Personal / Relationships

TED Talk: Why 30 is not the new 20

Here’s the first piece of advice in my new How to be Married? series – a TED talk from clinical psychologist Meg Jay, called ‘Why 30 is not the new 20’

(NB I’ve inserted a question mark into the series title because I don’t want anyone confusing me with an expert on the subject. I don’t have a bloody clue, people, it’s a cry for help!)

I stumbled across this great TED talk about a year ago – not long before we got engaged, actually – and something about it really struck a chord. I guess it was around the time that it was dawning on me that E was going to propose. One of my hesitations  back then was that I felt too young. Yes. At 26, I felt too young to get married. Of course, age is just a number and what’s right for one person is completely wrong for another. But, coming from a family where my parents weren’t married until a few years ago, and where almost none of my close friends are married yet, getting married just wasn’t in my pre-30th-birthday life plan. The idea of getting married at 26 felt a bit like something other people do.

This talk, though, helped to crystallise something that was lurking, unarticulated, at the back of my mind: if my relationship felt right for me, then just because I wasn’t 30 yet didn’t mean it wasn’t right.

The key point that Meg Jay makes is that just because everyone’s getting married and having kids later, this doesn’t mean your 20s are a developmental downtime that you can just check out of. 80% of life’s defining moments happen before you’re 35, so your twenties are the best time to be getting your sh*t together. When it comes to marriage, Jay says,  the best time to work on it is before you have one.

This might seem to contradict the point I just made about feeling too young to get married, but in fact it felt like quite the opposite. What this talk made me realise was that I shouldn’t stall on getting married just because of my age: if we both wanted to get married and thought it could work between us, we should do it (it also made me realise that we had some serious groundwork to do before we say “I do”, but more on that later).

Her brand of motivational speaking might not be for everyone, and I can see how her conclusions could be seen as smacking of self-satisfaction. Maybe others will take something different from watching this TED Talk, but her key message, for me, is that you should take yourself and your life seriously, because you owe yourself – and the future you – that much. I find it hard to argue with this – but would do you think?

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One thought on “TED Talk: Why 30 is not the new 20

  1. I got married when I was 21. Never in my life before that year did I plan or even thought of getting married that young. It definitely felt right at the time though and 4 years later, it’s still great. We have adapted to each other’s idiosyncrasies, and it’s actually a constant adaptation since we are constantly changing, not drastically however. Mostly, I think the most important things in our relationship have been honesty, compromise and most of all: love. Oh, not to mention, our relationship with God and both of our main goals being to do God’s will and wish.

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