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But You're Still So Young: How Thirtysomethings Are Redefining Adulthood

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From the author of Text Me When You Get Home, an investigation into what it means to be in your thirties, and to navigate some of the biggest milestones of adult life . . . and how it is more okay than ever to not have every box checked off On Kayleen Schaefer's birthday she went dancing with friends, they broke a table, and she turned thirty standing on the sidewalk outsi From the author of Text Me When You Get Home, an investigation into what it means to be in your thirties, and to navigate some of the biggest milestones of adult life . . . and how it is more okay than ever to not have every box checked off On Kayleen Schaefer's birthday she went dancing with friends, they broke a table, and she turned thirty standing on the sidewalk outside a club she got kicked out of. Sociologists have identified the five markers of adulthood as: finishing school, leaving home, marriage, gaining financial independence, and having kids. But the signifiers of being in our thirties today are not the same--repeated economic upheaval, rising debt, decreasing marriage rates, fertility treatments, and a more open-minded society have all led to a shifting timeline. Americans are taking major life steps later, switching careers with unprecedented frequency, and exercising increased freedom and creativity in their decisions about how to shape their lives. So why are we measuring adulthood by the same metrics that were relied upon fifty years ago? BUT YOU'RE STILL SO YOUNG is cleverly structured around these five major life events. For each milestone, the book highlights men and women from various backgrounds, from around the country, and delves into their experiences navigating an ever-changing financial landscape and evolving societal expectations. The thirtysomethings in this book envisioned their thirties differently than how they are actually living them. He thought he would be done with his degree, she thought she'd be married, they thought they'd be famous comedians, and everyone thought they would have more money. Kayleen uses her smart narrative framing, research skills, and relatable voice and her own story to show how the thirties have changed from the cultural stereotypes around them, and how they are a radically different experience for Americans now than it was for any other generation. And as she and her sources show, not being able to do everything isn't a sign of a life gone wrong. Being open to going sideways or upside down or backward, means it has gone right: you found meaning and value in many different ways of living.


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From the author of Text Me When You Get Home, an investigation into what it means to be in your thirties, and to navigate some of the biggest milestones of adult life . . . and how it is more okay than ever to not have every box checked off On Kayleen Schaefer's birthday she went dancing with friends, they broke a table, and she turned thirty standing on the sidewalk outsi From the author of Text Me When You Get Home, an investigation into what it means to be in your thirties, and to navigate some of the biggest milestones of adult life . . . and how it is more okay than ever to not have every box checked off On Kayleen Schaefer's birthday she went dancing with friends, they broke a table, and she turned thirty standing on the sidewalk outside a club she got kicked out of. Sociologists have identified the five markers of adulthood as: finishing school, leaving home, marriage, gaining financial independence, and having kids. But the signifiers of being in our thirties today are not the same--repeated economic upheaval, rising debt, decreasing marriage rates, fertility treatments, and a more open-minded society have all led to a shifting timeline. Americans are taking major life steps later, switching careers with unprecedented frequency, and exercising increased freedom and creativity in their decisions about how to shape their lives. So why are we measuring adulthood by the same metrics that were relied upon fifty years ago? BUT YOU'RE STILL SO YOUNG is cleverly structured around these five major life events. For each milestone, the book highlights men and women from various backgrounds, from around the country, and delves into their experiences navigating an ever-changing financial landscape and evolving societal expectations. The thirtysomethings in this book envisioned their thirties differently than how they are actually living them. He thought he would be done with his degree, she thought she'd be married, they thought they'd be famous comedians, and everyone thought they would have more money. Kayleen uses her smart narrative framing, research skills, and relatable voice and her own story to show how the thirties have changed from the cultural stereotypes around them, and how they are a radically different experience for Americans now than it was for any other generation. And as she and her sources show, not being able to do everything isn't a sign of a life gone wrong. Being open to going sideways or upside down or backward, means it has gone right: you found meaning and value in many different ways of living.

