A couple of months back, an article hit social media that got a lot of attention. It was titled 23 Things To Do Instead of Getting Engaged Before You’re 23. I’m serious. The author gave her single readers a list of twenty-three to-do’s, like “Eat a jar of Nutella in One Sitting,” …something I would absolutely love to do, but apparently can’t now that I’m twenty-three and married. Dammit.
If you haven’t read it and you want to, click here.
So of course I had to respond to it.
First, let me show you a picture from 2011. I was 21, and I moved to NYC because I needed a challenge. I interned at a huge company, took classes and made a few friends. Oh, it’s also where I met my husband. Funny how those things work.
The author is twenty-two years old and has an abundance of experiences that qualify her to make rash statements that stereotype an entire demographic of individuals that decided to get married before the age of twenty-three.
“I have already experienced more of the world in the last 22 years than my married peers will ever experience in their life.”
To start off her list of 23 Things To Do Instead of Getting Engaged Before You’re 23, she lists: get a passport, find your thing, make out with a stranger, adopt a pet, and start a band. Since I understand the responsibility pets require, I actually haven’t adopted one yet… but Vanessa, four out of five isn’t bad.
To be fair, the author makes a case when she brings up the statistics that show the increased divorce rate for people in their twenties (and she even links to a New York Times article to support her statement… phew), but that’s not really what this article is about. It’s not about the cultural implications of an increased divorce rate among young people, it’s not about the reasons that could be behind such a troubling statistic, and it’s not about what we can do to change it… It’s about people using marriage as a “cop out” and robbing themselves of rich experiences in the process. Experiences like numbers six and seven: “Make a Cake. Make a Second Cake. Have your cake and eat it too.” And “Get a tattoo. It’s more permanent than a marriage.”
Maybe pushing a bunch of twenty-three year olds that actually bought into your bizarre to-do list to get a tattoo wasn’t the best trick in your bag. I’d rather them go hang out naked in front of a window, which is ranked at an inexcusable twenty out of twenty-three.
I think this quote sums up her point, “Millennials deserve the opportunity to develop ourselves, alone.”
What an empowering sentiment, power to individual. What she doesn’t know? Some of us spent twenty-three years travelling, challenging ourselves, meeting new people, and developing… and we have no intention of stopping those things post matrimony.