Life Out of Order


As someone who got engaged and married very young, today’s post from Laura Chanoux resonated with me hard. I grew up hearing stories of all the things I was supposed to be and do and become, and wife was just never one of them, so getting engaged before the culturally appropriated time threw me into a tailspin. But the thing is, I don’t necessarily think the heart of Laura’s post is just about age. We all have our checklists of things we want to accomplish before we “settle down” (whatever that hell means). I like to think of it as a life script. And yeah, it can be scary going off book, not knowing what’s coming next. But the reality is, sometimes you just have to toss the script and improvise. However, on the upside, improvising is where all the good material comes from anyway.

—Maddie

Life Out of Order | A Practical Wedding

“I can resize your ring,” Rebecca shouted over the bouncing music of the bar, “but that doesn’t mean you have to marry him!” I smiled, nodded, and assured this woman who I had met two hours before that I would be careful and think hard about whether or not I would marry my new fiancé when we returned to the United States. “Because you know, two and a half years, it’s really not that long. It’s not long enough. And you’re so young!” Two and a half years before, I couldn’t have pictured myself in Siem Reap, Cambodia, on the front half of nine months of travel with my new fiancé. But here I was.

By the time I was midway through college, I had a clear vision of the rest of my life. I would graduate and move to Boston or Chicago, where I’d get a grown-up apartment, a cool roommate, and a great job in publishing, orchestral administration, or another equally interesting field. I’d be a successful career woman. I hoped to meet a nice man along the way and get married around age twenty-eight. After that, my life plans became more vague. My earlier dreams of living in France, writing a novel, and having adventures were too impractical to consider. Who really does any of that?

When I met Eric, I had just turned twenty-one and was learning to enjoy being young and single. Eric was twenty-eight and had recently passed the bar exam. He was back in Ann Arbor for a week from Cambodia, where he was spending a year working as a program manager with an NGO before starting with a law firm in the United States. At our mutual friends’ Halloween party, we chatted over jungle juice—swapping stories and joking about his lack of costume. After talking all night and kissing on the back porch, I assumed I would never hear from him again. He was a twenty-eight-year-old lawyer, for God’s sake. I was just some sweet young thing he’d been hitting on for the night.

We’d exchanged numbers, and the next day I received the first of many texts from him. Surprised and a little wary, I agreed to meet him for coffee. When he took me cheese shopping at Zingerman’s Deli, I realized that this was a step up from my usual experience with guys. I called my best friend, saying, “I think the lawyer is dating me. Does cheese shopping sound like a date to you?”

By the time he left to go back to Cambodia, we’d exchanged email addresses, screen names, and Skype information. For the rest of the semester, we talked nearly every night. The twelve-hour time difference meant that I was just getting ready for bed when he had time for a lunch break. I began to look forward to his first “hello” of the night.

After graduation, I moved in with Eric in Philadelphia, where he was still working at law firm. It was a hard summer. I was homesick and I had few local friends aside from Eric, who was working fifteen-hour days. I worried that I had made the wrong decisions. No modern female chooses love over her job, right? She gets to choose love when she actually has a career. I had an unpaid internship and a job as a line cook that got me up before dawn. It wasn’t what I’d dreamed of for my post-grad self. Eric listened to my bi-weekly crises and reassured me that it would be okay.

September came and my internship ended. I began temping at an insurance company and Eric began planning to leave the law firm. He had been wanted to pack up and explore the world for years. He had been saving money since graduating law school, and after we began dating he adjusted his budget to include me in his adventures. I wanted time to see if writing was a realistic option, more than just a dream I had packed away when I went to college. I wanted to see more of the world, parts that had previously felt too far away to reach. We bought plane tickets, reassured our parents it was a good idea, and left in March for Phnom Penh with the intention of traveling until December.

Two weeks into our trip, Eric proposed. We were in the guesthouse where he had lived while he worked in Siem Reap, where we had chatted on Skype, where he had sent me photos of the Christmas decorations he put up in his room. It was where he realized he was falling in love with me. “I don’t want to wait,” he said. I didn’t want to wait either.

