As I picked up Christine Hassler’s book, 20 Something 20 Everything: A Quarter-Life Woman’s Guide to Balance and Direction, I was instantly intrigued. The twenties, for me, have been a reformative time period thus far. As every year ends, I learn more about myself than the previous and also feel that in return, I gain more of a sense of fulfillment and clarity. I would HIGHLY recommend this to all the twenty-something women out there who have some sort of an idea ingrained in their mind of how their twenties are supposed to go (aka planner’s complex). Yes, I am guilty of that too! I will touch on a few points in my post today just enough to hopefully reel you in to want to go read it yourself.
First, let’s tackle what Hassler calls “The Twenties Triangle“, this triangle emphasizes three main questions which consist of 1) Who Am I? 2) What do I want? 3) How do I get it? She goes on to say, “These questions are present in most, if not all, aspects of our lives: identity, independence, security, relationships, career, and family.” This diagram sets the framework for those important questions we ask ourselves, the decisions we make, and if those decisions align with our priorities, goals, or values.
I am not sure what the stigma surrounding 30 is…but it definitely is there…it is the pink elephant in the room. It’s as if that is the magic number by which we should have decoded all mysteries of life and be completely enlightened. In her book, Hassler conducted a survey in which she asked what expectations individuals felt as 20-something women. She gives an example of a 28-year old woman, “I’m supposed to have a devastatingly impressive life before I hit thirty (and it’s always hit thirty as if it’s this ghastly accident that leaves you disabled for life). I’m supposed to marry and to be the perfect match for that man in wits and success while also making sure that his socks match. I’m supposed to exceed what my mother achieved but not question or doubt her choices. I’m supposed to be my father’s bright, accomplished young star. I’m supposed to be competitive and driven, yet soft and feminine. I’m supposed to be…everything.” Strikes a chord, doesn’t it? I feel, at some point or another, all women I have spoken with have put so much pressure on themselves according to a societal timeline or what is deemed appropriate. They waste time worrying/planning instead of creating and living the life they have dreamt of.
This is where her concept of the Expectation Hangover makes an entry. As she puts it, ” An expectation hangover occurs when we hold a certain expectation but things do not turn out as we thought they should or would have liked, and we then feel awful. It is far worse than a tequila hangover because it lasts much longer than a day, and no amount of aspirin can cure it. I am sure you all have had one. Think of a job interview that you were really excited and confident about. You wore your best suit, your resume, and references were impeccable, and you felt like you nailed every question. You were on a high, just waiting for the call telling you that you got the job, but then you did not get it. You felt miserable and unmotivated, and you begin to question your career path. You expected a certain result and then faced a huge letdown. Chances are, you found some way to blame yourself, and your self-esteem took a beating. Your were suffering from an expectation hangover.” Been there, done that. How do we cope or better yet avoid these expectation hangovers? Sorry, you will have to read the book to find out 🙂
Hassler does a fine job examining the post-college transitional phase, how women secure their independence, how they approach their careers, and finally their relationships. Did you go from emotionally depending on your parents to moving out and then depending on your boyfriends? Are you staying in a job you hate because you have no idea where to start to break into the career you actually want? Are you staying in a relationship that upsets you half the time because you think you can fix it or him? She includes insight from 20-somethings that are applicable to our daily life and you might find yourself smiling to yourself saying, “Crap, I do this too!” This book can serve as a guide to really think about if we are manifesting happiness and fulfillment in all aspects of our life that are important to us. She concludes each chapter with a list of questions to get you to resolve your own inner conflicts or concerns as well as to challenge your rationale behind your decision-making or bad habits.
As she says in her book, a good fisherman does not catch the fish for his student, but rather teaches him how to fish. This book does something similar in that regards, it uncovers those insecurities, fears, and doubts to make way for a better life that is in accordance to YOUR belief system and timeline.
As always, thank you for reading #PositivityFilter,