We can all look around at our friends and see that they are different places in their lives. Whether they are in college or not, they are all doing different things with themselves. Some may be working hard each day, while others play Just Dance in their parents’ basement. Others might be studying for a test right now while some prepare Ramen Noodles like the next Iron Chef. And then some of them are getting married. Yup, that’s right. The “M” word. Married? At our age? The thought either excites you or terrifies you. Either way, it’s happening and there has been some craziness on my Facebook timeline regarding the topic.
If your FB timeline is anything like mine, it includes the usual posts from people you love and hate, some spam, selfies and an interesting article or two. This is where I came across the article “23 Things to do Instead of Getting Engaged before you’re 23.” I thought to myself, “Hmmm, I don’t see myself getting engaged before the age of 23, so let me check this out.” To my surprise, I couldn’t really relate to the author’s point of view. First, the author starts out the article by saying that the only reason young people are getting married is because it is the “in-thing” to do and a “cop out” of life.
I do not agree with this statement at all.
When did getting married become the “in-thing” to do or a “cop out?” Yesterday? Last week? Yes, many young people are getting married, but out of all the mass millions of people I know (trust me, I’ve been an RA for a long time), I only know one, ONE, married person. Most of my friends are single and happy or single and miserable. That seems to be the “in-thing” around.
The author also tries to argue that “you just don’t know yourself at 22,” or any age under 23. Foolishness. Just because you don’t know yourself at 22 doesn’t mean other people do not. Everybody has a different life experience. We are all ready for things at different times in our lives. Take college, for example. Even though it’s very different from marriage, it is still a multiple-year commit that many at 18 are either willing or not willing to take on. If you do take on this commitment, you know it is not an easy one. You also know that if you quit it, no matter what the reason may be, the pressure of “what you are supposed to be doing” and “how things are supposed to go,” might make you feel bad about yourself. You might also look around and see people doing better than you in this journey. You might be doing better than others in this journey. Either way, you were ready for what you were ready for, and comparing yourself to others is the biggest waste of time ever invented.
So why do it? Why do we concern ourselves with other’s business so much? Why does it matter? And why do we feel the need to write an article (that makes her seem very defensive) about other people’s life choices in a negative way? It is really that serious? She also talks about her friends “being knocked up and getting fat soon” and how they have “missed” their opportunity to travel the world and take advantage of their own happiness. As the infamous Rage Face meme would so eloquently say, “WHY YOU NO SAY SMART THINGS?”
Don’t get me wrong, some of the things on the list are really good. Things you should do in your life regardless of your age, such as getting a passport, accomplishing a Pinterest project and writing your feelings down in a blog. Notice anything about these activities? You can do them either single, engaged, married, divorced or whatever your relationship status is. Some of it might be easier to do with a partner, such as the Pinterest project (it NEVER comes out looking the same).
In life, you have got to do what you want to do. Don’t let anybody pressure you or tell you what you should be doing at your age. Especially somebody your own age. If you are ready to be married, invite me please. I love receptions and I give great gifts. If you are happy being single, invite me please. I love watching Netflix and painting toenails. If you mark “Complicated” as your relationship status on Facebook, invite me please. Let’s talk about it and eat some Voodoo Doughnuts. Life is hard. Nobody knows all the answers, ever. But, in the process of figuring them out, let’s remember to respect each other’s choices, because we would want others to do the same for us.
Collegian Columnist Shanel Hughes can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.