30 review for But You're Still So Young: How Thirtysomethings Are Redefining Adulthood

  1. 5 out of 5

    Olive Fellows (abookolive)

    The twenties have undergone a rebrand. What was once a time when many people settled down and started a family is now a decade of self-discovery in which it’s okay to not be sure of what you want or who you want to be. But the thirties? Our thirtieth birthdays have morphed into a very official-sounding cutoff date: “By thirty, I should be in my dream career. By thirty, I’ll be married with kids. By thirty, I should have my life figured out.” As many of us enter this supposedly steady period of o The twenties have undergone a rebrand. What was once a time when many people settled down and started a family is now a decade of self-discovery in which it’s okay to not be sure of what you want or who you want to be. But the thirties? Our thirtieth birthdays have morphed into a very official-sounding cutoff date: “By thirty, I should be in my dream career. By thirty, I’ll be married with kids. By thirty, I should have my life figured out.” As many of us enter this supposedly steady period of our lives with things still looking jumbled, it seems to beg the question: do the thirties deserve their own overhaul? In the incredibly readable (and binge-able) “But You’re Still So Young,” journalist and author of Text Me When You Get Home: The Evolution and Triumph of Modern Female Friendship, Kayleen Schaefer looks at the thirties as a decade and uses studies as well as personal stories to test whether or not the thirties are the calm waters we desire them to be. Are we truly adults at 30? To test this, the author lays out the traditional milestones of adult life: 1) Finishing school 2) Leaving home 3) Getting married 4) Gaining financial independence 5) Having children There is a lot of pressure on all of us to accomplish all of these and to have them under our belt if not by our thirtieth birthdays, then sometime within our thirties. And this isn’t just outside pressure: we have lofty expectations of ourselves to check off these boxes, even though they are ideals are largely rooted in the 1950s which fail to recognize the changing world in which we live. That’s the author’s main purpose in writing this book: showing the thirties not for what they once were or for what they represent from a distance, but for the realities we face when we’re in this decade. She goes milestone by milestone, citing the differences modern thirty-somethings face that their parents either did not or did to a much lesser degree (see also: a devastating global pandemic, crushing student loan debt, an unforgiving job market, inflated housing prices...I could go on). But she also tells a variety of stories of people in their thirties who are struggling with one or more of the abovementioned milestones for reasons that are often out of their control. These are people from all different backgrounds who are all facing the challenge of being a thirty-something in the modern world. Schaefer does a great job discussing the problems modern thirty-somethings are facing and the real stories she presents illustrate her points nicely; she even tells her own story throughout the book as she was thirty-nine when she was writing it. Throughout each chapter, her interjections in which she quotes different psychologists and ethnographers to present demonstrable societal changes that the personal stories hinted at were extremely helpful, I simply wish there were more of them. I often felt that these personal stories went on too long without the author’s voice highlighting the main takeaways and how they connect to the research. Being attracted to such a book, I’m obviously a thirty-something myself (I’m in my early thirties as I write this), and I found much of it to be extremely familiar, but also illuminating. It is indeed very difficult to see yourself as an adult when even one element of your life is left dangling. Whatever part of “complete adulthood” you’re “missing” is absolutely what everyone will want updates on when they speak to you, and it can get exhausting. It’s high time that the thirties got the same window treatment as the twenties. There’s no magic switch that flips when midnight strikes on your thirtieth birthday and the things you were unsure of at 29 will trail behind you into your thirties like a piece of toilet paper stuck to your shoe. If we can stop speaking about these years as though they’re a finish line and more like what they are: a new era of exploration, we’ll all be much better off. I'm grateful to this book for shining a light on that fact.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Amanda Campbell

    As a thirty-something without a spouse or kids, this book was speaking directly to me. I appreciated the structure of having a chapter devoted to each of the five milestones that sociologists in the 1950s said you needed to achieve to be an adult. There is some data and description of why we no longer check those boxes in our early twenties (or ever), but the real heart of the book is the stories of others in their thirties. The book features people at various stages of life and levels of expect As a thirty-something without a spouse or kids, this book was speaking directly to me. I appreciated the structure of having a chapter devoted to each of the five milestones that sociologists in the 1950s said you needed to achieve to be an adult. There is some data and description of why we no longer check those boxes in our early twenties (or ever), but the real heart of the book is the stories of others in their thirties. The book features people at various stages of life and levels of expectation of where they "should" be. I would recommend this book to anyone at any age who scrolls through social media and feels somehow behind everyone else. Thank you to Netgalley for the ARC!

