When I turned 20 no one told me that I should have a plan in place to graduate, get a job, pay off my student debt, find a husband, and produce children within the timespan of one decade. If I had been warned I would have balanced my drive for a career with an equal intent to find a significant other. Instead unfortunately, I’m 27 years old and deemed to be damaged goods in the eyes of society.
The millenials as we are so sweetly called, have had some of the greatest advances in just about everything except for love. In that category we have taken about 10 steps back into the 1950s, where it is viewed as though something is terribly wrong with a woman who isn’t directly attached to a man.
The apparent millennial mantra being subconsciously slung around: No kids, no husband, no boyfriend = no happily ever after! A day can’t seem to go by on my social media feed without an engagement, a wedding, or baby shower. And while that is positively all fine and good, what I could go without is the half smiles and awkward looks of concern and worry from friends and family alike who want to know when my Facebook life moment announcement will be posted.
It is those awkward moments and conversations that make women like me, a single woman feel like everything is going wrong. The real question is: Do I need to have it “all” in my 20s and who came up with this theory of “all”? The surface answer would be yes, I need to have it all before I turn 30, because that is what is expected of me. Even if I am not prepared mentally, emotionally, or monetarily I must have a ring on my finger before my high school reunion. I must be picking out bridesmaid dresses before my best friend. And I must certainly be pushing a baby carriage or carrying a toddler in tow as I walk into my college reunion. If not I suffer the consequences of being labeled as “weird” and my stock dropping to a point where future prospects are no longer viable. People will start to look at me as if something is wrong with me, and in turn I will ultimately believe that something is truly wrong with me.
Being in your 20s is difficult, it always has been. It was hard for those who came before me, and it will be hard for those who come after me as well. You’re at a point in your life where you are transitioning chaotically into adulthood without a manual. So I do not belittle the experiences that everyone has to go through during this decade of adjustment. Which is why it is so baffling that finding my soul mate is given such a heavy weight and time restriction. Who came up with the deadline to hold women to as a standard of completion? And have they ever lived a day in their 20s? Because I tell you being in your 20s is hard enough without feeling like you are going to end up alone in a household full of cats. The added pressure is a tall order to fill when trying to balance everything else life has throw at you.
My grandmother turns 90 in a few months, and every time we meet she reminds me just how hard she prays for me to find a nice man to marry me. I expect these things from her as she comes from the generation that supported the ideal that: “Woman without her man, is nothing”. But she is not the only one trapped in this mind frame. I’ve thought many times of throwing my hands up in the air and saying who cares, move on with your successes and let life work out as it may. There are so many positive aspects in my life, and so many other important things to worry about. And whenever I’m right at the brink of being okay with where I am in life, I receive another wedding invitation asking if I’ll need a plus 1.
Being alone doesn’t mean you’re lonely, just like being single in your 20s doesn’t make you incapable of finding love. There is no one cookie cutter way to live life, so there should not be any expectations as to when or where life will lead your love life to. I’m honestly more worried about building a stable foundation for my future in which a significant other would be a crucial part of. I worry for those rushing to reach the deadline, without truly understanding the importance of the race. So yes the pressure is a real thing, but I want my happily ever after to last forever and that is something that you cannot rush.
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