The ring that he’d picked out two days before we left the US was too big, so I wore it on a chain around my neck. One night out, we met friends of a friend who worked as jewelers in Bangkok, our next destination. Rebecca and Jordan said they could resize the ring for me if we called them when we got into the city. As the night continued and we consumed more beer and Mekong whiskey, Rebecca began asking me about our relationship. She was concerned about me being engaged at twenty-three, not having dated enough men, not being sure enough about what I wanted. It didn’t help that Eric, who loves playing devil’s advocate, had spent a long time debating love’s existence with her one or two beers earlier in the evening. “You know, it’s good you have until December to think about this,” she assured me. “You can think, and you don’t have to marry him just because he gave you a ring. I want you to be happy!”

I am, though. No, I didn’t think I’d be engaged at twenty-three. At times I don’t feel like a real adult, especially because I haven’t yet had a career-track job. At the same time, this is right for me. Eric is it. He’s my one. And I’m going to marry him.

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  • http://poppiesandicecream.blogspot.nl/ Amanda

    Oh I am 32 and I don’t feel like an adult either and I doubt I ever will. Sure I pay taxes, and I do my laundry and all the other stuff adults do, but I am still the curious jumpy girl I have always been.
    I could relate to your story because the boy and I also met while travelling (on the plane) then exchanged email addresses. Gmailed, Gchatted and skyped for a year, then met again and we were together. I never could have imagined such a movie-like story would be ours, specially since up til before that I kept having no boyfriends at all or romances that never lasted more than 3 months. He was my first real relationship and it felt real right from the start.
    I wish you all the best in your life and adventures together.

  • Kira

    Love this post! I had to laugh at the devil’s advocate bit–my fiance has the same trick, and one Christmas he convinced my (bleeding heart hippie former Deadhead) family that he was not only a devout Lutheran but a monarchist (whut). It makes for great conversation when you know what he’s doing, but if you don’t… oh boy.

  • Rosie

    I got married at 21, and this post really resonated with me. I knew people would think we were quite young to be getting married, but I was surprised that so many people, including people I didn’t know at all well, told me why they thought it was a bad idea! I would have listed to a close friend if they had doubts but not many others. Because of those comments, now we are married I feel like some people are just waiting for it to all go wrong. I think people don’t realise that when you are married you will remember what they said when you were engaged.

    • Florence

      “I was surprised that so many people, including people I didn’t know at all well, told me why they thought it was a bad idea!” OMG will these people ever stop telling us horror stories about getting married at 21 and getting divorced at 30?! Just because you get married when you’re older (like 30 year old-older) doesn’t mean you’ll never ever change or that you’ve reached a maturity peak or something.

      • Clumsy reader

        Sorry! Seems like I reported this comment by accident, I am so sorry. Ignorant ad I am, I am not able to “deactivate” the report-function. My apologies.

  • http://eatwithaspoon.wordpress.com sigrid

    Reading this, I found myself nodding. I’m 28 now, and I’ve been married for nearly 3 years.
    I had never planned to even get married. My parents divorced young, and neither had a career they were proud of. I planned to study, and find a career I loved. The wedding thing was never in my plan.
    At 20, I met C. He was 26. I was still studying, while he was ending his articles. He’s an accountant, and I’m a writer. He’s full of budgets and spreadsheets, while I can barely fold a sheet, but I can write and cook. We made (make!) no sense, on paper. But when I’m with him, I feel alive, like someone put the plug in.
    At 23, while we were on holiday in Zanzibar, he asked me to marry him. He was 30, and I think for him it was time, he knew. I agreed, on condition that we get married when I was ready. I knew. I wasn’t going anywhere, but I had some things to finish.
    It was the best decision I’ve ever made. He motivates me, he’s my one, he’s the foil to my creative inability to stick to anything, he makes me laugh, and he challenges me to be better.
    I’m finally starting to see my friends get engaged and married, and it’s so exciting.
    Do I wish I had done things differently? Sometimes, I think that older-me would have made different choices, but I never regret marrying my C.
    Sometimes life doesn’t always hand you what you expect.

  • carrie

    I was a 34 year old bride and now 36 but not quite 2 years into my marriage and I’m jealous of you younger women! I wish that David and I had those younger years together. (but please, I’m just happy I met him at all, regardless of age!) I had heard all my life, “when you know, you know.” Turns out that was pretty true. Maybe if I was younger it wouldn’t have been such a lightning bolt because I wouldn’t have had a lot of experience to compare it to. But I just don’t see how anyone can turn away from that kind of love, regardless of the age.

    My point? You marry the sh*t out of him.

