I’m not the kind of girl to obsessively catalog who’s posting what on Facebook, but over the last few years, I’ve seen more proposal pics and engagement ring shots than I can even count. All my friends are getting married, but the only jewel on my finger is the occasional Ring Pop. When we were kids, we spent whole days planning our respective weddings. Now that we’ve all reached the age where we’re supposed to start actually walking down the aisle, they’re all tossing their bouquets and I’m still trying to figure out if I even want to catch one.
It’s really weird being the only one who isn’t ready to settle down yet. In between girlish crushes and first kisses, getting hitched used to be all any of us seemed to have any interest in. In the years since puberty hit, all my friends might have found their Mr. Rights, but all I’ve found is that I have a lot of growing left to do. If and when I get married, I want to make sure that I’m totally ready… but it’s beginning to feel pretty strange to see everyone else sewing wedding quilts while I’m still sowing my wild oats.
Everyone else is jumping off this bridge, so shouldn’t I be too? If my life was on a schedule, I’d show up to my own funeral ten minutes late, so it wouldn’t surprise me a bit if I was the last one to the wedding party. But at the same time, when everyone else is making big, important life changes that I haven’t even thought about, there’s no helping that anxiety that sets in: if it’s the right time for them, why isn’t it the right time for me?
It’s scary that we’re entering entirely different phases of our lives now. It’s not that I’m afraid my friends are going to leave me behind; it’s that we’ve reached a fork in the road. While they’re walking down the aisle, it feels like I’m taking the road less traveled — and it’s scary to walk that alone. Their lives are about to be aglow with wedded bliss, but I might just be following my career path straight to Old Maid City, population: me.
I’m going to miss our single gal squad. We used to tear it up back in our glory days — together, we could be absolute hell on high heels, and I’m always going to be nostalgic for that. But now that everyone is partnering off and picking out wedding invitations, suddenly there’s no time to paint the town red anymore — and something tells me that even if there was, the husbands-to-be wouldn’t necessarily approve.
I’m the weirdest mix of happy for them and jealous of them. I’d be a horrible person if I wasn’t happy for all my blushing bride gal pals — but I’d be a liar if I said I wasn’t a little bit jealous. Who doesn’t want to be the one flashing gorgeous jewelry and rocking a white veil? It’s too bad that wedding days call only call for something blue, because as excited as I am for my girls, I’ve also got a big fat green-eyed monster that shows up every time the wedding bells start to ring.
I’m beginning to suspect I might have an “attention ho” problem. All these gorgeous brides-to-be are getting so much attention as they enter this exciting new chapter of their lives! Meanwhile, I’m not always sure if I even want to get married… so why do I kind of wish I was getting in on this action too? Part of me fears that I’m only so twisted up about all this wedding nonsense because deep down, I’m an absolute child — I just, like, kind of need all the focus to be on me, thanks.
Making excuses for why I’m not engaged yet is starting to get old. Unfortunately, not all of this marriage stress is entirely internalized. Like a typhoon of overbearing questions and shame, I’ve been hit hard with wonderings and speculation on when I’m finally going to settle down with a special someone, and I’m getting real tired of mumbling something about, “Focusing on my career right now.”
I think my family is starting to become concerned for my love life. Like it or not, our loved ones have certain expectations for our lives… and with nearly all my friends properly partnered up, I’m beginning to fear my own family thinks there’s like, something wrong with me. I’m just being careful about who I legally bind myself to until “death do us part,”Grandma — I swear!
I’m 100% aware that I need to chill. At the end of the day, it shouldn’t really matter what everyone else is doing in their lives. We’re all on our own journeys here, and right now, mine doesn’t yet involve a wedding band. These moments of zen-like clarity are ultimately more important than I’d like to admit — because despite knowing I need to stop worrying about it, that knowledge is something I have to desperately cling to the next time an engagement announcement goes out.
Adulthood is only going to keep getting more complicated from here on out. When it comes right down to it, this isn’t about getting married at all. All these wedding bells are merely the sound of a new part of our lives beginning, and that’s kind of terrifying. We aren’t kids anymore, so this isn’t all just harmless make-believe — it’s real life. As my best gals dive headfirst into adulthood, I’m glad that they’re doing so with a loving partner by their side. In the meantime, I’ll just be lounging over here on the shallow end, ogling lifeguards and wondering what my first name would sound like with a different surname tacked on the end.
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