A few weeks ago I was on the phone with a good friend in the middle of the night trying to comfort her and give my best "advice" on her relationship woes when she dropped this bomb, "Most people our age are married or in committed relationships." First of all, not only did I find that to be a gross overstatement of a fact--I know a ton of girls all over America who are my age and are happily single, statistics prove it--but I also found it to be a highly insensitive thing to say to someone who is going through a breakup. (Remember before you speak wait and say Why Am I Saying This, I guarantee it'll save you many an embarrassing, foot in mouth moment.) This sentiment expressed by my friend--and secretly held in the heart of many a single or relationshipped girl that I know--that everyone our age is married or on the way to being married got mt to thinking some pretty deep thoughts. After a few days of thinking and talking to another friend with some equally skewed views on why we go down the aisle I came to the only sane conclusion, we have all been brainwashed! I mean, who says you have to be married by a certain age anyway?
|Does no one else think June was a bit ridiculous wearing pearls 24/7?|
When I was 21, anything over 25 seemed old. Now that I'm two years away from 30, give or take a few months, I don't think 25 is old at all. I mean 25 is older than 21 but it isn't as old as 40, and everyone I know over 32 thinks I have all the time in the world to get messy, make mistakes and find a husband. The only people who think I should be looking for a mate are some of my friends and me--about 80% of the time. Actually most of the women I know who are in the older, wiser age range, aka my mom's age, have repeatedly told me that getting married before turning 30 usually ends in divorce because most 20 something girls have no clue who they are which incidentally is supported by science with tons of research saying that the part of the brain that governs complex cognitive behaviors, personality expression and decision making are not developed until about 25 give or take a few years. Most older, wiser women also agree that most of us 20s girls get married for the WRONG reasons.
Before I delve into the wrong reason pile, let's do a brief super short history of marriage in the 20th Century as illustrated by our grandmothers and mothers. Our grandmothers who were in their 20s during the '40s, '50s and early '60s existed in a strange Stepford like time when they were expected to marry largely because they didn't have many career prospects and pre-women's lib societal norms held over from previous ages when women had no voice in politics and weren't expected to be educated told them that their place was at home. Thankfully society also knew that no man wanted a dumb wife who couldn't manage the household budget, make dinner from scratch, wrangle the kids and look like June Cleaver or Lena Horne while doing it, so off to college to earn their MRS our grandmothers went. Along the way they became secretaries, teachers and nurses but if they weren't married with a baby by 25 their lives were incomplete. Fast forward to our moms who thanks to changing societal norms were able to take control of their reproductive systems thanks to birth control and Roe v Wade, could earn a living wage thanks to their educations in something other than how to be a great woman behind the throne and were not doomed to stay in loveless marriages where they were abused, mistreated or just unhappy thanks to divorce become more normalized. As a result our parents who got married when "society" told them to, between the ages of 19 and 24, found themselves divorced by 35 (hint, hint). Due to the pioneering efforts of our foremothers, many of the gals of today are as well educated and finically (in)secure as their male counterparts making the need to get married before your prefrontal cortex has fully developed a thing of the past. Unless you live in the South like me where girls are expected to get married fresh out of college like it's 1955.
|All single, all over 30, all fly as all out doors!|
The point of our little history lesson is that the reason for marrying young that held up in the past have been obliterated thanks in large part to the feminist movement--which actually asserts that woman have the right to be who they want to be whether that mean's a housewife or the next President not that we have to stop shaving our armpits unless we like that sort of thing. You don't have to get married because society thinks you're deficient if you aren't married by 35, or because your eggs are going to go bad, or because your knocked up, or at all if you don't want to. There is no need to find a man for security, hell in this economy there is no such thing as finical security at any age let alone in your 20s when most of us are underemployed or getting so many degrees it's crazy in an effort to wait out the seemingly dismal job market's eventual uptick. Oh and as for having kids, I checked that one out and your eggs do go bad but not as quickly as I thought, making it perfectly OK, to have kids in your 30s. I mean, my mom had my brother at 30 and he didn't turn out THAT bad.
|Another group of fab single ladies that didn't get married until they were in their LATE 30s|
So the next time someone asks you when are you getting married or asserts that there is something wrong with you because you'd rather be single than stay with your jerk ex-boyfriend who stole from you, hit on your friend in front of you in a bar, forgot your birthday and every holiday and was an all around ass (FYI this is not about my ex, he was and still is a great guy just not with me right now), tell them piss off. Would you rather be happy or following whatever "rules" society has set up for you? BTW society is pretty effed up in case you haven't noticed, so I don't think I would take life advice from whoever this society person is. And if you think I'm going to be an Old Maid or whacky Spinster aunt living in a house in Miami with my mom, a retired whorey debutante and some chick from Minnesota, not only do you not know the definition of old but you have no idea how awesome the Golden Girls were. I have at least another 30 years before I'm considered an Old Maid and that is more years than I've been alive, so odds are it's not going to happen.
The point is, it's perfectly normal to want to get married and have a family but it is perfectly insane to put a sell by date on it.