    • KATE

      I like what you said about the lightning bolt being harder to recognize when you’re younger. I think that it’s definitely harder to trust yourself to recognize it when you are younger. I met my fiance at 19 and we got engaged at 23, and it took me a long to time to get over the fear that I didn’t have enough experience to know whether he was “the one.” I finally just quit doubting myself. I love him, he makes me happy, so I’m going to marry him!

      I also don’t think I’ll ever feel like a “real adult,” no matter how old I am. But who’s better to figure out adulthood with me than the person who’s known me since I was 19?

      • http://unexpected-moments.blogspot.ca/ Sheryl

        Trusting the lightning bolt when you’re young is hard (although it’s probably hard at any age). I had an immediate lightning bolt moment with Bunny and an absolute certainty that I was going to marry him from the first moment – but I also thought I might have been going completely crazy because everything about having a relationship, and with this man in particular, was completely out of character for me. Plus, I’d been developing a theory that love was the “collective delusion of humanity” so falling in love (at first sight, no less) was so far out there that I spent a long time doubting myself and my certainty.

        Maybe if I’d had more relationships to compare it back against I would have been able to pinpoint what was so special about this one, but as it was all I had to go on was a feeling.

        • KATE

          I think all you can do is what makes you happy in the moment and try not to worry about whether you might feel differently in the future. If my fiance and I aren’t happy five years from now, well….we’ll work on the problem then! There’s no sense in worrying about what *might* go wrong, you’ll only miss out on the happiness you have right now.

    • Sharon

      I was friends with G for 15 years when I finally asked him out. At the time, I was 34, he was 38. I’ll be married before I’m 40, barely (about 7 months shy). Wish we’d gotten together years earlier, but when it’s the right time it’s the right time and we can’t agonize over the lost years.

  • Kess

    Ha! Ann Arbor! That’s kind of me and my SO’s ‘city’ – despite the fact that he only lived there for 3 months, and I’ve never lived there. (It was a good in-between city for about a half year and has a great rock climbing gym)

    I can totally relate to the not feeling adult enough. I’m a few days away from 23 but I still sleep with a stuffed animal, will forget to eat vegetables, and have never had a ‘real job’. Sure, I’ve interned quite a bit, and I’m starting my masters, but I’m still on my parent’s phone plan and health insurance.

    It’s especially difficult for me as I’ve always been the one that’s ‘going places’ – you know, those stupid paper plate awards where you get “most likely to become influential” or “most likely to invent something”, etc.

    We haven’t even told anyone yet (my SO really wants to have a ring first, so we’re looking) and I’m nervous about all the backlash already. I don’t think it will be outright, but I’m nervous that most of my long-time friends (who have never met my SO because of geographical issues, despite the fact I’ve been dating him for 4 years) will be very concerned.

    I guess I’m worried they won’t understand that if I am to become influential or an inventor, I really need him to hold me up.

    • Not Sarah

      I still sleep with a stuffed animal too! I mean, who wouldn’t want to snuggle to sleep with a 3′ stuffed husky dog?! Sometimes my SO is a bit jealous, but I usually only sleep with it when I’m by myself.

      • Kess

        Ha! The stuffed animal I sleep with is a husky too! (Although mine’s only about 1.5 ft long)

        The nice thing is my SO gave that husky to me because my usual cuddle buddy is becoming a bit frail now, so my SO doesn’t really feel jealous and is used to it ending up on his side of the bed. ;) Heck, the one time I had to stay overnight at a hospital, he asked if I should bring her, I said no, but he showed up with her anyway!

    • http://www.chanouxstories.com Laura

      “I guess I’m worried they won’t understand that if I am to become influential or an inventor, I really need him to hold me up.” – Yes, this! I think there’s an idea out there that getting married means you have someone tying you down rather than supporting you. Yeah, you have to make more decisions as a couple, but that doesn’t mean you’re giving up on being an inventor, living abroad, etc. Good luck to you with your engagement! I hope your friends are as excited as you are!

    • Denzi

      Hey, I’m twenty-five (soooooo mature) and have been married for over a year and still sleep with my stuffed animals. They are just easier to cuddle and sleep on than a human being, who grumbles and wakes up when his arm falls asleep or you keep breathing on his face. And who has a bony shoulder bone when it comes to that.

      [...] if I am to become influential or an inventor, I really need him to hold me up.

      Yes. This.

