Honestly, I’ve never considered if I’d prefer to be married by a certain age. Unlike the popular claim from so many ladies on reality television, I haven’t been dreaming of my wedding day since I was a little girl. The idea never even crossed my mind as a child. I guess I assumed that since getting married was something grown-ups did, I wouldn’t have to worry about it for a while.
I continued to not think about marriage through college, even as former high-school classmates got engaged and married. “Huh, that’s weird,” was my typical response when these wedding photos popped up on Facebook. I was studying for psych tests and writing papers about ethical issues in sports in my early twenties; how did these people have time to become adults and get married?
By the time I graduated from college, I wasn’t any closer to getting married, but I was aware that more and more people in my life were walking down the aisle, including my friend Lara. Lara, the girl who only two years before her wedding told me, “I plan on getting all of my partying done in my twenties, and I’ll think about marriage in my thirties.” Instead, she got married at age twenty-six. Despite having a predetermined schedule of events, Lara married her husband because that’s when she fell in love. Isn’t that how it’s supposed to work?
Honestly, I should be one of those people who plans to be married by a certain age. I’m a planner to the nth degree. Ask anybody who has ever tried to go to a concert with me: tickets purchased months in advance, restaurant chosen days beforehand, parking lots within a one-mile radius of the venue mapped out well ahead of schedule. And that’s just one example. I plan for literally all things minor, so it should almost be expected that I’d at least give some thought to when I’d like to be married.
But I haven’t. The closest I’ve gotten is saying, “Twenty-nine seems like a good age,” and I only said that because Kate Middleton was married at twenty-nine and she really doesn’t mess things up, now does she? I’ve instead tried to plan a career path, which as of now looks absolutely nothing like I once thought it would. My mind was focused on the area I thought required diligence and drive. I thought love and marriage should come much more naturally than landing a job.
Plus, it’s not as though my family or friends have ever pressured me to be married by a certain age. Sure, my aunts and uncles used to ask the requisite, “Are you seeing anyone?” at family gatherings, but they’ve stopped asking in recent years. Outside of relatives, I can only think of two other people who have directly inquired about my love life in the past five years. Maybe these people figure I’ll get around to it when I get around to it. Maybe they’ve lost hope, or maybe they straight-up don’t care anymore.
While it worries me a little that nobody shows any concern, what matters is that I still care. Not in an overt way—which may be why nobody asks about my love life—but certainly in my own way. I still don’t dream of my wedding day, but I’ve watched enough episodes of Say Yes to the Dress with my mom to know that I won’t wear anything with spaghetti straps when the big day arrives. That’s my only plan so far.
And I think that’s okay. It kinda has to be for now; I’ve got tickets to a show and haven’t made my parking maps yet.
Megan S. is an associate editor at Dating & Hookup. She's a big fan of pop culture, comedy and essay collections (but just a regular fan of any sport that isn't softball or golf).
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