I’m too young for this

Considering how far away I am from marriage, I certainly have been thinking about it a lot. I guess it’s because I have a number of friends and acquaintances who have gotten married or engaged recently, and, to put it bluntly, it’s freaking me out.

Part of me is just afraid of commitment. As much as I am also a hopeless romantic, I see enough stories of failed and unhappy marriages from the media, entertainment and real life to almost scare me out of believing that love can last a lifetime. But have no fear, I do hope to get married – I’m just going to be more careful and take my time than I otherwise might’ve.

Which is why it scares me when someone my age is tying the knot. Although this might be added to by the fact that I don’t even have a boyfriend, I have to wonder how someone can know already who they’re going to want for the rest of their life. I’m not yet who I’m going to be for the rest of my life; I’m not done growing up. As a teenager and college student, I haven’t entered the real world. I haven’t figured out how things work or exactly what I want from my life. I’m not ready to be in a long-term commitment because I don’t know just where I’m going or who I want to be, so how could I know someone will be compatible with me for the rest of my life?

Regardless of my relationship status upon college graduation, I plan to be unwed. If the right person happens to be there, I wouldn’t turn down a nice diamond on my third finger, but I want to be an independent person before I enter wedded bliss. I’m afraid to live alone (so I will need a roommate), but I want to spend at least a year establishing myself in my adult life – starting a career, finding a place to live, learning to cook and clean, managing my own bills and finances – before I will think about combining my life with someone else’s. And if I do find someone before then, if he’s really right for me he’ll understand this and be willing to wait on that second ring.

Besides, if I got married while still in college, I wouldn’t really feel married. To me, part of the experience is living together, fixing up your first house, going to work and then coming home to each other in the evenings – not finding an apartment on a college campus, going to class, studying at night and going to football games and parties on the weekends. Naturally, there are exceptions to every rule (such as if one partner is out of college), but in general, I think it’s important for everyone to come into her own as an adult before entering a lifelong commitment. You have your whole life to be married; your teens and early twenties are about experimenting with life and charting your own path.

Bottom line: If you can’t drink at your own wedding reception, you know there’s something wrong.

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