      I think the older you get, the more likely it is that your close friends date someone you don’t know very well. Two of my very best friends are now dating guys whom I’ve never met. But I know they’re happy, and I trust what they say about these guys. It’s weird, but hopefully your friends can trust your decisions and your relationship too.

  • Granola

    This is a great post. I met my now husband when I was 21 and he was 27. Right after we decided to date I went abroad for 3 months to do an internship in Jordan. Lots of emails and Skype chats followed. Two years later, we ended up in the same city (finally) and moved in together. We got married this past October when I was 25 and he was 30.

    I’ve felt too that I was “settling down” before I had really lived and gotten all my ducks in a row, but I’ve (mostly) reassured myself with the fact that you can’t plan these things and I’m not interested in throwing away the guy I love for an arbitrary timeline of flings and promotions. There are days when I’m a little jealous that he had more time “out in the world” before he met me, but in the end, I wouldn’t change it. I know what I want and I have it, so I’m just going to be grateful that it’s here.

  • streamnerd

    Blerg! I think I’ve been too concerned with going through life in the right order but now I’m hitting a bottleneck and reconsidering what the right order might be for us rather than what I used to think was right. Ducks are so wily and sometimes uncooperative. At the same time, I am worried that not doing things in a certain order would mean taking on too many major life things simultaneously. Darn it, it is complicated being a grown-up.

  • KHN

    Cheese shopping at Zingerman’s? Done deal. He’s clearly a keeper.

  • Kristen

    I too, know how this feels. Part of me always thought that 23 was my grownup age (I guess because my mom had me when she was 23?) and I always thought I’d have things figured out by then. Now I’m 25 and most of the time I feel too young to be getting married. There were *things* that I wanted to do first, a certain person that I thought I would be before I got married. And I’m not that person yet. But what I’ve learned, what my FH has taught me, is that I can still do all those things within a marriage. I always felt this dichotomy, that the things I wanted were too opposite from each other and that I’d have to let some of them go if I wanted to pursue the other. But now I see that not only can I have and do all those things, but my marriage is the safe place I can do them from. Together, we can challenge and support each other to become the kind of people we want to be, in a way I never would’ve been able to do on my own. I am learning to let go of my self-imposed timelines and learn that it is never too late to do the things I love.

  • http://www.snippetsof.blogspot.com Sarah E

    I can relate really strongly here. I met my man when we were in undergrad- I was a traditional 21-yr old senior, while he was a non-traditional 26-yr-old junior. I think the age difference was mitigated by our shared undergrad experience, but my man is more focused, thanks to almost ten years in the workforce before choosing to pursue his education. Now we are living 1,000+ miles from our family and friends while he completes his graduate degrees, and I’m still working on finding a career path to focus on. I had always been the “success kid” growing up, so through my teen years I’d always thought I would be on a high-powered career track somehow, somewhere.

    Now that I realize how similar duck-wrangling is to cat-herding, and I’m happy to have a partner to lean on when I get frustrated or exhausted by it. It’s definitely a challenge to work in tandem with my man, as we wrangle personal and relationship ducks into some kind of formation that suits us both, but whether they end up in neat parallel lines or some kind of funky parallelogram.My biggest challenge is to have patience with myself- I don’t have to have every duck labeled and lined up rightnow- and to forgive myself for not adhering to some arbitrary image of how life if “supposed” to go.

    • Cass

      “Now that I realize how similar duck-wrangling is to cat-herding, and I’m happy to have a partner to lean on when I get frustrated or exhausted by it. It’s definitely a challenge to work in tandem with my man, as we wrangle personal and relationship ducks into some kind of formation that suits us both, but whether they end up in neat parallel lines or some kind of funky parallelogram.My biggest challenge is to have patience with myself- I don’t have to have every duck labeled and lined up right now- and to forgive myself for not adhering to some arbitrary image of how life if “supposed” to go.”

      THIS! Times alot! Thank you for putting words to my current frustrations over trying to get our penguins (because they’re cute and I love polar ecology!) in row. Or you know, in any sort of synchronous orbit or formation, whatever that may be. I’m also learning to be patient with the fact that all my penquins are running around in circles and going crazy while I’m trying to find a job, getting married in the spring, graduating, and fulltime course work. On top of the rest of all the life things and snowstorms. Best wishes to you with your cat herding :).

  • Laura

    I’m pretty sure I officially fell in love with my SO on a date to the cheese counter at Whole Foods. Somewhere between “Which one is your favorite?” and “Let’s get some fruit to go with.”

