When I was little, like most children, I used to play silly games all the time with my friends. We ran around the neighborhood playing tag, set up tea parties with our Barbies, and (my personal favorite) we pretended we were super spy Army women. With my college graduation looming, those days of make believe are over; instead of childish excitement for the future, I now have the queasy feeling in my stomach that is saying, “Oh no, I officially become an adult in May, what am I going to do?!” I’m betting I share this feeling with most of my class. However, what I don’t share with a growing number of them is that I’m not engaged.
I can understand why many of my classmates are getting engaged. It makes sense to me that we would all want to be able to share the impending huge change with another person so that we don’t have to face it alone. In fact, my biggest fear is that I will end up facing the huge changes in my life alone. While I understand the fear, there is still a disconnect that bothers me.
This disconnect became apparent when a large number of my friends and peers got engaged between Thanksgiving and Valentine’s Day. It was during this time that I started to wonder what was going on. Why is it that all the sudden everyone around me is so ready to take the biggest step of their lives and tie themselves to someone they met in their early twenties? What makes this the right time to take this step? What kind of Kool-aid are they all drinking?
Quite honestly, I’m starting to feel like I drank the wrong Kool-Aid. I am happily in a year and half relationship that is nowhere near ready to take that step into marriage. We’ve talked it over and have a plan but definitely won’t be getting engaged anytime soon. We are prioritizing other things over getting married. We have chosen to prioritize careers, travel, have reasonable health insurance, and pay off a certain amount of our student loan debt before marriage because we want to be completely sure that when we stand up and say those vows, it will be the right time for us.
I have no problem with our plan. Yet part of me feels that as a couple we should be getting engaged and married. Maybe it’s peer pressure. Maybe it’s the Lemming syndrome. Maybe we aren’t doing things in the right order and it might be a better idea to do what it seems a good portion of our peers are doing and just get engaged.
All of my life my parents have told me to wait for the right person, saying that I was too young and had so many things they wanted to see me do before I got married. Lo and behold, here I am nearing the end of the second semester of my senior year of college and all of the sudden it’s “When am I getting grand-kids,” and “Tessa, when are you marrying that nice boy we met in June?” The very people who wanted me to be my own person are now pressuring me to join myself with someone as soon as possible and procreate. For so long we are encouraged to wait and grow, but all too soon we are being told that we need to settle down and do what is conventional. I never thought that the most pressure I would feel when getting ready to graduate from college would be to get married.
I’m pretty sure I drank the wrong Kool-Aid, I know that I don’t have to face the fear that I have about the unknown alone because my partner is facing it along side me.
So whether you’re like me and you drank the wrong Kool-Aid, or you’re happily marrying the person you love, make sure that whatever you’re doing, it’s the right thing for you.