Why 30 is not the New 20

Below, a link to a TED talk from May 2013 that serves as wake up call to all the 20somethings who think they’ve “still got time.”


This video manages the impossible feat of being both anxiety inducing and comforting all at once. Meg Jay (the psychologist in the vid) has put in fancier words (and with a slightly annoying Southern drawl) what my momma has been telling me for years: No such thing as being with someone even though you’re definitely not getting married / don’t get stuck in a “temporary fix” career / your body and your fertility are serious things to consider.

But Jay doesn’t just draw from her life experiences like our mommas do, she’s got the science to back it up.

By 35, we’ve done 8/10 of the most “important steps” of our lives. YIKES. That means by 30, we should already be in that framework.

In a nutshell: ”As a culture we have trivialized what is actually THE defining decade.”

(Well actually, that New York Times article did a lot to strengthen that argument. The article that elicited all those “That’s so true! This.Is.Me.” Facebook statuses.)

The video got me thinking – How many years have we already “wasted” on the not-perfect job, partner, friends, country, hobbies? Why do we wait so long to do what is both good for us in the long run and the short run? Why are we so ready to believe the 30s are the new 20s?

How did we get to a place where we were “allowed” 10 whole years to mess up, mess around – that the big things will find a way to fix themselves, later? Are we all just collectively procrastinating?


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One response to “Why 30 is not the New 20

  1. Marion

    oh Dyala – procrastinate – life is a journey (there, I’m sounding all Californian), it’s a process and you don’t get it all fixed by the time you’re thirty. Those are the years you make mistakes and learn things, learn what you don’t want. And what’s wrong with a temporary fix? Not all of us these days stay with the same partner from teenager to the grave. You change and your partner, or your needs from a partner may change too. Okay – don’t waste a second of yourself on a loser (though you might not recognise him as such at the time) but do what feels right at the time and do it full on. You have your mother and your aunt to give better life advice than me, but the only thing I regret about my young life was not being able to go to university (different time, good reasons) and develop my intellect, but everything else? That’s what made me who I am today – even because of, and despite the lack of a degree. I’m a published author, a journalist, a foodie, a wife, an ex-wife, a mother, a lover, a nutcase and a friend. I’ve had two marriages, one ‘the learning marriage’, the second with your cousin Ahmad, fallen in love more than I should have, had my heart broken and broken others, and got through my husband leaving me to find an even better life awaiting me, but still with the strong bonds of friendship and family from that relationship untarnished. I’ve changed career several times, and now feel at 55 that – forget thirty – I’m in the most important time of my life – the time when the kids are grown up, when I’m free, when I’m financially better off, when I have my independence, when I have a live-in (younger) lover who doesn’t hold me back in any way, when I can go where I like and with whom I like, when I have time to do all those things I didn’t have time for when I was younger – paint the stairs pink, finish that project, write that book, when I still (touch wood) have my health, and can turn out a meal for 40 singlehandedly and fill the house with people. I don’t regret a thing in my scrabbling youth, or the wrong men, or the right men who turned out to be wrong, not the heartache, or the uncertainty. I’m certainly in a temporary fix relationship now, but it’s exactly right for now. Life is temporary. It’s never too late to be who you were meant to be.
    The only bit of advice I’d give any young woman is this – don’t miss out on having kids with a decent man who will be a father to them (or with a loser if you can’t turn up one of those – then ditch him soon after). The husband is an optional extra. They come and go. Having your own money isn’t. My kids are the best thing in my life.

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