was always one of those people who found safety in numbers. Sure, standing out meant you might be liked more but it could also be an opportunity for people to put you down. So that’s what I did for many years, I was a self chosen wallflower. I wasn’t much different from anyone else, nor did I want to be.

For people who suffer from self esteem issues, there’s a lack of self acceptance that causes you to doubt yourself. A little voice in your head that says, “I don’t know about this, people might think this is stupid.” What I’ve learned over time is that that voice is irrelevant. I really pushed myself against what other people think. In my heart, I knew what was right for me and though my actions seemed risky to others, I followed my passions.

I feel like the story about how I quit law school is pretty relevant to this message. You see, like many young college students I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life. I had no idea what my talents were or where my interests lay. I knew I was smart and was able to get good grades with some studying. Grad school seemed like a good option. And I like money and respect so going to law school seemed perfect. I could figure out what kind of law later. I had a vision that once I became a lawyer, I would be important and rich and everyone in life would like and respect me. So I took the LSAT, applied to different schools and finally was accepted to a decent law school in NYC with a partial scholarship. Everything seemed perfect.

A few days before I started law school I had a gut instinct that I didn’t want to go.  That was the first sign to quite law school.  I didn’t know where this feeling came from, I knew I shouldn’t be pursuing this degree. It was like a feeling of dread, like something terrible was about to happen. Logically, I didn’t have a good enough reason not to go, I didn’t listen to that instinct.  I went and spent 30K on that 1 year of law school.

And I bombed.

I sucked at the test taking. No matter how hard I tried I just wasn’t absorbing the information. I sucked at legal writing, I sucked at contract and real estate law. And I wasn’t happy. By the end of the first semester I started to question whether law school was the right direction for my talents.  My parents said, “No, you’ve got to see it through. Don’t be a quitter.” I didn’t want to be seen as a quitter by anyone. Even though that terrible gut feeling of doom was back, I continued my education for more torture.

That second semester, I was not sleeping or taking care of myself and literally abusing my body with adderral. I needed to get better grades, at whatever expense. I was getting addicted to adderall and by the end of that semester I was just over it. I didn’t bother checking my grades, I knew I was at the bottom of my class. June came and people had internships and I was like WTH, no one is going to hire me with these grades and I don’t think I can get through two more years of law school and a bar exam to become a lawyer.

So I quit.

The Assistant Dean actually called me when he saw I didn’t enroll again. I just let it go to voicemail. I couldn’t go back. My parents told me, “This is a decision you’ll regret for the rest of your life.” I wasn’t hearing it, I wasn’t going back.

That year, people would ask me how law school was going and it was so embarrassing to tell people I had quit. I tried to say it in a way that didn’t sound like quitting, “Oh I decided I didn’t want to be an attorney. Law school wasn’t for me.”  And it wasn’t. But being seen as someone who walked away from an opportunity really hung over my head.  I had quit law school and the question on my mind was “now what?”

After that I did an oddball office job until I got the special idea that I should be a real estate salesperson in NYC. I think I got the idea from Million Dollar Listing NY. LOL. I just loved the flashiness of it and the hustle. It seemed so legit. So I got my license and then signed up with a rental brokerage. It was the easiest thing ever.

I sucked at that too but I had the passion and drive to keep at it. I could tell you a billion stories about all the shitty client’s I had and all the fun deals I did but I’ll save that for another story.  I eventually climbed up the ranks to a great six figure sales opportunity. When I think about my current opportunity, I think DAMNN, you lucked out girl. This was a true hustle.

Other things happened in my life that I felt was totally not the norm, like getting pregnant at 23 and having a gunshot wedding to my college boyfriend who dropped out of undergrad.  Without a plan in sight, I’m sure it looked like our lives were about to crash land into loser land.  But K and I hustled like a dream team and made it work. Now people are looking at us like the power couple that got it all done before 30.

And if you told 20 year old version of me that I would be killing it at 29, I would have called you a liar. But we really did it and worked hard for the life we have now.

I think the moral of this story is more like:

Don’t be afraid to do you. Follow your gut and take risks. You’re not going to win at every single risk you take but at least you’ll have the experience and learn from it.

People who don’t take risks have nothing to lose but also nothing to gain. That’s the truth. The people in my life who played it safe are now wondering, “why isn’t life happening for them?” I just want to shake them and say, “because you did nothing to make it happen.”