  3. 4 out of 5

    Jessica

    This book was affirming. It’s premise is based around the 1950s idea that there are five major milestones to adulthood: finishing school, leaving home, getting married, becoming financially independent, and having children. I’d argue that while the idea was made formal in the 1950s, it has been woven into American culture (freedom! Independence! Production!) much longer. There are a few things I wish were more fleshed out. The book feels pretty white middle class (one guy was making six figures a This book was affirming. It’s premise is based around the 1950s idea that there are five major milestones to adulthood: finishing school, leaving home, getting married, becoming financially independent, and having children. I’d argue that while the idea was made formal in the 1950s, it has been woven into American culture (freedom! Independence! Production!) much longer. There are a few things I wish were more fleshed out. The book feels pretty white middle class (one guy was making six figures and that is certainly not something I will ever be able to relate to), so I wish it was a bit more representative, though they are case studies so I understand why it is not. The analysis can be a bit surface-level at times and I found myself wanting more data and explanations for phenomena. I would also like to know how economic status, race, sexuality, and gender individually play roles. Overall, I really enjoyed it. I’ve constantly felt immensely judged in my adult life when people find out I live with my parents yet have a successful career and am almost 30. It seems to infuriate them that I’d rather bingewatch tv with my mom in the evenings than drink wine alone and cry in an empty overpriced apartment - drinking wine and crying in the home where I live is much more affordable! And there’s hugs afterward! There is also always an insinuation that my parents want me to leave. That I’m some kind of failure to launch. Trust me, they don’t! And my mom will fight you if you’re mean to me. I have no interest in ever having children. Though I live with my parents, I am financially independent. I have no plans to move out. I have no plans to get married. Does that mean I’ll never be an “adult”? I certainly don’t think so. And I’m glad this book affirms how I feel about my life. Side note: I put her first book on hold and can't wait to dive into it at some point!

  4. 4 out of 5

    Giuseppe D

    I think this book really resonated with me because as I got older, I had this nagging feeling of not being in the "right" place yet, of not being the person I thought I'd be at this age, of not having the things that I thought I'd have. This really helped to get some perspective. First of all, many of us thirtysomethings have these feelings and these are normal because we've always been told that by a certain age you should have a career, a house, a partner, children. But what if it doesn't happe I think this book really resonated with me because as I got older, I had this nagging feeling of not being in the "right" place yet, of not being the person I thought I'd be at this age, of not having the things that I thought I'd have. This really helped to get some perspective. First of all, many of us thirtysomethings have these feelings and these are normal because we've always been told that by a certain age you should have a career, a house, a partner, children. But what if it doesn't happen for us? We risk living our lives waiting and waiting and eventually wishing our life away. The other big point is that reaching those "goals" by a certain age is getting harder and harder and it doesn't all depend on us as individuals. See, the thing is that in most Western countries getting on the property ladder is pretty hard, a lot more difficult than it used to be. Finding a good career as well and again we live with this message that if you work hard enough, you'll achieve those things and so it must be true that if you don't achieve them, then you didn't work hard enough. And again that's not the case. Sometimes what you see on a facebook status or on instagram posts doesn't tell you what's behind. As an example, someone your age with a similar job to you might become a homeowner and you beat yourself up because you're not. What they don't tell you is whether they got help from family which is the case very often. In the end, I think this reminded me that everyone has their own path and adulthood is not defined by one or more "goals". And also to not forget to try and enjoy the journey too. One thing I have to say is that this is very US-centric but many of the messages can be applied to other Western cultures as well.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Allison

    When the publisher asked if I would be interested in reading But You're Still So Young, I was honestly a little hesitant because nonfiction is not my typical genre. But as a 32 year old female who has struggled with the idea of adulthood and doing things "right," I knew I needed to branch out and give this one a shot! But You're Still So Young is a well-researched book about how millennials are redefining adulthood. For years we were sold the idea that life will be perfect if we go to college, ge When the publisher asked if I would be interested in reading But You're Still So Young, I was honestly a little hesitant because nonfiction is not my typical genre. But as a 32 year old female who has struggled with the idea of adulthood and doing things "right," I knew I needed to branch out and give this one a shot! But You're Still So Young is a well-researched book about how millennials are redefining adulthood. For years we were sold the idea that life will be perfect if we go to college, get our dream job the day after graduation, gain financial stability, get married, buy a house, and have kids. Oh and all of this needs to be accomplished before you are 30. But that is not the case anymore. More and more millennials are delaying marriage until their 30s. Some are moving back home after graduation because they have thousands of dollars of debt and the dream job with a 401K simply isn't there. And many are delaying having children because they don't feel like adults even though they are in their 30s! I personally have struggled with feeling like a true adult, even in my late 20s when I started my career and got married. Some days I still feel like a kid when I have to call my daddy for help with my car or ask my mom how to cook something. But we have been sold this idea of what makes a person an adult for so long that we now feel like we haven't achieved this milestone because we can't tick off every piece of criteria on society's outdated list. I recommend this book to every 20-something or 30-something who is struggling with the fact that life didn't play out the way they expected. Most of the time, the book didn't feel like nonfiction because the author included different narratives from people she interviewed. Their stories kept me interested in the book because I genuinely wanted to know how things turned out for each person. But You're Still So Young made me realize that my 30s are not a death sentence and I still have a lot of living to do! Many thanks to Dutton for an advanced copy in exchange for my honest review.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Andrea

