Oh, the things I believed when I was young and naive, back when 24 seemed desperately old and 34 seemed utterly unthinkable. In high school, I’d already decided the number of children I wanted (a now-mortifying seven) and set a timeline for procreation (because nothing is sexier than a laminated, color-coded bang-schedule). In hindsight? I should have been lobotomized.
My own parents married young: a cautionary tale.
Not all marriages between tender twenty-somethings are doomed to fail, but when it came to my parents’ unholy union, it was kind of inevitable. Like the kids of a lot of divorcees, I grew up living the repercussions of when two people realize they’ve jumped the gun on this whole “’til death do us part” thing. My childhood alone was a nauseating Top 10 list of reasons why marriage is maybe not even that good of an idea, period — so in retrospect, it’s kind of amazing that I was so keen on giving it a whirl for myself in the first place.
Everyone I went to school with has settled down, and I don’t envy them.
I’m beyond happy for all my high school besties for settling down with the men and women of their dreams, but I’m also hyper-aware that what’s right for them right now isn’t right for me. While they’re settling comfortably into their houses and salaried positions and stable relationships, I’m a freeballin’, whiskey-slingin’ leaf on the wind — and surprisingly enough, I’m actually really cool with that. Sometimes, the grass is green on both sides of the fence… but for now, I’m pretty happy with passing out on my front lawn while they’re making lemonade and mowing theirs.
My 20s seemed impossibly far away… until they weren’t.
To a 14-year-old, getting married at 19 sounds like the perfect ribbon to tie up a 5-year-plan with. But when my 19-year-old ass was staring down the barrel of the birthday that would end my days as a teenager, my 20s seemed big and scary and far too close for comfort. By the time I reached the age at which I thought I would be an “official” adult, I realized: one never truly become an adult.
If I’d married the person I thought I would as a teenager, I would be miserable.
Most of us can probably look back at some of the romantic decisions of our younger selves and think, “You know, I used to be an absolute idiot.” The relationships I once thought would end up at the altar actually ended up going out like an action movie bad guy in an exploding ball of flames. The daydreams of a happy family that I had as a teenager have turned out to be the utter nightmares of my adult self. Bullet: dodged.
I didn’t really become a human until 23, anyway.
It takes some people more time than others to make the metamorphosis from “angsty hormone-riddled nebula of stress and acne” into “real life human being”. It took me approximately twenty-three years. Now that I’m finally coming into my own species, I’ve realized what an injustice it would have been to parade around as a wife/mother when actually, I was more like a unsocialized werewolf in an apron and a fancy hat.
I still don’t really know who I am as a person (let alone as a wife or a mother).
Now that I’m properly human, I’ve hit my second hurdle: I don’t even know what kind of human I am yet. Being one half of a married couple alone is a matter of learning an entirely new identity, and I’m still kind of in the dressing room, trying on my first one. I have a lot of growing pains to get through yet, and I’m stoked to work my way through them before I tackle the next big step.
I couldn’t even afford half of a kid right now.
I’ve gotta give some props to my younger self for having so much confidence in me, but as hard as we’ve worked at it, we’re still not a millionaire yet. I’m still basking in the glow of having a steady income that can more or less support myself and my ever-demanding litter of student loans. Weddings cost cold, hard cash and you can’t really put children on layaway or credit. I promise, future family, I’ll have you when I can afford you! Until then… Momma’s working on it.
Getting hitched and making babies would put a real cork in my career.
Babies and spouses are undeniably cute, adorable and want-worthy, but they’re also a pretty solid investment of time and energy… that I’m not 100% ready to put in yet. For an ambitious gal like myself, it’s hard to unplug and pull away from work at night to dole out attention to a mostly self-sufficient boyfriend — and to his credit, he pretty much never needs to be fed or changed. Until I’ve ascended a few more work-related mountains, I’m happy to stay off the wedding plans and on the pill.
I’m holding out for a real banger of a wedding.
Stick with me here for a second and imagine: A live rock band. Disco balls. Strobe lights. Fire jugglers. Designer dress. Vodka fountain. Multiple musical numbers. More flowers than the Queen’s funeral. Your wedding day is a socially acceptable occasion to throw a bomb-ass party, and I’m entrusting my future self to provide the funding to make it as memorable as possible. As for my current self, I’ll start emptying out the tin cans to tie to the back of the hovercar-limousine.
I have a lot of world left to see (and babies don’t belong on airplanes).
A life full of travel is something that I promised my younger self long before wedding bells and baby showers were even on my radar, and there’s something about backpacking through Vietnam and heating up 3 a.m. baby bottles that just doesn’t mesh for me. When my ears pop on an airplane, I already turn into a baby. For now, that’s enough of a handful, thanks.
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