My roommate and I lay in our respective beds, having just turned out the lights and unwinding from a long day. Somehow or another, our conversation turned to the future, as it so often does during those late-night, just-before-bed roommate talks, and it occurred to us that within five years, some of us, some of our friends from college, would be married. Within five years, we would be receiving wedding invitations from people we know- not just those acquaintance types that you consciously know got married after high school, but it never really affected you because you didn’t know them that well- no, friends, actual friends. Within five years, we would be bridesmaids and maids of honor. Within ten, some of us would be mothers. We would be aunts and “aunts” and godmothers.
It’s terrifying to think about! That within the next decade, our lives will probably change drastically. More drastically than when we left home for the first time last August to go away to college. College you can undo. Marriage and children you can’t (I know some people will disagree with that last statement, but I don’t believe in divorce unless it’s an extreme circumstance, and I certainly don’t believe in abortion. Furthermore, the point of this article is not to debate either of those things, and I would appreciate if you just acknowledge my acknowledgement of your possibly differing viewpoint and move on from there as it is not central to the rest of this article. Thank you.).
I thought back to this past Christmas with my family. How all of my female cousins within four years of my age on both sides of my family are already with the man they intend to marry. One of them is my age, another only a year older, and at family Christmas they sat with their boyfriends looking up pictures of engagement rings that they would like to have. I was appalled! Not because that’s not fine for them; I mean, if that’s what they want, fine. It’s just that I can’t imagine being in that position at eighteen years of age!
My life has just started! I’ve barely gotten all of the freedoms that I’ll have as an adult, and although I have a pretty solid idea of what I want to do with my life post-college, I’m still pretty lost at how to achieve it. As much as I dream about finding my partner in life and what life with him and with children will be like, I can’t imagine actually staring it in the face seriously at this point. I don’t even know what I want to have for dinner tomorrow night! How could I possibly be ready to maturely consider and then make lifelong, life-changing decisions such as who I want to marry?
I guess if I met that man tomorrow I could change my tune pretty quickly. They say that when you meet the right person, you just know. Maybe the part of me that, right now, is saying, “I won’t start planning my future that soon after finding somebody because I’ll want to make sure that this really is it. I’m not even thinking seriously about marriage until I know for sure he’s the one,” will be pushed a little to the wayside because I’ll just… know.
Right now, I guess I’m just in limbo. I don’t have problems with people like my cousins, and I’m not judging them for the way they’re choosing to go about this (believe me, they’re doing a much better job of it than some of our older cousins did before them). I just can’t imagine being in their shoes at this point in my life. I love college, and I want to finish this experience and be able to go into a career that I love and enjoy, even if eventually I might trade it in to be a faithful housewife. Because as much as I dream about the man that is going to be my husband and cannot wait to meet him, I don’t need to rush the rest of my life. It’ll come whether I’m ready nor not.
To me, college is limbo between your childhood life with the family you’re born into and your adult life where you start a family of your own. College is where you should find yourself, so that when you find that person that you really do want to spend the rest of your life with, you know who you are and what you want. You’ve done the searching, so that when you find treasure, you’ll be able to quickly weed out the fool’s gold. But not everyone is me. Some people, like my cousins, don’t need college as that time to go exploring; they’re ready right away to jump right in and take the rest of their lives by their horns, and that’s fine too.