    Too much time was spent on anecdotes and not enough facts and statistics, which would have added weight and gravitas to the author’s argument that adulthood is not what it “used” to be and that the 30s is a whole new decade for growth and exploration, as opposed to clear cut defineable milestones.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Patrick Kelly

    But Your Still So Young By Kayleen Schaefer - [ ] Hiking Mt Morrow - [ ] I need to hear this - [ ] The 20’s are about finding yourself, the 30’s are about … - [ ] I did not find myself, I am still craving my big adventure - [ ] I finished school but I should probably go back - [ ] I don’t have a career, I am not married, I don’t have kids, I don’t own a home but I live in one, I am maybe financially independent - [ ] I feel so far behind and lost. I don’t want to be 50 working a retail job living i But Your Still So Young By Kayleen Schaefer - [ ] Hiking Mt Morrow - [ ] I need to hear this - [ ] The 20’s are about finding yourself, the 30’s are about … - [ ] I did not find myself, I am still craving my big adventure - [ ] I finished school but I should probably go back - [ ] I don’t have a career, I am not married, I don’t have kids, I don’t own a home but I live in one, I am maybe financially independent - [ ] I feel so far behind and lost. I don’t want to be 50 working a retail job living in an apartment - [ ] The pressures of life - [ ] They are using diverse examples - [ ] A career, being laid off, not doing what you want, student loans, needing a degree - [ ] The unexpected turns of the modern career, free lancing, the gig economy, the pandemic - [ ] FOMO, keeping up appearances - [ ] Marriage, the pressure to be married by 30, being on a different time line as the person you want to be with - [ ] For the first time the majority of people 24-34 live with their parents - [ ] Married people want other people to join their club and be married too - [ ] Date people, most relationships don’t work out, learn how to be in a relationship, what do you want - [ ] Gosh I owe some much to Rosi, I miss her, I will always have love for her - [ ] There are great stats and quotes in this book that I am missing but that is alright, this book makes me feel less alone. Everything will work out - [ ] I think some of these people have ADHD - [ ] The barriers of college, college is now a symbol and a requirement but some how offers less - [ ] Because of segregationist policies most black WWII veterans did not benefit from the GI Bill - [ ] If the middle class struggles to afford college, how does the lower class even attempt it - [ ] The destruction of unions, lower wages, gig economy, constantly working, the hustle, fewer benefits - [ ] Kids - [ ] Birth rates are declining for teenagers and early 20’s but increasing for women in their 30’s-40’s - [ ] Once a women has her first child, her average income declines by $25k, while her husbands continues to increase. However the later a women has her first child the less her income is impacted - [ ] It’s alright for things to not work out, that is life. It’s not going to look like how you planned it but it will work out. You are standing at a point on a path that you do not know where it will take you but it will take you, trust it This book surprisingly and kindly does not talk much about social media, FOMO, or comparing ourselves to others. Those topics are played out and one can get them from tons of other places - [ ] We don’t have to follow the path, just do your best with what is presented - [ ] The end of the book was anticlimactic but that’s alright, because so is life. This book does not offer a solution or inspiration, just relation and it will be alright. I liked it - [ ] I might not give this book to a ton of people but it was comforting, thank you

  8. 5 out of 5

    meowskinsbookskins

    But You're Still So Young: How Thirtysomethings Are Redefining Adulthood by Kayleen Schaefer was such a refreshing, validating and relatable read for me as I am getting ready to turn 35 years old next month. This book explored all of my fears, hopes and anxieties of being my age. The author provided examples of different people's lives at various stages and hurdles to overcome in their 30s, along with statistics and research that showed we aren't alone. Personally, my favorite chapters were "Mar But You're Still So Young: How Thirtysomethings Are Redefining Adulthood by Kayleen Schaefer was such a refreshing, validating and relatable read for me as I am getting ready to turn 35 years old next month. This book explored all of my fears, hopes and anxieties of being my age. The author provided examples of different people's lives at various stages and hurdles to overcome in their 30s, along with statistics and research that showed we aren't alone. Personally, my favorite chapters were "Marrying" and "Having a Child," as these are two milestones I want to achieve and are on the forefront of my mind daily. Other chapters include "Completing School," "Leaving Home," and "Becoming Financially Independent," all of which I found to be affirming as well. There are so many people in this stage of life with varying backgrounds, experiences, losses, and goals that are all faced with the same challenges. I think this book could be explored even more into a very successful documentary. One thing I would add into this future documentary would be to include stories of those who have already checked the "boxes" of adulthood and explore their fears, regrets, goals and losses they also experience. I highly recommend this book for those who are approaching, in the middle of, or nearing the end of their 30s. I also think it would be a great read for older and younger generations to gain and understanding of what it means to be in your 30s at this moment. It was released on March 2nd so don't hesitate to pick up a copy today! Huge thank you to Dutton Books, NetGalley and the author Kayleen Schaefer for this amazing book!!! I feel a bit better about turning 35 now.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Althea

