How old did you think you would be when you got married? I always thought I would be 23, don't know why, but I always thought 23 was that magic age. Maybe because I knew I would have my college education by then, and ready to head out into the "real world" and it just seemed logical to think I would get married at 23, maybe have a baby by 26.
Yet, here I am, 14 days shy of turning 27, childless, and 10 days shy of my wedding day, and I don't feel "behind." In fact, I feel ahead of most of my friends. Despite one friend who got married at 21, most of my friends are just settling into long term relationships. My sister-in-law just got married at nearly 32. My brothers were 29 and 31 when they got married.
So, what am I leading to here? Today I read this interesting article from the New York Times titled, Long Road to Adulthood Getting Even Longer, and it brought up some interesting points about how my generation doesn't define "growing up" the same way past ones have.
It really speaks to how marriage and "settling down" used to be the true sign of adulthood, but now it's seen more as a life choice. I find that observation funny because here in the Upper Midwest, if you're not getting married by a certain age (especially as a woman), people start to wonder, and they equally wonder when couples don't have children.
28 year-old Laura Tisdel, who is quoted in the article, is engaged, but stated that although she and her fiancee are ready to get married, they're hesitant to have kids yet because, “We’re both nervous about what would be lost." This statement is easy to relate to, as we have so many more choices now that are socially acceptable than even our parent's generation had that cause us to put off having children.
This article sparks an interesting point of what it means to really "grow up." So many young adults live with the majority of their income coming from their parents, that it's become a rarity to see 20 something's who aren't able to lean on their parents for financial support. I think this article brings to light, however, that there's a delicate balance between knowing your parents are there if you need them, or depending on your parents as a source of income.
So, no, maybe marriage isn't a sign of "growing up" anymore, but financial responsibility sure is, and always will be.
Oh, and if you're wondering what I was doing at age 23 when I thought I would be getting married, I was living in a small Iowa town, pursing what I thought would one day be a dream job. And in this town, people thought I was crazy for being single and loving it. But, it was 13 days shy of my 24th birthday that I meet the man I'm going to marry in 10 days. =)