When my now-husband, Daren, and I got engaged, I had this distinct feeling I was getting it from all sides. While a lot of my friends were already married and congratulating me, others who were not so supportive of my marrying. The controversy sprouted from what I thought to be the oddest of arguments... my age! Upon further investigation, of course, I realized this subject wasn't necessarily new. In fact the debate seemed to be firmly planted in society's "up for debate topics." What age should one get married? What is too young? Is there a "too old"?
There are some debates I will readily engage in: government, party affiliations, abortion, and drug legalization. To me, these types of debates have clear sides, and you can argue nearly anything given you've got a mind for thinking and a stomach for listening. It's interesting, anyway. But the debate of what ages you should do things in life (marriage, children, etc.) is so indecisive and so individual, that it's hard to come from anything but your own personal experience and view point.
This is why when some were quick to tell me that I shouldn't be getting married "at my age" I cocked my head and I was unable to understand... the last thing I thought about when I decided to take the leap into marriage was my age! You remember that middle school saying, "age is just a number?" Well, it wasn't really as true when we were children, but after a certain age, it certainly DOES apply. My age was just a number when it came to my numptuals... there were other numbers, though, that held a little more significance to me. Like the number 5--the number of years that Daren and I had been together before he proposed. Or 1 1/2--the number of years we waited between the engagement and wedding. Or 12--the number of the day in June we were going to do it. 24--my age, was of no importance whatsoever in this particular decision.
So when I hear people say that we (women, humans, etc.) have deadlines, ticking clocks, and/or not enough years under our belts to make certain decisions... I have to think to myself that it altogether too subjective for one person to judge another. It just can't be generalized as much as we would like. I know a lot of 24 year olds who have 2+ kids, but I am no where near ready for that. And I likewise know just as many irresponsible 34 year olds, who are just not ready to get married.
What may be more glaring for me, when I think about it all in it's sum total, is that what is truly lacking in society is the presence of guidance on how we know when we are ready to do these things in life. People of my generation (generation Y) are called lazy and referred to as the Peter Pan generation--not wanting to grow up--but we are simultaneously told that we should grow up and that we are "too young" to do so many things. These contradictory messages are nearly impossible to reconcile for many of my generation; hell, they've been a little trying for me at times!
I think that, in the argument of age, very often people give advice from their own experience; this is certainly to be expected, but at the same time, when someone unwittingly judges me in this way, I have to think it because they are building a wall to keep out judgment of their own shortcomings. (Which is basically the nice way to say that they are likely judging themselves). That is to say that all people fall prey to this notion in the end. So whether too young or too old to do anything, I will continue to do things as I see fit because when it comes down to it, I don't fit the paradigms of the things that society tells me I am generationally... and I in the end, I must only answer to myself.
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