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Um, When Exactly Did Everyone Get Married?

Engagement ring

Just a few days ago, I was told that as I am 23 years old and am rapidly approaching my mid-twenties I need to start considering a mortgage, and stop renting.

Excuse me? They want me to get a what? I’m twenty what now? If like many other twenty-somethings, you sometimes forget to take the trash out and live on a diet of bread and cookies, then maybe the idea of a mortgage is slightly premature. We have to wonder though, while nearly all of our classmates have gotten engaged, married or are expecting a baby, are we the ones finishing last?

We have become accustomed to seeing engagement ring photos pop up all over Instagram or cluttering our Facebook newsfeed. We welcome them with a groaning “I don’t care” as we are far too busy getting our lives together to actually make any sort of big commitment. Remember that girl you used to do tequila shots with? Well, she’s now got a full time job and a husband and, honestly, it is all very confusing how it happened. Some of us have long term partners, but is there a rush for a ring? Hands up if you want a puppy instead!

It is not like we think there is anything wrong with getting married, but it reminds us that we are getting older, and we are faced with the old wives tale that we are “running out of time.”

Aren’t we only in our twenties? When did it become a race to become an adult and own a tea cosy? It’s a race a lot of us don’t want to get involved in, and we’d much rather walk our way through it.

The agonizing rush to be a grown up surrounds us every single day, we’re faced with it as bills push their way through our letter box and new responsibilities turn up at every corner. It’s easy to fall into Peter Pan territory, and refuse the inevitability of growing older. The important thing to remember is that while everyone else is making these big choices, they can sometimes be the wrong choice; and there’s some comfort in being alone, or pressing pause on the big decisions. We’re young, and we’re lucky enough to be free to do as we please. This isn’t so easy with a squawking toddler at your side, no matter how precious their sparkly headbands and pigtails are.

When yet another friend offers you to try on their diamond ring you need to resist the urge to roll your eyes, or defy the need to cry ugly tears of panic. Politely decline this offer, if only for your sanity, and remember that you actually don’t want to try on a diamond until it’s your own – even if you have to buy it for yourself. I would however, encourage babysitting for a friend’s child. It’s hugely enjoyable to sit through Disney films and drink copious amounts of juice, but it is a valuable lesson in how demanding these little creatures are. At least you can give them back at the end of the day.

When you find yourself comparing your life to those on your friends list, try to remember:

  • Children means vomit in your hair and the most painful thing known to man: walking on a sneaky piece of Lego.
  • We’re all children sometimes, if we can’t look after ourselves what hope do we have at raising a child? A child is not a way to fix a relationship, and it is for keeps. If you have friends who are single parents, extend an offer of help to them. They could do with a nap.
  • Wedding bands mean serious business. Don’t think divorce is an easy option, so many people are quick to give up on their vows. In equal part, don’t think marriage is an easy solution to cement your great escape from the dating world.

The world spins too quickly and we are all too accustomed to feeling a pang of jealousy when someone else seems to have their happy ending. Those big moments happen when they’re meant to, and we cannot surrender to the heavy weight of peer pressure. It’s not your turn, and it doesn’t have to be. We will create our own happy endings, and it might involve loving ourselves more than anything else.

About the Author

Shelley Phillips

Shelley holds a B.A. in Media Studies from Swansea University, Wales. She enjoys keeping up with a critiquing TV shows, blogging, American politics, and baking snicker doodles. She hopes to one day work as a journalist.


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