  • http://cheaperthanwisdom.com Emily

    I was engaged at age twenty*.

    Weeks later, I found myself at the gym doing pull-ups next to another member who I barely knew. “Oh, wow,” she huffed, between reps. “Yeah, definitely way too young. Just, like, call it off. People do that, you know? It’s not a big deal. I mean, you have got to be at least twenty-five, for sure. Otherwise it’s going to be a huge sh*tshow. Really, it’s gonna be bad. You could totally call it off. Just do that.”

    It was the first of a surprisingly high number of similar interactions; all from relative strangers, of course – nobody who actually knew either of us.

    (1) Whyyyyy the constant unsolicited advice and judgement and questions?
    (2) Whyyyyy only from other women (never did a random stranger man discuss this with me!)?
    (3) Whyyyyy the underlying assumption that all the awesome things happen pre-marriage and then life suddenly sucks and the adventures all have to stop?

    What I realized is that people’s comments teach you a whole lot more about them than about anything else. And that I, too, could certainly learn to be less judgmental of others – I’ve learned to spread more lady love and assume the best about people’s situations.

    Oh! And – almost two years in, life doesn’t suck and the adventures have still just begun.

    *I’d like to add that twenty frankly sounds pretty effing young even to me, but I had a good college degree and had lived independently since sixteen and had dated quite a bit and was therefore in a somewhat unique position for that age number.

    • http://cuvikingadventures.blogspot.com/ Jenny- Adventures Along the Way

      “What I realized is that people’s comments teach you a whole lot more about them than about anything else.”

      Yes…very true. Though for me it’s sometimes hard to remember to keep that emotional distance when you hear some of the things people say about your choices that they don’t agree with or don’t understand…

  • Kashia

    Oh WOW do I get this. We started dating at 21, were engaged at 23 and married at 24.

    I’m almost 27 now… I’m still in school, we’re talking about moving overseas for a few years. This is totally backwards of what the “plan” was. I was supposed to finish school, have some sort of super awesome career, travel and live overseas as a single girl. And sometime along the way I would meet my future husband. Turns out we had already met when we were 12. The morning after out first date I had that moment of “oh crap I think I’m going to marry this guy”. It was scary. And it changed everything.

    BUT, I don’t think it is going to stop me from doing any of the things I want to do. If anything having my awesome and supportive husband makes things big adventures and life changes better.

    • http://cheaperthanwisdom.com Emily

      I had that “oh crap” moment, too! It was terrifying. I was totally in denial.

  • http://theincompleteidiotsguide.blogspot.com/ Alyssa

    My boyfriend always says “everyone has an opinion.” I feel like there is this idea that your early twenties are a time to have fun and be single! Yeah! Live it up at the bar scene! Travel! I did the bar thing party girl from 21 to 21 ½ and it was probably my least favorite time of my life. But it was where I met the love of my life. My activities shifted from drinking to yoga, hiking, mountain biking, and reading and I am so lucky to have a partner through all of these changes.
    I don’t understand why people can’t just be happy that I have someone amazing and supportive in my life. Why for some reason you have to travel and grow on your own before finding love. For the last two years we have traveled and grown together, and our relationship is stronger for it. Since we started dating I started grad school, dropped out, started a career, hated it, re-applied for grad school, and am anticipating marriage at 23. If there is one thing I have learned it is that “the best laid schemes of mice and men often go awry,” and there is no reason to deny love because it doesn’t fit into the “proper” timeline.

  • http://theincompleteidiotsguide.blogspot.com/ Alyssa

    My boyfriend always says “everyone has an opinion.” I feel like there is this idea that your early twenties are a time to have fun and be single! Yeah! Live it up at the bar scene! Travel! I did the bar thing party girl from 21 to 21 ½ and it was probably my least favorite time of my life. But it was where I met the love of my life. My activities shifted from drinking to yoga, hiking, mountain biking, and reading and I am so lucky to have a partner through all of these changes.

    I don’t understand why people can’t just be happy that I have someone amazing and supportive in my life. Why for some reason you have to travel and grow on your own before finding love. For the last two years we have traveled and grown together, and our relationship is stronger for it. Since we started dating I started grad school, dropped out, started a career, hated it, re-applied for grad school, and am anticipating marriage at 23. If there is one thing I have learned it is that “the best laid schemes of mice and men often go awry,” and there is no reason to deny love because it doesn’t fit into the “proper” timeline.

