Tuesday, February 2, 2010
so...what do I do now?
I've been mulling some ideas about marriage and relationships and youth around in my head for a while now and it's all got me thinking some very serious thoughts. I'm 25 and I feel like I'm at an age now where EVERYONE is getting married. As soon as I graduated college every girl I knew or know got engaged and married within a year or so of us leaving school. Every status on facebook changed to "engaged" and that is a very big act to follow and quite intimidating when I still have a lot of questions about this relationship and committment stuff.
I was reading one of my very favorite blogs yesterday, Jezebel and there was a post on there about Elizabeth Gilbert (of Eat, Pray, Love fame) and her new book Committed. This book got bumped up to the top of my reading list and is sitting on my night stand ready to be opened as we speak. I like Gilbert and her attitude on life and I especially love when a smart woman who questions life and all the mixed messages in it, gets married and writes a book about it.
After watching the clip on there I had a lot to sit around and think about. The boy and I have talked about getting married, we've even looked at rings a little bit, but I have to wonder are we wanting to get married because we want to spend the rest of our lives together (I'm pretty sure we do) or are we wanting to get married because it's the next thing to do in the long line of societal expectations when it comes to relationships? Gilbert in her interview on the Bonnie Hunt show says that the women who are happiest in their relationships and in their own lives are the ones who waited the longest to get married. Yet I feel like every girl I have talked to talks about getting married or wanting to get married like right now...
When I was a senior in college my roommate, someone I had admired for her electrical engineering major and desire to make big things happen in the world, got engaged to a boy she'd been dating for a year (they're married now, she's a housewife, and baby #1 is on the way) and it started a long line of thoughts in me. I remember reading the school paper a few weeks before I graduated about girls who were about to graduate and were planning a wedding at the same time (how to balance finals and invitations at the same time sort of thing) and this is at the University of California not some southern conservative private school. The day of commencement I sat next to a girl I didn't know, waiting for our names to be called so we could walk up and receive our diplomas, we chatted casually about school and what our plans were, I told her I was taking the MCAT and applying to medical school, I asked what her plans were and she smiled and raised up her left hand to reveal a diamond ring. These were not isolated incidences they happen all the time (still do)...supposedly it's just the next step; you pay thousands of dollars for an education to better your life and make something of it and then you get married and have a baby.
I can't go on facebook without seeing new wedding photos and not a single one of these women is over 25. So what is it? Is it the wedding, or just the next step, the fear of being alone, making other people happy (like the parents) or the status symbol? Are we that impatient and don't want to enjoy the relationship first? I find myself thinking about marriage and getting married and then realize I need to focus more on the relationship for now and not be distracted by the allure of a wedding because after the wedding you still have to have a relationship, and now its for a loooooong time. This new book by Elizabeth Gilbert has got me thinking over some pretty serious things and I want to explore them on here. I want to get a good discussion going with women, both married, in relationships and single to talk about things I don't know much about just yet.
If I could talk to my 40 year old self, what would she say? Wait, don't wait, don't lose your independence, maintain goals for yourself, don't lose him...I don't know. All things I want to talk about. With you. So feel free to give me your two cents...or even the whole dollar. I want to get down to the nitty gritty of it all, I don't want to just buy into the pretty pictures without thinking about it first, it just aint my style.