Are you between the ages of 20 & 30 and feel like you don’t know what direction is for you? Did you always have family support and are now trying to figure it all out alone for the first time (and you’re terrified)? Do you feel like now is when you’re supposed to jump start your career and think a life of suits, business meetings and business via smartphone is what you should want but all you really want is to be a housewife? Did you spend a significant portion of your 20’s in school and feel totally unprepared for the real world of life, love and paying your own rent? If the answer to any of these questions is yes, you may be having a quarter life crisis.
My sister had this book sent to me and from the minute I started reading, I realized I was indeed having a quarter life crisis. There was a “where will you be in 10 years?” section of my high school yearbook. I wrote that I would be a lawyer. I had in fact accomplished my goal. However, I was a lawyer in name only. I had no job after graduation and my mother was still taking care of me. Wasn’t I supposed to be married? Engaged? Changing the world? Traveling the world? I knew I wasn’t supposed to be in the grips of the darkest depression I had ever suffered staying in bed for days at a time, avoiding my friends and wondering if my task on earth ended. Or, maybe I should I just end it. This book made me understand many of my thoughts were kind of “normal.”
The overall theme of the book is the concept of “expectation hangover.” After Hassler’s explanation I realized that I was heaving the queen mother of expectation hangovers. My favorite aspect of the book is the quotes from all the women who she interviewed. By the end I realized that no matter what choices we make or don’t make, there is someone who made the opposite decision but both people can end up feeling the same expectation hangover. There are quotes from women in all stages of their 20’s speaking about their experiences. Some had gotten married and regretted it. Some ended serious relationships that could have led to marriage. There were women who focused on getting into “safe” careers because that’s what their parents and advisers made them think they had to do. There were others who left “safe” careers to do what they love.
While the quotes from interviews were my favorite part because they made me feel less crazy, Hassler does give a roadmap of how to deal with a quarter life crisis. She discusses everything from relationships between mother and daughter, to financial security to romantic relationships and career. When focusing on each of these areas, she provides a lot of exercises that make you think about what you actually want and provides steps that can put you on the path to get it.
Overall, I loved this book and would recommend it to any young woman, especially someone who recently finished college or grad school. School is safe; the world is not. By the end of the book I realized that no matter which choice(s) we make, our 20’s are a time when we’re all just trying to figure out life once we’re no longer under the control of our parents or academic advisers. Even if you don’t find your Prince Charming and buy your dream house by 30, you’re still the best thing since eyebrow threading.
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