Conversation I hear frequently:
Me: Well my husband and I….
Other person: Wait….you’re married!?
Other person: But you’re SO young!!!
It happens enough now that I both expect and understand it. We are taught to idealize. We’re shown that there is this perfect way to live and that we should be living it. We hear that there are certain ages to do certain things and we feel bad if we aren’t doing them “on time.” Ideally, I’d probably graduate in the next year, marry at 26 and have 2 and a half kids by age 32. Instead I married at 20, will probably be in school until I’m 24, and kids are a big scary question mark in my head for who knows how long. I’ve come to the humble opinion that ideals are usually stupid. They have this funny way of making you feel guilty for not living the life you feel you should; Of making you compare yourself to others who are living differently at your age. Truth is, unless you’re a case similar to 16 and pregnant, it’s not important. Here’s what is: Is what you’re doing hurting anyone else? Are you happy? Does the person you’re with treat you right and make you happy? Or does being single satisfy you more than a relationship would right now? If the answer is yes to any but the first, screw ideals. Be 20 and married and madly in love and happy. Be 30 and dating and childless and happy. Be 50 and single and flirting and happy. Forget what you “should” be doing and what others your age are doing. If you are going to strive for something, do it because of that little voice inside, not the millions of voices outside. Let go of the idea that there is a way you ought to be living and focus on being who and where you want to be. I may never live in a house with a white picket fence, but I do have a home full of love and sometimes freshly baked cookies. I can’t change the fact that my first real kiss wasn’t until age 18, but at least it taught me to never take for granted the joy of kisses. Yes, I have a crappy old car, but it gets me where I need to go. I may graduate years late from college, but hey, at least I’m there. And sure, my husband may be six years my senior and I may be “too” young, but I’ve never been happier anywhere else than I am coming home to him. All the other stuff really doesn’t matter. What matters to me is that I am happy doing what I am doing. So who cares what I should be doing?