A requirement or just a societal construct?
I don’t know about everyone else, but it seems like every time I go online someone from my high school graduating class is either pregnant, getting married, or married with 2+ kids. Meanwhile, I’m over here just trying to keep my classes straight, let alone make a house payment and feed someone other than myself.Advertisement: 0:00
I’ll be honest I’m going into my senior year of college, almost 20-years-old, and I’m just now finally figuring out how to plan out my day in a fashion that doesn’t drive me insane.
Everywhere I go there are people asking that dreaded question: “What are your plans after graduation?” Like I’m supposed to magically walk across the stage with job prospects, a ring on my hand, and a wedding date set. Everyone looks hopefully to me for the next big wedding event because it seems as though I’m set to be next-in-line within the family tree.
What happened to graduating, going on an adventure, finding a job and living your life before you become a wife? Don’t get me wrong I have a dream where I get to edit books for a living and live in a ranch house with my husband, 3 kids, and 2 dogs. Oddly specific, I know.
I think that has been my dream for a while now but there are steps to take. Ones that involve traveling for jobs and working hard first.
I have lived my life to the point where I want to take a gap year after college, experience the world before jumping back into the 40/hr week workforce and planning out the rest of my life.
Everyone is talking about getting their life together and making all these serious life decisions about loans, cars, and housing. Excuse me for wanting my biggest decision to be moose tracks or mint chocolate chip ice cream for the rom-com marathon, taking place in my pillow fort.
When did life fly by so quickly that we forgot to stop and smell the roses? Society has this full speed ahead mindset, to be the smartest country, have the perfect family, and have the least debt. At what cost does this come at?
Kids are being forced to grow up faster, take care of their younger siblings, and get jobs at age 15. There isn’t the ability to just be a teenager anymore, to go on hikes till midnight and stay up at all hours of the night laughing with friends around a campfire.
Kids then are having to take on more responsibilities in high school and college. Until you can’t just casually date anymore because each person is a potential life partner. You can’t just have fun and see what you like, instead, you have to have a checklist of characteristics for the perfect relationship.
Hasn’t anyone seen Beauty and the Briefcase? Love isn’t a checklist, and you can’t build the perfect man. Love happens unexpectedly, it isn’t something that you can just put in your calendar under things to achieve before 30.
That just creates so much more pressure and so many more marriages happen right out of high school because of it. It’s no wonder that America has one of the highest divorce rates with over 800,000 divorces in just 2016 alone.
Everyone expects you to have your life together and planned out by the time you graduate with your bachelor’s degree around age 22. Society just needs to let people be happy and do things in their own time, without all these prying questions.
So, for those of you out there “trying to get your life together”, just take a step back and breathe. Wander around a bit before deciding where to go and settle down at. Go on an adventure and take a risk. Enjoy your life before you don’t have the time to do the things you want to anymore.
Sometimes getting your life together really means taking a spontaneous leap of faith, and letting fate decide where you should end up.
Originally Published on The Odyssey.