So the other day, I was getting some drinks, listening to how a friend would propose to his girlfriend. I was listening to how he had to befuddle and bamboozle his way into the proposal when it struck me how I was more intrigued by the logistical intricacies of the proposal than that he was making a huge life-changing decision.
Getting married is huge. It’s not something to be done lightly. It’s a hugely public affair and will change the way you fill out forms forever: single/married/divorced/widowed – you can never check single again! I turned 24 last November – I’m not old by any standards, but definitely considered a young adult and would probably be shamed, Hannah Horvath-esque, if I didn’t have some semblance of my shit together. My peers who are married tend to be Christian and/or still living in the same city they were born and raised in – we’re of very different ilks. My >30 co-workers tell me that I am “not nearly old enough to be thinking about long-term compatibility”, and “this is the time to date around”.
Well, no one’s gonna be telling me what to do. I know that being married is a state I want to be in once I’m with someone I want to be with. I think I progressively toyed with the idea of “why get married, it’s just a formality” when I decided I like the idea of that formality and that’s just how it’s going to roll. I could come up with reasons for why marriage is important to me but I’ve realized that all those justifications would be retroactive. What if the love of my life thinks marriage is “just a label”? Well, if it’s just a label, then just let me have it!
In the past six months, I’ve found myself embroiled in discussions of raising children, where we’ll live when (not if, when) we have children, what we’ll name our kids… it’s weird that these topics are not weird anymore. Heck, I had an argument with a second date about the value of an expensive film school for one’s child (NYU Tisch is $55k per academic year, for instance) and it was very clear a third date was out of the question after our heated discussion. (Guess which side of the fence I fell on!) Isn’t it strange the weird ways we vet our potential mates these days? Someone I know screens his dates for biological viability. If they are found to have some genetic disorder, they are nexted.
My attitude towards having progeny evolved somewhat in this fashion:
- Ugh I don’t want children. I’m going to become so boring and my life will revolve around my children – as long as I have my lover we’ll keep each other entertained!
- I still don’t really want children but I feel like it’s something I’ll want in the future. If my partner doesn’t want kids, I could go either way.
- (Where I am now) I would like offspring to be a part of my future. If my partner doesn’t want kids, that’s a deal breaker. If he expresses uncertainty, that’s a red flag.
- (Projected) WHERE’S THE BEBE IN MY BELLY GIVE IT TO ME NAO (I imagine this urge to be insatiable and unbearable although I still have no clue what it feels like)
It wasn’t too long ago where these topics are shunned and one would be crazy to have such concrete ideas about what they want for their future. Or maybe it’s not so much an age thing, than me dating people who are more into me (and me towards them) than previous people have been. (It probably is an age thing. Mature men FTW) Either way, I feel less ashamed about having opinions about my future family, and it’s nice that the people I have these conversations with have put equal thought into it too.