You know what I’m happy about? I’m happy that before reading The Defining Decade — which was judgmentally delivered to me at my office without any explanation I could discern as to why it was being delivered to me, so I could only conclude that the universe thinks I’m doing my twenties wrong (which I am not) and would like to help me out with it — I saw the second episode of the HBO show Girls, in which Lena Dunham’s character glances at a relationship-rules book and says that she hate-read it in the Detroit airport once. I’m glad that happened so I could have the word “hate-read” in my working memory for writing this post.
Disclaimer: I do not hate Meg Jay, PhD, although I feel awkward when authors put “PhD” on the front of their books because it makes me think that their PhD is in something completely unrelated to the book they’ve written. I instantly suspected Meg Jay of having a PhD in Puppeteering or something, but no, her PhD is in the perfectly reasonable and germane areas of clinical psychology and gender studies. Just FYI.
It is just that The Defining Decade — which I hate-read over the course of four subway rides, because it’s very short and quick — is extremely judgey about things that I don’t need to be judged about. This book is not Varsity Adulthood. It’s barely Junior Varsity Adulthood. It’s basically just, Hey kids, take your lives seriously, time is ticking by, which is a message I have already absorbed. The book clearly wasn’t aimed at me and apart from some next-level retirement planning, which is on my to-do list I swear, I am doing okay in all the relevant areas. I have a job I like that employs skills I developed over my academic career. I do not treat my work life or my romantic life as a rehearsal for the future (that’s what college was for). I did not go into debt in the course of acquiring my bachelor’s degree in English, and thus I am not spending these years paying down thousands of dollars of school debt. I am doing fine.
You see how that last paragraph was sort of self-righteous? That’s me overcompensating for how incredibly judged The Defining Decade made me feel. Because I sort of have that thing where I want all the real grown-ups to approve of me. I wanted to howl “No! Not me, Meg Jay, PhD! I’m doing fine! I’m not aimless, I’m fine, I’m fine!” Whenever new people got on the subway and were near me, I wanted to say, “Excuse me. You may observe that I am reading this book and conclude that I am not doing a good job at my life right now, but in fact I am hate-reading this book and concluding that I am doing just fine. Thank you for your time.” But I did not do either of these things. I am not a crazy person.
What you should take away from this post: I’m fine. I just crave approval.