    I really need to stop reading books like this. Books about how your life progresses, your milestones, the decades of your life, whatever. They're not for me. This kind of book is for straight middle-class white people whose expectations for life are shaped by other straight middle-class white people. I know the point is that "the milestones have changed" but this book talks about how the milestones have changed primarily from the lens of "I never reached those milestones." It's mostly a series o I really need to stop reading books like this. Books about how your life progresses, your milestones, the decades of your life, whatever. They're not for me. This kind of book is for straight middle-class white people whose expectations for life are shaped by other straight middle-class white people. I know the point is that "the milestones have changed" but this book talks about how the milestones have changed primarily from the lens of "I never reached those milestones." It's mostly a series of vignettes of people in their thirties briefly recounting some part of their life, focusing on some aspect like "education" or "family." I was disappointed by the lack of statistics or further study on any of these topics. The author would dip in with a few paragraphs but then return to these case studies. It's informal, which I'm sure is intended, but I found that I didn't get anything out of the stories. The author does have a diverse cast of case studies, which I'm sure was done so carefully and on purpose, but the discussions of how cultural difference or any intersecting oppression affects this framework is minimal and shallow. There's mention of someone's race and how it's affected their life, but there's little if no accounting for how these differences would change what being "thirty-something" means to someone who isn't, again, straight white and middle class. Maybe I was hoping for something that this book never intended on giving me, but I was disappointed nonetheless.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Genevieve Trono

    This was a fascinating look at the "rebranding" of being 30-something. Recently there has been a shift both in societal expectations as well as researched-based information that is now looking at this stage of life in a much broader way. For many years, there were milestones that people were "expected" to read once they hit their 30s. These milestones would (unofficially) mark them as "successfully adulting". So many old standards don't have any place in society today and I am always eager to see This was a fascinating look at the "rebranding" of being 30-something. Recently there has been a shift both in societal expectations as well as researched-based information that is now looking at this stage of life in a much broader way. For many years, there were milestones that people were "expected" to read once they hit their 30s. These milestones would (unofficially) mark them as "successfully adulting". So many old standards don't have any place in society today and I am always eager to see these changes in action. Of course, there is nothing wrong with wanting to real certain milestones, but they no longer should feel like requirements and in many ways, they are harder to achieve now than ever before. 30-somethings in today's world have many other pressures that also make some of these goals much harder to reach than even 10/20 or 30 years ago, and this is even harder when you add in one's race, economic status, and more. I loved the personal aspects that were tied into the narrative that made this not just feel like a textbook-style read. I tend to enjoy non-fiction books that take on the idea that none of us have this figured out, and most of us are just figuring life as we go and found this to be a very interesting book that so many millennial-aged readers will relate to. Thank you to Dutton Books for my gifted copy in exchange for my honest review.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Rachel

    As someone approaching her 30s, I enjoyed this books overall. It was comforting to read interviews from people who were also feeling like they didn't have life as settled as they expected by their third decade. I related to some of them more than others, which is not surprising, and not all of them made made mature, well reasoned decisions, which was also not surprising. However, whether their lives had been shaped more by circumstance or by their own decisions, everyone seemed to have grown fro As someone approaching her 30s, I enjoyed this books overall. It was comforting to read interviews from people who were also feeling like they didn't have life as settled as they expected by their third decade. I related to some of them more than others, which is not surprising, and not all of them made made mature, well reasoned decisions, which was also not surprising. However, whether their lives had been shaped more by circumstance or by their own decisions, everyone seemed to have grown from the journey by the book's end. That all being said, I would still only give it three stars because there were areas I would have liked to be backed by greater scientific research and data, and because the author's message was unclear. In the beginning she seemed to be making one point, but by the conclusion she'd ended up in a different direction. Maybe that was part of her own journey in her writing, and that does mirror the idea she proposes that we're all on our own path and things will happen in their own times, but the question as to whether the five stages of adulthood are still valid milestone markers was left behind roughly two-thirds through the book and never given an answer. All in all, it was still a worthwhile read, but it's not as polished as I had hoped.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Zibby Owens

