You know how old people say that the older they get the more they have to attend funerals? Well, at the ripe YOUNG age of 26 the
oldermore mature I get the more my Facebook timeline is filled with engagement announcements, baby scans, babies who have been out of the womb for 5 seconds and therefore covered in uterus gunge, wedding photos and one or two domestic fuelled status’ that deserve to be the talking point for Jeremy Kyle.
For those amongst us with specific “life plans” set out, the sheer thought of being single at 26 is enough to send them into a spiral of self pity and lead them to log onto www.findmeareadymadehusband.com* clutching a credit card and deciding on the credentials they want for their future hubby and baby daddy to be. “I WILL HAVE A HUSBAND BY ANY MEANS POSSIBLE”
There’s a certain unspoken expectation to live life according to what “they say” (whoever “they are”) Go to school, to college, to uni, find a boy, settle down, if you want you can marry (sorry, slipped into a Boyzone song then), have children, grow old, die in bed with your husband like on The Notebook. Perfect scenario, right? One of the board games I would play as a youngster was called “Game of Life” which was originally created in 1860. The aim of the game was travel through life with the winner being the one with the most money, the wife/husband and the most kids. Talk about encouraging competitive breeding.
All too often I’m faced with exasperated tweets or conversations with people approaching a certain age who aren’t on track for this “ideal” and they’re actually panicking. Ever heard of panic 100 tins of beans, 300 toilet rolls and multipacks of crisps just incase there were to be some kind of reason to batten down the hatches and retreat to ones underground bunker? Well, I have a friend who used to panic buy “relationship” items. From the age of 19 she began buying homeware items for when she moved in a house with her boyfriend. She had cutlery sets, tea towels, plates, pegs, spatulas, bedding and what not hoarded under her bed ready for moving day… only she wasn’t moving in, she didn’t even have a boyfriend. There’s a wedding equivalent of this where there are women amongst us who have their wedding day planned down to the flattering wedding cake toppe. They have the perfect venue in mind, the type of cake, the first dance, the dress… all they’re missing is the groom. Teensy minute detail. It’s expectation is turning perfectly normal girls into bunny boiling dreamers who are living a life of what “should be” instead of what is right now. Thus, forgoing the fly by the seat of your pants happiness that a life of the unexpected can bring.
At the age of 20 I found myself in a long term relationship and partaking in all of the things that is expected when it comes to “settling down”. I fell foul of the “expectations by certain ages” lark and by 23/24 I was well on course for the house, marriage, a child, a white picket fence, 2 point 4 style holidays and trips to B&Q at the weekend. At the time that was what I wanted and to an extent I won’t regret it, I was content in that life.
Fastfoward 4 years and chuck in a bit of (I know it sounds a bit “new agey” but lets go with this description) “self discovery”, my situation has completely changed. I’m now the Stoke-on-Trent version of Bridget Jones crossed with Carrie Bradshaw (lets face it, Bridget didn’t really have the best wardrobe did she?). I’m more than content with the situation I’m in now with massive opportunities without so much of a glimmer of a diamond ring or the pitter patter of tiny feet in my forseeable future. But it appears that there are many people who aren’t. Those announcing their engagements or posting their baby scans on FB recoil almost in horror when I tell them I’m now single AND I LIKE IT. “But don’t you wan’t children/marriage?” I get asked, as though because I’m 26 and I’ve not signed up to either of these groups I’ve well and truly held up my arms in surrender and said “IM GOING TO LIVE ALONE WITH MY DOG AND DIE ALONE! THIS IS THE END FOR ME! GO ON WITHOUT ME!”. I’ve seens friends hop from one serious relationship to another serious relationship because the thought of being on the shelf scares them. But, who’s on the shelf? I certainly aren’t. I’m Beyonce dancing on the shelf, skydiving off the shelf, turning the shelf into my very own party pit.
It’s even scarier when I see girls of 19-22 claiming that they “need to settledown” before they get too old as though if they don’t they’re going to turn into a pumpkin like something out of Cinderella. Settling down isn’t something that is age dependent, settling down should be something that is feeling dependent and based on the moment you find someone who’s worth settling down for. The thought of “settling down” shouldn’t leave you running in the opposite direction of someone or leave you feeling suffocated or trapped within a situation and if that’s how you’re feeling it’s probably person dependent, not age.
With the “years of experience” behind me, if there’s one piece of advice (that I kind of stole from Sex & the City) it’s this…
Stop expecting it to look like what you thought it would look like. Instead, live in the moment, stop making plans purely because it’s what’s expected of you.
*I’m not sure this is a real website, but if you do buy a husband on there make sure I get commission