This is a piece I wrote for the Emerson branch of Her Campus. Feel free to read the piece below, or click here to read the article on the Her Campus Emerson site.
Krystal and I will soon be swapping our senior prom dresses for wedding gowns and bridesmaid dresses.
It all started on Christmas. Somewhere between the family dinner and the ever deceiving Yankee Swap, I contemplated decking my uncle instead of decking the halls. He asked the question so many before him, like my hairdresser and dentist, had asked, but with a twist in the form of an adverb. All it took was that three-letter word—and maybe my three glasses of wine—to set me off and get me preaching. Sitting there on the leather sofa, sandwiched between him and my father, I watched him tap my father’s arm, give him a wink, turn to me and say, “So, do you have a boyfriend YET
“Are you dating anyone?”
“No, you didn’t ask if I was dating anyone. You asked if I was dating anyone yet. Well, let me tell you. No, I’m not dating anyone. Please tell me when I’m supposed to find the time to, however. I’m trying to graduate from college. I work almost thirty hours a week for free, another thirty for measly pay, I have a full class schedule, and am the managing editor of the school magazine. Does it sound like I have time to date? DOES IT? Does it sound like I have time to slow down? DOES IT? Should I? No. I don’t need some man to make me happy, thank you very much. I am an independent woman.”
My uncle shrugged and changed the subject as I stepped down from my soapbox. His question stuck with me, though. For the rest of the afternoon, the word “yet” filled my head, prancing around like the pack of reindeer I kept hearing songs about on the radio. While my cousins talked about all the fun they were having living in Las Vegas and Washington, D.C., I wondered if, by now at age 21, I should be seeing someone. It had been three years since I’d even had anything close to a serious relationship, and that relationship ended because I wanted a future, a life in Boston, instead of some long-distance boyfriend pining for me in Maine.
We said our goodbyes after we ate dessert, and I decided to hug my uncle rather than slug him. I was still irritated, but I knew his comment was coming from curiosity, not cruelty. It took only five minutes, though, for me to freak out again. I had left my phone in the car, and it was the first thing I grabbed after we all piled in for the ride home. Every time I see my phone’s red blinking light, all I hear is nagging: “Read me, read me.” I attempted to shut it up, not knowing it would make me erupt.
“OH MY GOODNESS.”
My sister looked at me and then glanced down at my phone.
“Krystal got ENGAGED today.”
“Yes, really. Krystal is getting engaged, and I don’t even have a boyfriend YET.”
Now, don’t get me wrong—I am beyond excited for Krystal’s upcoming nuptials. She’s one of my nearest and dearest friends, and when she asked me to be a bridesmaid in her wedding, I quickly said yes. It’s weird to think, however, that we’re finally at an age where we can actually get engaged and say, “I do.” It feels like just yesterday we were playing MASH, trying to decide the colors of our mansions and the occupations of our future husbands, whether it be doctor, lawyer, or trapeze artist, by way of paper and pen.
In college, the stakes start getting higher. Somewhere between the keg stand you performed at a Friday night frat party your freshman year and the summer before your senior year, you start dating guys you can have not only temporary fun with, but long-term fun with, as well. You stop dating just to date, and you start dating to get married.
Maybe I’m being melodramatic. I too watch Sex and the City, and none of those ladies slowed down until their thirties, but they were always questioning their futures. For six seasons, Carrie wondered, “Where is Mr. Right?” And how many of us want to wait that long? At least four of my friends have already said they’re tired of wasting their time on dating men they see no future with, and who can blame them? In this fast-paced, ever-evolving society, time is precious, and it can’t be wasted on men who don’t scream matrimony.
At some age, maybe 21, things switch. I guess once you’re old enough to legally take shots of Patrón, you’re old enough to accept a wedding proposal. You don’t have to say yes, and you don’t have to rush into things, but I’ve realized some of my friends can and will start walking down the aisle, even if the only aisle I feel prepared enough to walk down is the one at my grocery store. I also realized those friends of mine won’t be getting married because they need a man in their life to make them happy, but they’ll be getting married so they can travel through life with someone to share their happiness with. And will I be envious? Yes. I’m a total sucker for love.
So, whether you’re engaged and of age or alone like me, let me tell you your future has started, and you’re now an adult. Do you feel old YET? I sure as heck know I do, but like I told my uncle, now is not the time to slow down. From here, everything is just beginning. Savor it.