“No one else is allowed to get engaged.” I made this statement sometime during my sophomore year of college. I have no idea why I said this. I can’t even think of any of my close friends that were engaged or married that year, but I was definitely fed up.
Why? People just a little older than me were getting married and that was weird. No one from my class got married while they were in high school, and no one got married right out of high school either, so I never dealt with my peers saying their vows until college. The wedding invites of the guys and girls I was used to seeing as teenagers… well, it just seemed wrong.
And I’m wondering where this aversion to marriage in the early twenties came from… no, I know where it came from.
Cue fuzzy pink border graphic (remember those flashback moments from Saved by the Bell?):
Me: When did you and dad get married?
Mom: in 1980.
Me: No, like how old were you?
Mom: 21… that’s TOO YOUNG!
Cue Echo Effect… TOO YOUNG, Too Young, Too young, too young, too young…
So I always knew that 21 was too young.
Let’s be honest, 21 is not too young for everyone, but if you’re in college for the typical 4-6 years (no judgment, I took 4.5 and I still live like a student in some ways), 21 would make you a junior who is thinking more about the cool bar that just opened up downtown or what you’re going to wear to get skinny, shaggy-haired kid to notice you, not a responsible adult who wants to begin sharing a life with someone else.
I don’t think my mom regrets getting married at 21, but I do think she realizes now how hard it was and how hard it would be today. So after a lot of thought, as a teenager (after a brief period where I was convinced I would never marry… ever) I decided that the earliest I would marry would be 26. This would give me plenty of time to pursue my career, become financially stable, and do all the things I wanted to do before becoming “tied down.”
Yeah, I’m definitely 23, graduated 7 months before the wedding will happen, 4 part-time job/gigs, still getting an allowance from my parents, no benefits, and no definite sense of direction for a career path.
Sometimes it hurts to look back at yourself and laugh.