    This book is centered around the milestones that happen in our 30s. For each milestone, the book highlights different men and women who envisioned their thirties to be much different from how they are living them. The author incorporated her own life too, so this read like a memoir with little passages sprinkled in about everybody else's life and how they all unfold together. One quote said, "It feels wrong to admit I'm still working on it. I don't know if this is right. I thought it would be dif This book is centered around the milestones that happen in our 30s. For each milestone, the book highlights different men and women who envisioned their thirties to be much different from how they are living them. The author incorporated her own life too, so this read like a memoir with little passages sprinkled in about everybody else's life and how they all unfold together. One quote said, "It feels wrong to admit I'm still working on it. I don't know if this is right. I thought it would be different. I can't do it." I can relate to that because we all seem to have preconceived notions about what we are supposed to be doing in our 30s, but not everything makes sense. It's not all smooth sailing. Looking back, I feel like my forties are what I thought my thirties would be. To listen to my interview with the author, go to my podcast at: https://zibbyowens.com/transcript/kay...

  13. 4 out of 5

    J.

    But You're Still So Young by Kayleen Schaefer is a great read! There is a lot of pressure on adults, particularly as they enter their thirties, to have met certain milestones along the way (finishing school, getting married, leaving home, etc.). In a very easy to read manner, Schaefer breaks down the traditional milestones of adult life and compares modern thirty-year-olds to generations past. This book was well-researched, and I loved that the author included parts of her own story and real-lif But You're Still So Young by Kayleen Schaefer is a great read! There is a lot of pressure on adults, particularly as they enter their thirties, to have met certain milestones along the way (finishing school, getting married, leaving home, etc.). In a very easy to read manner, Schaefer breaks down the traditional milestones of adult life and compares modern thirty-year-olds to generations past. This book was well-researched, and I loved that the author included parts of her own story and real-life stories of others interspersed with the research. I think this would be a great read for anyone in their twenties or thirties who may feel that life isn't playing out how it should be, or for anyone ready to change the mindset that thirty is the magical cutoff for achieving arbitrary milestones. I received an ARC of this title from the publisher via NetGalley which did not affect the contents of my voluntary review. All opinions are honest and my own.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Emily

    In true tradition of these sorts of feel-good discovery books, no matter how relatable it tries to be it fails. While those interviewed may have been more diverse than a lot of these, it was still pretty much just a bunch of middle-class people from middle-class families living in major metropolitan areas. I think the smallest place was Grand Rapids. Too many people can't relate with the extended out of country vacations everyone seemed to go on or being able to afford a one-bedroom in Queens. W In true tradition of these sorts of feel-good discovery books, no matter how relatable it tries to be it fails. While those interviewed may have been more diverse than a lot of these, it was still pretty much just a bunch of middle-class people from middle-class families living in major metropolitan areas. I think the smallest place was Grand Rapids. Too many people can't relate with the extended out of country vacations everyone seemed to go on or being able to afford a one-bedroom in Queens. What about the thirty-somethings working two fast-food jobs? Those who never even started college? Never wanted to date or have kids? It was very limited in scope and often not relatable. On a style note, the chapters were set up with regular chapter breaks to go between the different people. Except when they didn't. That really could have used more consistency, as it could get confusing as to who we were hearing about.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Ridhi Garg

    By reading the tiltle of this book, I thought it must be for middle-aged people, but even though I started reading it. The scenario towards this book totally changed as I go through the pages. This book can be inspiration for many out there especially for the people who thought that they are good for nothing. We as humans always want to successful and live a hassale-free life, but as we know life is unpredictable. So by reading this book, I understand that it is not important to be successful, th By reading the tiltle of this book, I thought it must be for middle-aged people, but even though I started reading it. The scenario towards this book totally changed as I go through the pages. This book can be inspiration for many out there especially for the people who thought that they are good for nothing. We as humans always want to successful and live a hassale-free life, but as we know life is unpredictable. So by reading this book, I understand that it is not important to be successful, the only thing that matters is the hardwork. The more you more, the more you get in return. At coming to a certain age, if we have not achieved anything, we started feeling depressed but this book solves all your problems as the title says: you're still so young. There is no age bar to achieve what you want, just focus and act in the desired manner. Thankyou!

