Being in your early twenties is a very weird time. Some people you know from high school are in college, some are buying homes, some are in jail, have become addicts, or in some cases are getting married and having children. I am fortunate enough to know multiple personal friends and acquaintances getting married this year, and have found myself caring quite a bit too much about the difference between the colors of eggshell and porcelain. As someone who is unlikely to get married myself any time soon, it can be a bit jarring to watch my childhood friends be so advanced in life while I am still having issues picking between ramen and Taco Bell for dinner.
Don’t get me wrong, I couldn’t be happier for my friends and how happy they are with their lives and their choices. Getting married is a really big commitment that should never be taken lightly, and it warms my heart that so many people I know have found their person and are confident in the progress they’ve made in life.
However, it can at times also be a bit jarring. When people we know make major steps in their lives, it can cause people to have reflection over their own lives. Currently I am working on getting my degree and figuring out how to be financially stable and independent, with no sight of marriage or home ownership so far. It has more than once made me wonder if perhaps, I am behind my friends. If so, what does that say about me? Is there some sort of secret of adulthood that my friends had access to before me? Am I unlovable because nobody has put a ring on my finger yet? Does anybody else feel the same way as me? Is there something wrong with me?
Of course not! I’m not even twenty-two years old yet! I am, so far, also on a very different path than my other adult friends, and have made some very different choices than they have. That doesn’t make anyone inferior to anyone else, it just means we set different goals. The idea that people have to rush to the same milestones as their friends is a pressure that has been placed on people for centuries now, and it’s still as silly now as it always was.
While it can be normal for people to have doubts or reflection, that doesn’t mean they’ve failed or even that they’re actually unhappy in their lives. I, for one, am happy to be a student and to have done as well as I have so far. I have worked hard to be at a good place in life and I wouldn’t trade it for a million weddings. I know I will one day catch up to my friends in that way, and they’ll be happy for me.
I would urge anybody who is going through this as well to try to not compare your life to anyone else’s, because everyone has their own path and process. You are doing fine so far, and should focus on meeting your own goals. There are no age limits on the right time to get married or to earn a degree. The important part is doing the hard work you need to do as a person before reaching those milestones, and being thankful for the people who are there for you along the way. Be happy for your friends, be proud of yourself, and don’t give up.