Is it just me, or is everyone getting married? OK, I’m being dramatic, but it does feel as if most people my age (21) are at least in a serious relationship, and as one of the few single ones, all of this monogamy is at least a little terrifying.
I’m happy by myself. I tell people this a lot, but I feel like they rarely believe me. It really is true though. Sure, sometimes I wish I had someone to cuddle up and watch crappy Netflix movies with, but most days, I’m perfectly content doing that on my own.
Despite being all right in my singleness, lately I haven’t been able to stop comparing myself to my peers. After all, almost everyone I know is engaged or close to it, having kids or close to it. I mean, two of my very best friends from high school are getting married next month, and I’m still trying to accept that as reality.
Am I doing something wrong?
That’s the big question I keep asking myself.
Maybe I’m wrong, and choosing to focus more on my budding career than I do on romantic relationships is ludicrous. Maybe I should put more emphasis on finding love and settling down.
The answer, I believe, is simple. Of course I’m not doing it wrong. And neither are my friends who are getting married.
The scary, beautiful, amazing thing is this: There is no doing it wrong. There’s only living life however you want to live it.
Do you want to get married at 20 years old? Will that make you happy? Cool. Do that then. Do you want to run away to Los Angeles as soon as you graduate college and try your best to never look back? That’s fine, too. As long as you’re enjoying the ride.
There’s no rulebook to life, no checklist that says what we have to do and when we need to have it done by; you have to make your own up as you go.
Marriage isn’t a priority for me. It never has been, and maybe it never will be. For a lot of my friends, that seems crazy. I’m driven towards seeing the world and establishing myself professionally. To me, it seems crazy not to place emphasis on those things in life. The key is in remembering that every choice is a legitimate and valuable one, regardless of whether it’s a choice you would make or not.
I don’t think I would ever get married at this age. I honestly don’t feel mature or settled enough to even contemplate the idea. But that doesn’t make it the wrong decision for someone else. If I were to project what I value in life onto others and judge their choices based on that projection, I wouldn’t agree with most people’s choices about anything, and I’m sure they wouldn’t agree with my choices if they projected their own views onto me.
From a feminist perspective, this is something that I’ve put a lot of thought into. I see articles posted on Facebook all the time about how getting married young is the right decision or the wrong decision or something in between. But being a feminist doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t get married young. It doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be a stay-at-home mother. And it doesn’t mean that you have to be a workaholic either. It simply means that you respect each person’s right to choose to do exactly what he or she wants to do.
There is so much that we don’t know about life, so much that we can never know. Maybe we’re only here one time around; maybe not. Either way, striving for happiness seems like the best way we can spend our time.
So get married young to your high school sweetheart… or never get married and explore the vast unknowns of this world. Sit in a little office and work until you’re making six figures. Or try to write the next great American novel in a little cabin in the middle of nowhere. As long as you’re happy and you aren’t hurting anyone along the way, just do you, dude.