Dating is like musical chairs

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I know I haven’t been blogging much but I guess that’s what happens when you’re occupied by life’s wonders. I promise I’ll be better and I don’t make promises I can’t keep.

I came across this TED talk a couple days ago where Meg Jay talks about “Why 30 is not the new 20″ which encompasses topics such as love, career, education, personal development and so forth. Towards about half way point of the TED talk, she speaks upon how dating is like musical chairs and I couldn’t believe how much I agreed with that statement. It took some time for me to process what it really meant but as she began elaborating on her point, I began to relate more and more to it. Below is an excerpt of the TED talk along with the actual video for your viewing pleasure:

“Dating in my 20s was like musical chairs. Everybody was running around and having fun, but then sometime around 30 it was like the music turned off and everybody started sitting down. I didn’t want to be the only one left standing up, so sometimes I think I married my husband because he was the closest chair to me at 30.

Okay, now that sounds a little flip, but make no mistake, the stakes are very high. When a lot has been pushed to your 30s, there is enormous thirty something pressure to jump-start a career, pick a city, partner up, and have two or three kids in a much shorter period of time. Many of these things are incompatible, and as research is just starting to show, simply harder and more stressful to do all at once in our 30s.”

As someone that is in their early/mid 20’s (I feel hella old but look like I’m just hitting puberty), I find that those around me (including myself sometimes) use age as an excuse rather than a motivation or platform (launchpad if you will). Whether it be in regards to school, a career, or finding a partner, I’m constantly being reminded by my peers that they’re still young and have a ways to go until they really need to work on those items. What happens when you reach your late 20’s and then you finally realizes you’re 30? What do you have to show for it? Instead of using age as an excuse, young adults should be using it as a motivation to get a head start. YOYO (You’re only young once). This is the time to make as many mistakes as possible and to learn from those mistakes. I’m constantly reminded by the media that there are teenagers (who can’t even watch a rated “R” movie legally, yet alone drink), who are building these starts ups and creative these innovative products. My assumption is the last thing on their mind is that they’re “still young”.

“The best time to work on your marriage is before you have one, and that means being as intentional with love as you are with work. Picking your family is about consciously choosing who and what you want rather than just making it work or killing time with whoever happens to be choosing you.”

Dating is very much like musical chairs because as Meg Jay pointed out, we don’t realize that there is only one chair left until the music stops. The last thing you should be is a convenience to someone and you should not be choosing your partner or your career based on a convenience. Never settle. You need to able to work on yourself and be extremely secure before working on any sort of a relationship. Consider these as prerequisites before getting into a relationship because what I see as a common denominator across most “honeymoon relationships” is that once the fog clears and the butterflies subside, there still lies those insecurities which become prominent the remainder of the relationship. Jealous, dishonesty, miscommunication, misunderstanding, etc. are just several of the many traits that are not displayed within the first weeks/months of the relationship and can be detrimental if you’re not honest with yourself or your partner.

I’ve always compared an adult in their 20’s to a child’s first 5 years out of their mother’s womb (before this TED talk). This is the time when you’re most exposed to the “adult life” just as a child is exposed to the world within their first years. You’re introduced to 401K’s (I still don’t understand the intricacies of this), rent, car payments, and other responsibilities you wish you didn’t had prior to your 20’s. What’s important is that you act as a sponge and absorb all this information. You’re only able to access to 10% of your brain’s information (I wouldn’t be surprised if it was slightly less for men), so why not pile it up with as much information as possible?

“Thirty is not the new 20, so claim your adulthood, get some identity capital, use your weak ties, pick your family. Don’t be defined by what you didn’t know or didn’t do. You’re deciding your life right now.”

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