  • T.

    I met my now husband when we were 21 years old and seniors in college. Totally not ideal. Neither of us were really prepared to fall in love at that point, but we made it work. After being apart during my graduate work (about a year and a half), we moved in together. When I got my first job out of my master’s program, I still remember, during that first year, at 24ish, leaving happy hours to go home and my colleagues would start lecturing me on how I was too young to be in a serious relationship and how I was wasting my youth and I should be out having fun and dating around. We weren’t even engaged and I was getting all the unsolicited advice. We just got married at the end of August and we were both 28 (okay, I was 4 days shy of 28, but I think it counts). We did get a lot of “Well, it’s about time!” comments. So, I think no matter what, people will have opinions. I do think we were young when we met, but we took our time and grew together and got married when we were ready to. Isn’t that the only thing that matters, that you and your partner feel ready to make that commitment? Everyone has their own timeline and no one knows your relationship better than you and your partner. You have to just do what makes you both happiest.

  • alyssa

    Oh man do I feel ya! My husband and I started dating at 20, got engaged and married at 22, and just celebrated a year of marriage. I resisted him at first, because I thought I wasn’t “allowed” to fall in love that soon, that I “needed more time” to be on my own. But the things I have done because of his encouragement and support! The places we’ll go (once we’re out of debt from school loans) will be so much more beautiful because we’re both there.
    So many strangers, including my at-the-time-boss told me I was making a huge mistake. But, you shouldn’t get financial advice from people who are in debt. So, you don’t need to get marriage advice from people who don’t believe in marriage.
    Do your thing! It’s everything ever.

    • http://theincompleteidiotsguide.blogspot.com/ Alyssa

      I’d like to take this opportunity to share a lesson I learned from The Minimalists (another fantastic blog by the way). Don’t take advice from someone who is living a life you wouldn’t want to live. If someone did everything in the “right” order and turned out unhappy, then they shouldn’t be telling you how to live your life :)

      • alyssa

        Right! Also, love that we have the same name. :) This could get confusing!

  • Nicole

    Wow- I just keep nodding. I met my now husband at 18. We were married just shy of 22nd birthday. I was told over and over again I was too young. However I knew the day I met my husband we were meant to be- as cheesy as it sounds. We met at a party and two weeks later we were officially inseparable.

    Now we own our own photography business, nothing like I dreamed earlier in my life. I have degree in Education, and my husband in IT. Yet I wouldn’t change my life for anything.

  • Sarah vL

    This post was refreshing and reaffirming for me to read. I got married young (me, 22, my husband, 25), and we’ve had our ‘ups and downs’ (Mainly me growing up and trying to figure myself out). Luckily, my husband is a kind, loving, gentle, and mostly patient man, who has been through the same growing-up-existential-struggle as I’m going through.

    Keep your head up, Laura. People may always doubt, but as long as you know in your heart, that’s all you need.

  • Catherine

    Ahhh okay so I screamed inside when I saw both of today’s posts! I have been waiting for posts like these, soooo resonating with me! I am 22, and met my love when I was 20. Let me preface this by saying I am the most grounded, oldest, Taurus out there and have always been. I have literally always said I just want to meet my soulmate and BAM I’m done. As an actress, I know instability is going to be running all around in my career my whole life ( at least in the beginning!) and I don’t want it or have never felt it in my personal life. My girlfriend and I have known we wanted to spend our lives together from the day we met. It’s pretty much always been that “knowing” feeling, and I don’t know what it’s like to “not know” or have to wonder, etc, and I treasure that in our love so much. We are in the pre-engaged state, and while I am “young” she is a bit older, and I’ve felt married to her from the beginning. We live together, we have a dog, we even did New Years cards this year (ahhh ehehhe)! She believes in me and my career more than anyone. To top this all off, a year after meeting her, I finally told my parents everything, including that I was gay- let’s just say that they had NO idea, and as Southern parents it has been very, very hard and rocky- espeicailly for my mother. It’s been hard dealing with her process, and feeling like I have to justify everything and take 20 steps back- I feel in a way that I destroyed her. Anyway, I plan on writing more proper posts and submitting them once we are engaged cause I’m sure there will be a lot to deal with! Just wanted to acknowledge how hard it can be to have to defend your decisions and your life when YOU are the only one living it, and for you, it’s the most beautiful, wonderful, whole thing ever.
    (ok so this comment is more like a response to both of today’s posts rolled into one! Sorry!

