We ARE the millennial generation. Now act like it.
We ARE the millennial generation. Now act like it.
I joined the band wagon and decided to write a response to “23 Things To Do Instead Of Getting Engaged Before You’re 23”
I’m going to start by saying I could see myself getting along with the author if I ever met her. Her enthusiasm for traveling, optimism for life, and the occasionally sarcastic voice found in her writing are all things I can relate to. But I wish that on her quest to empower single women and let them know they don’t have to feel discouraged about not being married, she wouldn’t insult all young, married twenty-somethings.
There is a serious issue in society when so many young, single women feel that something must be wrong with them if they aren’t in a serious relationship or married by 23. I know for a fact had I remained single through college and a few years after, I would have received plaguing questions from my family about when I was going to settle down. Our family believes in marriage. Not as an institution, but as a commitment to a best friend for the rest of your life. I have a very close, loving family with marriages that have lasted lifetimes. Literally. My grandparents – both sets – have (had before my grandpa passed) been married their entire lives. My parents just celebrated 32 years. Both of my sisters are happily married. And oh…I am too. At 22 years old.
I did not intend to be married young. I actually intended to have many boyfriends, major in something that probably would have never gotten me a job, and travel the entire world. I ended up having one boyfriend through college, picked a major where I got a job within 6 weeks of my graduation date, and I’m now living in Alaska – somewhere I had never imagined in a million years I would visit and explore – and despite my incessant whining about the cold, is the most beautiful place on earth. I didn’t get married because I wanted to be exactly like my parents or felt I needed to “settle down”. I got married because I was in love and wanted to spend the rest of my life not settling down with this guy. I travel, I have a degree, I work at a full time job I enjoy, I cook, I blog, I work out, I go on hiking adventures, I shoot guns, I am a feminist, I learn more about who I am every day – I just do it with my husband by my side.
This response isn’t about me and my one very specific example. Because there are girls who marry young, choose not to move away from their hometown or travel often, and chose to follow their dreams in other ways and guess what – they are still happy and they have the right to be. Tearing single girls down for not being married is wrong, but so is tearing down married women for being married.
The feminist movement is NOT about women never getting married, or traveling for a decade without a man holding them down, or not having kids, or whatever concept our current society has created. No, the feminist movement is about respecting the choices of women – no matter what they are.
Again, I like this girl. More than likely I will follow her blog because her adventures in China sound amazing. But the parts in this specific post of hers that really rub me the wrong way:
“But then I look at my life, my relationships, and my future… and I realize that, I’m f#$@ing awesome. It literally isn’t me, it’s them.”
The first part of that is so true. We are all f#@%ing awesome. But pitting married people against you as the ones who have it wrong? Girl, no. This isn’t a competition. This isn’t a “I win because I travel” and “you lose because you don’t”. Life doesn’t work like that. They chose different than you. So you’re right it’s not YOU, but guess what? It’s not THEM either. It’s neither of you. No blame has to take place because of insecurities.
“Inexperience with dating, traveling, risks, higher education, career direction, SEX, solitude, religious exploration, etc… and it’s insane that I have already experienced more of the world in the last 22 years than my married peers will ever experience in their life.”
Ignorant statement. Very, very ignorant. You probably have me on “dating”. I can honestly say I have not dated very many people. I got lucky. I thank God every day for one of the very first people I ever dated being a winner. Traveling. Have you been to Alaska? Climbed Mt. Healy? Drove along the coastal sea from Anchorage to Seward? Hawaii? The X-Games? The Gulf Coast? Washington DC? Wyoming? Salt Lake City? Southern Arizona? etc. I have so many more places to visit, but I think I’m doing okay so far. Higher Education? I have a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Minnesota that I got in 3 incredible years. Career Direction? I love my job. I actually love it. I’m a media planner for an advertising agency and it’s a lot of fun. Sex? If you’ve ever been in a long term relationship, you understand why there is no argument here. I could keep going, but what’s the point? Stating that you have more “life experience” in your 22 years because you’re not married is ignorant. Life experiences are also not measurable, so it’s not only ignorant, but invalid.
“It is a way for young people to hide behind a significant other instead of dealing with life’s highs and lows on their own.”
Uhm, no. Nope. I got married because I loved him and wanted to spend the rest of my life with him. That’s it. That’s all. No financial or emotional underlying intention. If people do get married for the above reason then they are most definitely doing it wrong. A lot of life’s highs and lows amplify when you can no longer be selfish and have to focus on another person’s well-being.
“Do. Freaking. Something… other than “settle down” at 23 with a white picket fence”
This. This is my favorite line in the whole blog post because of how it relates to my life at the moment. I picked up my life and moved to Alaska at 21 (almost 22) years old after having just gotten married. It has been the most adventure filled 7 months of my life. We go on spontaneous hikes, ski/snowboard trips, sightseeing, and exploring all the time. But beyond that, we just turned down a really gorgeous 3 bedroom home we were intending to rent because we didn’t want the burden of having to take care of a house and a dog that we would inevitably purchase upon getting the house. We want to be able to look at each other and drive somewhere on a whim. We want to be able to jump on our snowmobile and explore Alaska without too many responsibilities holding us back.
Marriage does not equal settling down. It can mean that, if a couple so chooses, and if they do – why is that wrong? Why is that wrong if another couple wants the white picket fence, and the dog, and the kids? Why does that affect your life in any way, shape, or form? Why do you have to tear them down for that? My husband and I don’t want that. No ma’am. We might some day, but not now. We have a world to explore and mistakes to make and crazy adventures to have. But I refuse to tear down other 20-somethings who might be perfectly content with a white picket fence. Also, if two people do choose to buy the house, the dog, and have the kid – they are indeed doing something. Even if it’s not your concept of “doing something”.
“Millennials deserve the opportunity to develop ourselves, alone.”
We are the millennial generation. We deserve the opportunity to develop ourselves however we so choose. We are the generation of young people who were raised to accept everyone – no matter what someone else’s life choices are. Whether they choose to travel or never move from their hometown, get married at 22 or stay single until 40, gay or straight, college educated or not, tattoos/piercings/neither, regardless of skin color, political or religious affiliation, morals, values, etc. We are supposed to be the generation that doesn’t judge others.
To the girl who wrote “23 Things To Do Instead Of Getting Engaged at 23”: We are millennials. We are not our parents or our grandparents generations. Stop acting like the vast majority of their generations and tearing down others for having different life choices than your own.