  16. 5 out of 5

    Tinamarie

    Some interesting discussion, and also some aspects just a little abstract for me. I have hit all these so-called "milestones" yet don't feel I'm "adulting" well anyway. It's true that we are holding ourselves to outdated standards, and it's good to challenge those old notions. What DOES it mean to be an adult? A successful adult? That looks different than the old standards for certain, and yet we feel so pressured to adhere to the past. Overall, it wasn't a bad read, I think she was exploring som Some interesting discussion, and also some aspects just a little abstract for me. I have hit all these so-called "milestones" yet don't feel I'm "adulting" well anyway. It's true that we are holding ourselves to outdated standards, and it's good to challenge those old notions. What DOES it mean to be an adult? A successful adult? That looks different than the old standards for certain, and yet we feel so pressured to adhere to the past. Overall, it wasn't a bad read, I think she was exploring something millennials are all thinking about: am I doing this right? and: what am I supposed to be doing? But who isn't asking these questions to themself these days? The book does leave you thinking, and I think that was her goal.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Amanda

    Did you ever think your life would go according to plan? Did you think you would be approaching age thirty without a career you enjoy, no spouse or children, and no financial stability? What about when you are 32 and find yourself back in your parent's house? I really enjoyed the short stories in this book. The author, Schaefer meets different people in their thirties who are living a life that wasn't in their plans. This book normalizes unique life paths. It is OK not to get married by 30. It i Did you ever think your life would go according to plan? Did you think you would be approaching age thirty without a career you enjoy, no spouse or children, and no financial stability? What about when you are 32 and find yourself back in your parent's house? I really enjoyed the short stories in this book. The author, Schaefer meets different people in their thirties who are living a life that wasn't in their plans. This book normalizes unique life paths. It is OK not to get married by 30. It is OK not to have children. It is OK to change careers and do something you love. This book is a mix of short stories and research on society's view points. Definitely worth the read, especially for those having the "Omg should I be doing that?!" thoughts.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Denise

    Picked this up on a whim - given that I am one of those thirtysomethings, the title sounded vaguely intriguing. I guess people who actually went through life thus far believing they have to reach certain "milestones" by the time they're in their thirties and somehow life hasn't worked out according to their perfect little plan might get something out of this - like knowing that life frequently doesn't work according to plan and mostly people figure out how to make something of it anyway. I could Picked this up on a whim - given that I am one of those thirtysomethings, the title sounded vaguely intriguing. I guess people who actually went through life thus far believing they have to reach certain "milestones" by the time they're in their thirties and somehow life hasn't worked out according to their perfect little plan might get something out of this - like knowing that life frequently doesn't work according to plan and mostly people figure out how to make something of it anyway. I couldn't really connect much to the troubles and anxieties plaguing the various people featured, but then I never did feel a need to impose that sort of "milestones to reach" nonsense on my life and am thus not stressing over anything of the sort.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Jonathan Edward

    What a relief!!! I thought I was the only one that hadn’t made it. I’m in my mid thirties and just this year of 2021, I received the first promotion I’ve ever had, in a career I love and want to stay at for life. I bought the first brand new car I’ve ever owned and on credit that was good enough for the first time to be approved without my parents signature. This book resonated deeply with me. All of the stories in this book struck a very emotionally deep place within me. Thank you for writing t What a relief!!! I thought I was the only one that hadn’t made it. I’m in my mid thirties and just this year of 2021, I received the first promotion I’ve ever had, in a career I love and want to stay at for life. I bought the first brand new car I’ve ever owned and on credit that was good enough for the first time to be approved without my parents signature. This book resonated deeply with me. All of the stories in this book struck a very emotionally deep place within me. Thank you for writing this book. It’s such a weight off my shoulders to know that others struggled through their twenties not knowing what they wanted from life.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Melissa

    The vignettes shared in this book were less about a “redefining” and more of a chosen delay hitting supposed adult milestones. A redefining would have meant flipping the script or challenging the idea of milestones altogether, but all the stories represented people who still wanted and thought about the milestones but were just delayed in their timeline to reaching them. It was also quite difficult to take these stories and the thesis presented seriously as the people interviewed reflect a very The vignettes shared in this book were less about a “redefining” and more of a chosen delay hitting supposed adult milestones. A redefining would have meant flipping the script or challenging the idea of milestones altogether, but all the stories represented people who still wanted and thought about the milestones but were just delayed in their timeline to reaching them. It was also quite difficult to take these stories and the thesis presented seriously as the people interviewed reflect a very narrow representation of a specific financial and educational demographic. Would have benefited from better supporting research and a wider net.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Stephanie

