On Channel 4 tonight at 9pm
People are always listing things they think everyone must do before certain dates: things to do before you die, before you graduate, before you turn 30, before you’re old and boring, before you buy a home, before you retire, before you’re 10, before you’re 18, before you’re 40.
I’ve had a list, since I was in my twenties, of things you must do before you’re 25 if you really want to appreciate life. Right there at the top of it is the most important thing in my opinion: leave the nest.
In tonight’s movie, Matthew McConaughey’s character Tripp is over 30 and still hasn’t left the parental home. The premise of the film is that his parents Kathy Bates and Terry Bradshaw become exasperated with his reluctance to stand on his own two feet and hire Sarah Jessica Parker to woo him out of their house.
The question is: why have they let him stay there for so long?
I grew up knowing that I would be expected to leave home by the age of 18 and stand on my own two feet. Yes, this involved financial hardship and a lack of home comforts for a while but that’s why I think it’s so important. How can you appreciate the good life when you haven’t experienced the bad?
However, I do appreciate that people are different with widely differing circumstances – both social and economic. Maybe the failure to launch a problem that has worsened in recent years and maybe it is also possible to launch too soon. It’s an issue that has been broadly discussed, not only in the UK, but also the US and Canada.
All I know is that at some point in early adulthood everyone should develop a natural urge to leave the nest. Being tied to the apron strings when you’re 30-plus has to feel wrong. What do you think?