This was my first thought waking up today. At first, I didn’t know how to feel.
My dated thoughts of what this age would bring into my life rushed over me.
27 was the age of so many expectations. I thought I would have most of my life figured out by now. At least that’s what I thought through my teenage years and into my early 20’s.
Especially because it was that age — the one I thought I would be married by. It was the age I carefully calculated in my head as a teenager, as I daydreamed about finding a perfect partner.
My thought process went a little like this:
So if I want to be married by 27, I have to at least meet someone by 24 so we can be together for 2 years and live together for 1. And it has to be by 27 so I can have kids before 30.
It’s crazy to think that this was what my thought process was as a teenager.
But guess what teenage me? Life doesn’t work that way. It doesn’t follow a schedule no matter how much you think it will. Life is not something you can carefully plan out in a calendar.
Life takes you wherever it wants to. It can be messy. It can be amazing. It can bring heartbreak. It’s whatever you make of it. But it’s definitely not something you can predict into an organized checklist, no matter what those romance movies taught you.
The Idea of Love Is Always Changing
There was always a thought in the back of my head that my life would fall into place once I found the perfect guy — or so everyone implied. I really truly believed this until my early 20’s.
Before I knew it, my notion of life matured and I realized that life is not a romantic comedy no matter how much I was convinced otherwise.
Now that I am older, I no longer believe in that fairytale ending because it’s unrealistic. Society pushed on me this idea that being in a relationship should be a top priority, maybe even above learning to love myself first.
I felt this emphasis throughout my life that I needed a romantic partner to be on the right track. But then I realized that being in a relationship won’t fill a void if I don’t already feel complete on my own.
Yes, love and companionship are important but it shouldn’t be the focus of my life. Life isn’t just about finding the right person. It’s about every relationship that I form — with myself, with my family, with my friends, and even with the strangers that cross my path even just for a moment.
Instead of making it a goal to find love, I am making myself a priority and trusting that love will follow. I’m 27, I am not married yet and I’m okay with it.
We’ve Got It All Wrong
I can’t even recall the number of times that someone has tried to determine my value to whether I am in a relationship or not. After the generic question of “How are you?” I am usually asked, “Do you have a boyfriend?”
For some reason that’s always the question in everyone’s mind. I’ll admit that it used to be in mine as well. It is ingrained in us that our relationship status dictates our value.
But what about the important questions? No one ever asks,
“Are you happy?” “Are you doing what you love?”
I felt stuck in my own quicksand that society put me in. Even though it took a while to escape, I eventually did.
I remember being told repeatedly that I would have to learn how to cook for my future husband. It always rubbed me the wrong way when someone would explicitly say this to me. It was something I never understood.
We all know that famous quote by Fanny Fern that says “The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.” Every time I hear this, I sometimes can’t believe that this is still an expectation of women today. Women shouldn’t automatically be the designated cook in the house. It should be an equal expectation from both sides.
Funny thing is that I do know how to cook now. But it definitely wasn’t for the sake of anyone but myself. And definitely not so I can be “wife material.”
What Has Changed Over Time
It took me years after graduating from college to realize that it wasn’t marriage that I wanted. It wasn’t about having kids at the right time. It was the desire to fit in with everyone else and what society expected of me.
I was stuck in love with the idea of being in love — with the idea that love would solve everything in my life.
In the last couple of years, this thought has moved to the back of my mind and has resurfaced to the front of my mind today.
Not because I wish I was married but because I am reflecting on who I was. Now I can say that the thoughts and opinions in my mind are ones I’ve come to by myself and no one else’s.
I am not married. Heck, I’m not even in a relationship. I don’t have my ideal career and I don’t have kids. But you know what? That’s ok. I believe that I am right where I should be.
Yes, I still get teary-eyed watching romantic comedies and I still fantasize about meeting a life partner. But will that lead to marriage? Maybe, maybe not. Who knows.
The difference now is that I am fully aware that life won’t magically click into place if I find someone.
I’m not trying to be a Debbie Downer. I know I will eventually meet someone at the right time. But I’m ok with the fact that the right time is not right now.
I Am Not Married Yet and I’m Okay With That
When did life goals and achievements get so scheduled? Sure, it’s good to have goals and set up expectations but is it good for our well-being?
What happens when we don’t meet these expectations? Do we let it affect our future decisions? Do we settle in a relationship? Do we get married too soon? Do we have kids before we are ready for the responsibility?
There’s no age police telling me that I have to get married by a certain age. I’m on our my own path.
Whether the pressure comes from myself or outside influences, I have learned to let that go. It doesn’t matter if the people around me are getting married. That is their path. I am on mine.
I am choosing to not confine myself within the expectations of society. I am going down my own path and will embrace wherever life decides to take me. I will no longer set up unrealistic expectations for myself or other people.
Age will no longer have an impact on where I believe my life should be. If we were all on the same path headed the same way, the world would be pretty boring and average.
I’m doing what feels right because I want to do it. This is my goal at any age.