  • http://akc09.livejournal.com Annie in LA

    Wow, what a neat story. It sounds like life has already taken you in a bunch of really interesting directions, and I’m sure there will be many more to take in the future! Cheers to staying strong, aware, and listening to yourself despite what anyone else says.

    Also yes, a man who takes a woman cheese-shopping is good people!

  • A H

    Go orchestra administration! It’s not too late to get into it ;)

  • LIZ (SINCE 1982)

    Oh, lady, a “real” job does not in any way make you feel like more of an adult. In fact, I have a sneaking suspicion most adults have a raging case of impostor syndrome and are wondering where they were on the day the manual was passed out (you know, the one all our parents so obviously had?). You obviously have a great head on your shoulders and a great partnership to sail into the future with. The rest will fall into place when it’s meant to.

  • http://californiapearl.blogspot.com Dabay

    This photo is from my wedding! Nice! :)

  • aly

    this post is just what i needed to hear! my fiance and i just recently became engaged, he is 20 and i am 21 (plan to marry in a year). we have been together for almost four years. since that also includes the college transitions – my old high school “friends” think he is controlling/crazy/abusive because i don’t see them any longer – failing to realize that we now all live in separate states and are totally different people (and have also never made an effort to get to know him or continue to be in my life)? but “growing up” with j shows that we are moldable in the same ways. our values, goals, ambitions, senses of humor – all match up! not to mention neither of us are interested in party life / casual dating / radical self exploration, so making the step towards marriage and a stable relationship to continue building on is exactly what we want and are prepared for. BUT being 20/21 i always get so worried reading so many early-marriage-horror-stories. good to know that just because we are young, it doesn’t mean we are cursed!

  • http://fianceesarehumanstoo.tumblr.com/ fianceesarehumanstoo

    I got married at 22, when we’d been dating since we were 15. He’s the only guy I’ve ever dated. At 25 we’ll have been going out for 10 years.

    Whaaat?

    I really understand why people are surprised. It’s not what I thought my 20′s would I have looked like: I wanted to get married at 28, then 26, then ok, 24. Then it was, at least wait until we’re not 21 any more. But 22 was the age that was right for us.

    I have had lots of people be very in-your-face rude, basically stating that my marriage was going to fail. Excuse me? I am a stranger to you. You do not know me at all.

    I think it’s all based on the assumption that if you get married young, you won’t achieve anything after you’re married, you’ll have kids straight away and nothing will ever be fun again.

    I see my marriage as a foundation for my life, one that will grow and expand as all the different facets of my life develop. It’s amazing that I have constant support from my best friend, and a platform for all the adventure, achievements, kids (eventually) that might come our way.

  • Amy

    Spoiler alert for the author: I’m 28 and STILL don’t feel like an adult.

  • http://blindirishpirate.blogspot.com Blind Irish Pirate

    Confessions… sometimes the worst protestor is the one in your head, even though we focus on the nay-sayers around us. Sometimes, we fear that they might be right. Sometimes, we toast to “beating the statistics.” Sometimes, I think maybe they may have been right. Then I remember WHY and it’s all just called out for what it is: paranoia deep inside and everyone else thinking that the know better than you.

    • anonymous

      yes yes yes yes yes. been dealing with a lot of this lately.

  • Colorfulchic

    Yay. I made my FH read this because he was worried that every so often I go AH I am so young! Then he reminds me that this means that we will have more time to spend together. I met him a month after my 21st. I literally made an appointment in my calendar to break up with him so it wouldn’t interfere with my graduation weekend. Then all my plans fell apart. I didn’t get into any graduate schools or get any job interviews. Thanks crappy job market, I will get married first.

  • Katherine

    This absolutely resonates with me. I’d consider myself a super young bride to be! We are engaged with me being 19 and my FH being 24. Sounds crazy? Yes it does! We are getting married next year when I will be 21 and he will be 25. Less crazy? Not much. We met when I was 15 an started dating when I was 17. People commented but we have a wonderful life giving relationship and we are choosing to further our lives together. He is in his master program at night and I’m finishing my BS next spring. I’m lucky to have a partner support me through some major transitions, and no matter what anyone else comments our community who knows us understand why we work, that’s what matters most to us! (Even though the gasps at my age to get on my nerves)