Ladies and gentlemen, please fasten your seat belts. It's about to get a little ranty up in here.
One thing that I've bragged about for the past few years is that while a lot of my friends got the "Why aren't you married with kids yet?" talk from their parents, my parents had been silent on the issue. THAT was truly something I appreciated. Until a couple of weeks ago, when I got a call in which I had to explain to one of my parents that there were actually some pretty valid reasons why I'm not married yet.
Can I just take a moment to say, as a young (yes I still consider 28 to be young) single woman, how refreshing it is not to feel any pressure to be in a relationship with someone just because it's what is expected by society? I just cannot express to you so much how freeing it's been to not have anyone in my life questioning my life choices when it comes to finding the man I want to marry. I've been able to browse all by myself, on my own terms, and develop my own shopping list when it comes to finding the guy I want to devote some quality time to? It is entirely liberating.
But then I got the call. Then I had to explain that first and foremost, the reason I'm not in a relationship is not because I don't WANT to be, but because the only people that have asked me out are 40 year-old creepy guys on the bus, who are not my type. And yes, I do have a type; and NO, my type is not the knight-in-shining armor, riding in on a white horse delivering cards, candy, and flowers covered in diamonds. But being a young, independent woman, I know who I am and what I like, and I know what I'm willing to work for in the guy department.
Getting that call did not make me want to go out and find someone around the corner to get married do, but it did make me wonder why it mattered to anyone that I am still young and single. The thing that I always come back to is: "Who said that I have to be married with kids at 28? or 29 for that matter? Who says I have to have kids right out of the gate after I get married? Who says I have to have 5 kids of my own before I can feel fulfilled as a woman? Who?" Oh, I know who (and I'm not saying it's my parents, because up until now, they had not joined that chorus). Those questions that are always on my mind kind of came to a head during that conversation. I think it was interesting for my parents to hear my point of view on the matter—that I don't answer to those who think it's my job as a woman to settle for "the next available someone that I can have kids with." I take relationships and marriage a little more serious than that.
If you were to take an outside look at my friendships, you could gather that I spend a lot of time and energy pouring into those relationships. And those are just my basic friendships. Throw intimacy and a deeper, honest friendship in the mix and I'm not just going to treat it like it's a kitten in a box on the side of the road. If I think it has value, which I do, I'm going to go into it full force with 10x the attention, care, concern, and devotion that I would a basic friendship. So (in my opinion) for people in society to think that someone who is in their younger years and not romantically attached to someone (thus giving them some semblance of "mattering" to the world around them), are somehow 'less than' or 'missing the mark,' is absolutely absurd.
I understand that there sare some people that are married who feel like everyone else around them should be married: We could do married people stuff together! We could talk about our husbands together! We could have kids at the same time and they can have playdates together and then we can talk about how my son will marry your daughter and we'll plan their whole lives for them!!! What could be more fun?
I'll tell you what could be more fun. It would be more fun if married people would let time work its magic, like it did with them. It would be more fun if married people would let love progress under its personal circumstances, like it did with them. It would be SO much fun if married people would pray for my future, and that I would make wise choices. It would be SO much fun if married people would remember the pressures they felt when walking into relationships that led them to their mates, and help me work through those when the time comes.
I believe there is power in a woman who is confident in who she is even if she not furiously planning her wedding with the person she has just moved beyond being "just friends" with. And I worry for young women who only see their worth in being attached to a man. Am I against dating someone right now, Not.At.All. In fact, I have even ventured into online dating sites because I realize that I am at a point where I'm comfortable enough with who I am that I'm open to dating. But I have to say that even if I don't find someone this weekend to go on a date with me, I'm okay. I still have plenty of life in me, and there is still PLENTY of time for me to share it with the person I'm going to marry. And I will—in due time—to someone who adds just what I need to my life, and who I'm willing to build a life together with.
But until that time, I'm not rushing into things. I believe that love is a powerful thing and I'm not afraid to learn along the way, but I'm also not just going to pass my heart out like it's a SWAG item at a convention. It will be worked for, fought for, looked after, and cared for. I'm not afraid of love, or marriage, or kids, but I AM wary of rushing past the sweet moments that will bring fullness of life in my relationships.