    Pretty surface-level analysis, though I like reading about other people's lives so the survey of thirtysomethings was interesting. Nothing revelatory, not a ton of deep analysis of the reasons why these shifts are happening, and no serious digging into the fact that all these major landmarks (finishing school, marriage, moving out into your own house, having kids, and financial/job security) inextricable from money and rising inequality. Also light on the fact that we've only had these landmarks Pretty surface-level analysis, though I like reading about other people's lives so the survey of thirtysomethings was interesting. Nothing revelatory, not a ton of deep analysis of the reasons why these shifts are happening, and no serious digging into the fact that all these major landmarks (finishing school, marriage, moving out into your own house, having kids, and financial/job security) inextricable from money and rising inequality. Also light on the fact that we've only had these landmarks for 50 years, so who gives a shit if they burn (probably they should!).

  22. 5 out of 5

    Chriselle

    Quick and easy read on a very relevant topic/theme/time frame. High-level view on what some 30-somethings are facing. Stories aren't representative of all 30-somethings and you feel that early on. There's a sad feeling on the frivolity of some decisions made and a helplessness in how none are where they want to be. Instead of it sounding like they grew up and compromised for what they wanted, it sounds like they learned to settle and smile. Maybe this is what our 30s are...but maybe not. Quick and easy read on a very relevant topic/theme/time frame. High-level view on what some 30-somethings are facing. Stories aren't representative of all 30-somethings and you feel that early on. There's a sad feeling on the frivolity of some decisions made and a helplessness in how none are where they want to be. Instead of it sounding like they grew up and compromised for what they wanted, it sounds like they learned to settle and smile. Maybe this is what our 30s are...but maybe not.

  23. 4 out of 5

    feux d'artifice

    I ended up enjoying this book by the end of it. The book isn't really about giving concrete answers but more of just sharing stories of diff ppl's experience. It's nice to hear from a wide pool of different people's real life experiences, feels very human. :))) and it makes reference to COVID too, prob the first non fiction book i read so far that talked about this. I particularly enjoyed the conclusion it had about choices. I ended up enjoying this book by the end of it. The book isn't really about giving concrete answers but more of just sharing stories of diff ppl's experience. It's nice to hear from a wide pool of different people's real life experiences, feels very human. :))) and it makes reference to COVID too, prob the first non fiction book i read so far that talked about this. I particularly enjoyed the conclusion it had about choices.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Erica Katkic

    I enjoyed reading these personal stories from 30 year olds who haven't achieved all five "milestones" of adulthood by the definition of the older generation. It's easy to identify with some of these stories because times have changed since our parents/grandparents generation but expectations have stayed the same. This book is informative and relatable. I enjoyed reading these personal stories from 30 year olds who haven't achieved all five "milestones" of adulthood by the definition of the older generation. It's easy to identify with some of these stories because times have changed since our parents/grandparents generation but expectations have stayed the same. This book is informative and relatable.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Marisa Susan

    This book was okay. I wanted to like it more than I actually did. This book was mostly stories from people in their thirties, and while I liked bits and pieces of what they had to say, overall, the topic and the words fell flat. There are so many things this book could have discussed but didn't. Oh well. This book was okay. I wanted to like it more than I actually did. This book was mostly stories from people in their thirties, and while I liked bits and pieces of what they had to say, overall, the topic and the words fell flat. There are so many things this book could have discussed but didn't. Oh well.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Robert Felton

    This either needed to be a deep dive into the societal challenges facing thirty-somethings navigating a flawed economic system or a character study following individuals facing those challenges. This book tries to tackle both, but sacrifices fluidity and narrative momentum in the process.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Jess S-R

    3.5 stars. This book was super comforting and validating but I do wish the author had gone deeper into topics/the psychology of the stories/experiences and perhaps organized the book differently as it seemed a bit disjointed at times.

  28. 5 out of 5

    BookDragons NotWorms

    For years we have been told we have a set of goals we need to achieve in order to be an adult. However those are from the 50s! With the world changing, it's time to change how being an adult is defined. This book does exactly that! For years we have been told we have a set of goals we need to achieve in order to be an adult. However those are from the 50s! With the world changing, it's time to change how being an adult is defined. This book does exactly that!

  29. 4 out of 5

    Sarah Horn

    3.5/5. I liked the premise but it started to feel repetitive

  30. 5 out of 5

    Sara

    3.5 Was kind of expecting more--more of a relatable read on others in their thirties who don't feel they fit in the "normal" parameters of "successful". For some reason this didn't feel like that 3.5 Was kind of expecting more--more of a relatable read on others in their thirties who don't feel they fit in the "normal" parameters of "successful". For some reason this didn't feel like that

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