prepare for deep thinking

As promised, I think this is the first worthwhile entry I’ve posted in a while.

A few months ago I had a correspondence with an old friend of mine who is a happily-married 22-year-old.  She sent me the link to a WSJ article in which another married 22-year-old debunks the myth that marrying young is unwise.  I posted the link at the end of this post.

The writer makes many good points, but the debate about what your 20s are supposed to be like was reignited in me today when I was talking to another friend.

This friend of mine is in a very serious relationship and is realizing that inevitably that relationship is in some ways limiting the options available to her.  Namely, she can’t just live wherever she wants—and she’s not even married!

So on  the one side we have the people who contend that your 20s should be all about yourself and that serious relationships have the tendency of preventing you from fully exploring that self…and on the other side we have the people who either believe that if the relationship is healthy enough it simply won’t prevent your self-exploration or that that “special someone” is worth making the sacrifice for, regardless of your ripe young age.

A year ago I was very comfortable on the first side.  I was soakin’ up the youthful, free sun, taking out a mortgage on my beach house and getting a wicked tan over there.  And now I’ve still got my golden glow but I’ve defaulted on my mortgage and the bank is threatening to foreclose.

The truth is, I just don’t know.  To quote Doug Funnie, “Beats me.”

How the hell are you supposed to know what the “right” thing is to do?  Are you supposed to go about your life making the decisions that you think you would make if you were the only thing that mattered? Or are you supposed to take everyone else into consideration? And when the relationship doesn’t work out, would you wish that you had gone to school in Seattle instead of staying in Chicago?

And what if you end up as the woman that all women are taught to fear–the 45-year-old corporate lawyer who lost her chance at having biological children because she never put the men in her life first?

It really is quite a dilemma and I have no wise words to ease the confusion. Here’s to hoping that the right choice will always be clear to me!

Wishful thinking.

Read the WSJ article here!

3 Comments

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3 responses to “prepare for deep thinking

  1. Sarah

    As you know, I’m 23 and have been married for over a year. I moved 2200 miles to be with my husband, even. But, I also know that if life took me back home or just somewhere else in the world, my husband would follow me anywhere. He very much supports my happiness and I his, and rather than enjoy my 20s single and having fun, I’m sharing the experiences with my husband instead. I attribute part of the strength and success to our marriage in something that can be found young, but isn’t always the case– we both already knew what we wanted for ourselves. Knowing what we wanted really makes all the difference in the world.

  2. Definitely a difficult dilemma. Let me know if you find a solution! I think about this all the time, too, given how many of my friends (our age) are getting married lately.

  3. Jack

    Two thoughts came to me while reading this:

    1) You gotta follow your gut. All that training we did in our college acting class, learning to connect with our feelings, applies in a big way when you’re trying to figure this stuff out–I think so, anyway. So when you’re faced with a big, life altering choice, you just got to find a quiet place, stop thinking about everything else, and just figure out what you feel is the right thing for you to do. Also my high school English teacher had a good trick for us when we were figuring out where we wanted to go to college: flip a coin. Before you look at it, though, think about what side you hope is up.

    2) You only get one life to live (as far as we know). So, that leads me to a number of conclusions–first of all, you should be careful when you make decisions that have the potential to “define” your life, because you aren’t going to get a chance to try living your life under a different definition. You also should make sure that you don’t put off big choices and end up stalling through precious years. If faced with the choice between spending three years trying to make a choice, and spending three years having made a choice but finding out at the end it wasn’t the best choice, I’ll take the latter, because I’ll bet that I learned a lot more trying one thing than not trying anything.

    (all of this is said with the full humility of understanding that you know me better than a lot of people, and know that I often have trouble taking my own advice)

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