Friday, January 3, 2014

23 Things To Do Whether or Not You Get Engaged Before You’re 23

A stranger posted a link to this blog post, which one of my friends commented on, and therefore it showed up in my newsfeed. The friend who commented is nearly 28, married (and has been for 5ish years) with no children. She has moved across the country, gone through her husband's multiple deployments, traveled extensively (although she works for an airline), and was fairly upset about the content of the blog post. What I have found most interesting is the outraged married ladies calling her bitter and the HELL YEAH single ladies feeling that she should preach on.
I re-posted it to my Facebook page and thought I'd share my thoughts here as a single lady who has been in my fair share of serious relationships, agrees with the sentiments of the blog posts but thinks the author went about it in the entirely wrong way. She's not bitter, she's immature, and probably a bit jealous of her married friends. Isn't that how life works? You want what you don't have? I love, love, love the life I live, and couldn't imagine it another way, but there is a little part of me that wishes I had married my high school sweetheart, popped out 2 babies before the ripe old age of 28 and was living the white picket fence life. Just like the friends I have that went down that path every so often wish that they were having shots bought for them at bars by gorgeous men pretending to be circus trainers and running off to wherever they feel like going that weekend because they can.

I'm pretty sure we're all just a smidge jealous of each other. So what?
Since when does the fun stop once you get married? Last time I checked, marriage was supposed to make my life infinitely better, not insanely more boring. Am I living in a fantasy world?
Generalizing marriage to be a cop-out or a "safety blanket" if you do it before a certain age is just plain wrong. I know several couples who have been together since high school and are still happily married. I know plenty of others who got married at the ripe old age of 25 and were divorced at 27.  It's not one size fits all. Yes, the odds of 50 years of marital bliss are statistically not great for those getting married young, but who am I to judge?
Beyond that, the rationale for not getting married at age 23 is "Because you owe it to yourself. You are a human being that deserves to thrive inside AND outside of a relationship." Well, last time I checked, I could thrive inside and outside of  relationship regardless of whether or not I am in one. I find it unfortunate that the author only condemns marriage, but not casual dating or monogomous, long-term relationships.
To follow my fellow bloggers advice, I would amend her call to action. There are so many things to do and see and experience in your 20's that are truly once in a lifetime opportunities. But you don't have to do them alone. You don't have to be single, married, in a relationship, white, yellow, black or orange. You just have to be you.
Please enjoy these 23 things whether or not you get engaged before you’re 23. (My personal thoughts, changes & updates to the original list are in italics.)
1. Get a passport. Everyone single 20-something should have a passport.
2. Have a hobby.
3. Make out with a stranger.  But probably do it less often as you get older.
5. Start a band. Or sing karaoke, or watch your friends sing karaoke, or watch strangers sing karaoke and have a little chuckle about it.
6. Make a cake (this one). Make a second cake (this one). Have your cake and eat it too.
7. Get a tattoo. It’s more permanent than a marriage.
8. Explore a new religion or fall deeper into the faith you already have.
9. Start a small business. Or support the ones you love.
10. Cut your hair.
11. Date two people at once and see how long it takes to blow up in your face. I just can't with this one, at all. Been there, done that, and I was 16. Unnecessary now to intentionally hurt someone, especially yourself.
12. Build something with your hands. (any of these totally count)
13. Accomplish a Pinterest project.
14. Study abroad or take a trip to somewhere you've always dreamed about.
15. Make your parents proud.
16. Watch GIRLS, over and over again. Any TV show will do, my personal preference is Law & Order: SVU.
17. Eat a jar of Nutella 1 lb bag of Sour Patch Kids in one sitting.
18. Make yourself feel comfortable around strangers.
19. Sign up for CrossFit, or a marathon, or Zumba classes, or something to push yourself physically.
20. Hangout naked in front of a window. To each their own...
21. Write your feelings down in a blog, in a notebook, in a word document on your computer.
22. Be selfish. But only sometimes.
23. Take a chance on something (or someone), just once.

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