It seems that an epidemic of engagements is upon us. Relationship status updates and engagement photos have begun to plague my news feed at an alarmingly rapid rate.
Never before have I seen so many people under the age of 25 saying yes to the dress, forcing me to do what social media subliminally begs us all to do: compare and evaluate my own life decisions.
Should I be wanting this? Is there something wrong with me because, not only am I completely content with my current relationship status, but also wholeheartedly believe I’m too young for marriage?
I’m the first to admit it: When I think of eternal love, I associate it with my dedication to Netflix, loyalty to Starbucks and love affair with pizza, so surely this means I’m not mature enough to handle seating charts and house hunting yet.
Though the idea of marriage right now leaves me hyperventilating, I can relate to these engaged people in some ways.
I have the Pinterest wedding board, bursting at the seams with hypothetical wedding day scenarios. I enjoy virtually browsing through wedding dresses and I have a pretty good idea of who would be in my bridal party.
However, the difference here, is that unlike those who can’t wait for their wedding days, I can.
Despite what society seems to want, I’m not ashamed of not wanting to be engaged yet. In fact, I’m proud — here’s why you should be, too.
It seems I’ve only recently joined the “I can get into any bar I want” club. The ink is still wet on the college degree I haven’t quite figured out how to hang — or use, for that matter — and I’m just discovering the joys of wine not from a box.
There’s still so much learning and growing up to do. I think it’s safe to assume that the people we are now will be very different from the ones we will become in a few years.
Think about the person you “loved” in high school; would you still love him or her the same, if at all, now? Mostly likely not. A crazy thing called maturing happened, and even crazier, it’s still happening (for some of us at least).
How can you confidently say that you’ll want to be with the same person 50 years from now when you’re still becoming the person you’ve yet to be?
Help Me, I’m Poor
How anyone can afford a wedding at this stage in life blows my mind. If I had to plan a wedding now, the only dress I’d be able to afford would be from Forever 21.
I can barely afford to feed myself, let alone 200 other people. And, if Pandora’s $4.99 monthly fee is a stretch, I can’t even fathom what a DJ would do to my savings (I use that term loosely) account.
But, isn’t this the 20-something mantra? Poor, buried in student debt, but loving our independent, creative lives? What debt-free Millennial is trying to ruin that for us?
When it comes time for a wedding, it should be all those Pinterest boards promised it would be. From the looks of it, those people are well-fed, have disposable incomes for wedding crafts and have a well-dressed bridal party — all placed in a perfectly lit barn.
Why settle for less? Save for the wedding of your dreams. Your wedding is just one night of the rest of your lives, and that one night shouldn’t put you into a lifetime of debt.
If getting an entry-level job requires three to five years of experience, how can I be considered qualified for the responsibilities of marriage after only a few years of dating?
Logistically speaking, I’m just not qualified. Just as I plan on enjoying all the experiences marriage has to offer, I also want to enjoy all I can in my pre-marital years.
These are good times, my friends, filled with simplistic joys that disappear all too soon once you cross over to the married side. Travel alone, relish in having complete control over the TV at all times and be selfish for as long as you can.
You have the rest of your life to be a “we.” Experience the “me” time and live in the moment.
I’m Still Leaning In
Unless you’ve jumped from assistant to CEO within the limited number of years you’ve been working, I’m going to assume you’re still in the process of advancing your career, starting your career or still figuring it all out.
We’ve worked hard for our degrees; grad students, you’ve worked even harder! Take some time to enjoy the pay off of this hard work.
Focus on building your career, and once you’ve gained enough life experience, you’re making enough money and have the stability and security that those still early in their careers do not, then worry about wedding planning.
When the timing is right for you to get engaged, you’ll know. For starters, you’ll no longer relate to articles listing all the reasons why you shouldn’t get married because you won’t be able to think of a single reason as to why you shouldn’t.
Not being engaged doesn’t mean you’re failing at life, it simply means you’re choosing a different approach to enjoying it. Take the time to look around and appreciate what you have and what you’ve accomplished.
This is your time to thrive, and when the day comes for you to say, “I do,” you’ll be able to do so with a sense of confidence and fulfillment you can carry with you into the next chapter of your life.