I’m a bit late to the party with my response to a debatable article that appeared on Huffington Post a couple of weeks ago, but it’s still doing the rounds on Facebook so clearly it’s still at the forefront of people’s minds. Maybe you’ve already read it and shared it with your network, but if not, I’d encourage you to read it here first. Also, as a precursor, since I’m responding to a controversial article that I’m sure many of my friends agree with, expect this blog to be equally controversial, I completely welcome your feedback and thoughts!
For me, the subject of the article was confronting enough. By the time I’m 23, (three months away for those interested!) I’ll have been married for two years, not just engaged or dating, but with two years of marriage under my belt. Some days this scares me, other days is completely invigorating and when I saw this article pop up time and time again on my feed I couldn’t help but read it to discover just what other people my age should apparently be doing other than getting married.
To my horror, I’d achieved and experienced most things on this magical list, or planned to achieve or experience many others. Yet how is that even possible when I’m apparently just hiding behind a safety blanket, my husband. Clearly getting married as a 20 year old must mean I’ve never formed my identity as an individual or feel sure of myself alone.
“It is a way for young people to hide behind a significant other instead of dealing with life’s highs and lows on their own. It’s a safety blanket. It’s an admission that the world is just too big and scary to deal with it on your own; thus, you now have someone that is legally obligated to support you till one of you dies or files for divorce.”
For getting married at a young age, I’m accused of being scared of a big and scary world that I’m apparently not brave enough to deal with on my own. I’m accused of not fully experiencing life and being too absorbed and committed to one person that I don’t have time to experience multiple people at the same time. Perhaps it’s discouraging pieces like this which persuade young people to run a mile from commitment, hey, you’re in your twenties, why be bogged down by responsibilities and commitments (see my thoughts about a TED talk referring to just that here)
If our love is truly eternal, what’s the rush? No rush really but I’d rather spend as many years possible experiencing new jobs, friendships and the world with my best friend and in the seven years I’ve been with my husband, I’m so glad we’ve done just that.
Just to address a few things on this magical list of life achievements;
1. Get a passport – I think it’s fair to say my greatest hobby is travelling. I can’t get enough of experiencing other cultures, new places and being challenged by exotic languages. I’ve travelled alone, with groups, with friends, with family but also with my husband. Navin and I just got back from two weeks in Nepal, and I’m sure our future holds a stint living overseas too. What’s to say the travel has to stop once you’re tied down? I’d willingly sacrifice the many other luxuries in life if it means I’m able to see more of the world and meet more people.
8. Explore a new religion – I’m excited to see that religious exploration made the list amongst some of the other meaningless and selfish pursuits. I’ve found that my faith is the most personally rewarding element of my life, is something that grounds me and allows me to form deeper relationships with people. Including my husband! Our faith encourages us and spurs us on to love another when times are tough and allows us to engage in debate with friends of other perspective. If you’re worried I got “stuck” in my faith or was brainwashed by my parents, I’d encourage you to take a look at a project I undertook in 2010 when I explored as many as religions as possible in 40 days (Christianity, Islam, Cao Dai, Buddhism, Hindusim, Mormonism, Baha’i, and Scientology to name a few). You can read my blogs here. I think it is very healthy to question our purpose here on earth and where we may go afterwards and I’m glad I’m able to explore this with someone else too!
16. Watch Girls, over and over again – I’m not sure how many times I’d have to watch Girls to satisfy this journalist but I’ve definitely watched all seasons a couple of times and couldn’t contain my excitement when Season 3 started last Monday. Can’t say Girls is something I watch with my husband, but it’s definitely something married women, or at least this married woman enjoys!
21. Write down your feelings in a blog – pretty sure that’s exactly what I’m doing, and getting married has only given me more things to blog about because I’ve always got someone to bounce ideas off. I started blogging in 2009 (feel free to check out Globally Thinking here) and believe it’s a platform appropriate for anyone (single, engaged or married) to improve their writing skills.
I’ve also found my “thing” (2), made a cake (6), built something with my hands (12), accomplished a Pinterest project (13) and I’m sure, disappointed my parents many times (15) – amongst other things in this list.
Throughout all of this I’ve learnt to appreciate the season you’re in, whether single, dating, engaged or married. I know there’s days when I feel it’d be easier being single, or fun just to date again, but whatever stage you’re in go out there and experience life – not just instead of getting engaged!
How are you embracing your current life stage at the moment? Let me know below!