I want to inspire everyone who’s reading this to think about the one thing you always wanted to pursue and then make a plan to create that reality in your life. Life and success doesn’t happen to lucky people but rather people who go out and make things happen. So the one thing I would recommend everyone focus on is to care LESS about what other people think about them. Of course there’ll be people who don’t like you or try to put you down. Those people are the minority and if you’re making people upset, that just means you’re doing something right.

I hope my story was one that inspired you! Please like, share and follow!

Check out my other posts too!

The Power Of Positivity

Playing The Game Of Life And Winning: 5 Approaches To Success

What Does It Take To Be Charismatic and Likeable?

Motivational Book Club: The Defining Decade: Why Your 20s Matter, by Meg Jay

This is the best book for young grads about to depart for real life.  It’s the perfect self help book for those coming of age.  I gave this book to my younger sister after she graduated college. She was so fresh faced and optimistic and I kinda wanted her to experience adulthood without all the bumps and headaches I had to learn from. My older sister had read it, she was trying to understand the mistakes she had made in her 20s and why she was not so happy with her early 30s and recommended this book as well.

I would say don’t judge a book by its cover, it kind of has a bland and doctorish look to it but I found The Defining Decade to be a refreshing bit of truth in a world that says that your 20s are just an extension of adolescence.  But we all have to grow up and some grow up later than others.  Using your 20’s as a leaping post to get a head start on life could be the best decision you ever make.

I really liked how the author is a Clinical Psychologist and uses her client’s stories to highlight some of the hard choices and pitfalls a lot of 20 year olds go through. I mean in her work section, she’s very candid on how your 20s are a period to grow career wise. Not to put too much pressure, but the earnings you make between 20-30 can grow exponentially. I’ve seen it in myself. The first year in real estate, I made -$6,000. Now I’m making nearly $90K, five years later.  Meg doesn’t take bullshit about how you need to find yourself in your 20s.  She basically says that by the time you’re a young adult, you have two decades of experience under your belt. Maybe you don’t know exactly what best suits you as a career but you have a general idea of what your strengths are. The key is to use those strengths and put it towards a viable career.

Her discussion on relationships was also a great highlight. Meg says it best, that the biggest decision you’ll ever make in life is who you’ll marry. And most people don’t think twice about who they marry! They just fall haphazardly into relationships.

She touched base on cohabitating and how it affects the success of marriage. Cohabitating is not the same as deciding to get married. And the issue is that people start cohabitating and then slide into marriage. You don’t necessarily slide into it with the idea of what it takes to have a successful marriage. The book recommended a few key steps in cohabiting successfully.

I personally loved all the short stories about her clients, though I think she gave us the simplest examples of the type of clients she saw. Her writing was that of a concerned mother who had already experienced life and knew all the pitfalls.  Her story telling was very good but I felt like there was an underlying problem with all the clients she saw:  THEY DIDN’T THINK ABOUT THE FUTURE.  And, well, anybody who doesn’t think of the future and how to accomplish far off goals is going to have problems.

Other parts that caught my interest were the discussions on fertility, friendships and family.

Her discussion on fertility actually reminded me of an old friend who planned on having children EARLY.  She knew that her menstrual cycle was wonky and decided to see a fertility doctor at 20! The doctor told her she had some issues and she needed to start really thinking about having children right away if that’s what she wanted.  It was what she wanted, and she ended up marrying young at 22 and having her first child at 25, but not without struggle and treatment.  A lot of the women that Meg interviewed thought that they could easily have children at 40! They thought they had all the time in the world and felt resentment when they realized their fertility was on a timer..

I will rate this book as a thought provoking book.  I think it’s good for people who struggle with decision making and who might be waiting for life to happen to them.  The Defining Decade reminds you that time waits for no one and that you need to make your life and future happen now!  I don’t think she came up with clear solutions to the issues that her clients brought up but she did bring up some questions that I had to stop and ask for myself.  At times Meg Jay had a kind of judgy tone towards her patients, so I’m not sure if I would be interested in her as my own psychiatrist, but her writing is definitely entertaining.

Let me know your thoughts if you’ve read this book or are interested in other book reviews like this.

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Check out my other posts as part of this book club:

Motivational Book Club: The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey

Motivational Book Club: The Subtle Art Of Not Giving A F*ck By Mark Manson