A favorite part in my day is scrolling through my BlackBerry and reading all my friend’s Facebook status updates. It makes me feel connected to them in a way. I will admit I have some creative, interesting friends.
But a couple days ago I came across a startling status update. One of the girls I coached years ago, a 15-year-old at the time, had posted she’d just gotten engaged. Sure, she was older now, but still, only 20.
What is the rush? Wasn’t 20 too young? Does she even know who she really is?
But I couldn’t exactly post: “OMG, who gets engaged at 20?” as my status, knowing she’d read it. Who was I to burst her bubble, throwing her off cloud nine? Maybe her marriage will be a successful one. I hope it is.
Instead I had to Tweet my thoughts. A few minutes later, one of my “tweeps” tweeted me back, “@cpkoester
I have a few friends that met/started ‘going out’ in jr high and are still together doing very well/married.”
Ahh, judging. I was doing it again. Shame on me.
I took a step back. My grandma spent this past weekend sharing her love story as we dried dishes. At 18 she was married to the man of her dreams, my grandpa. Sixty years later, they still have the most amazing amount of love and respect for each other. I can’t help but be happy around them.
Then there are my parents. My mom was married at twenty one. Just the other month she confessed my dad still creates swarms of butterflies in her stomach, simply by the way he looks at her.
Love can happen and it can knock our socks off. But is it the lasting love to get us through 60 years of marriage? I almost feel like young adults today, including me, want everything right now, as fast as a BlackBerry sends emails.
But at a young age do we really understand all that goes into a marriage, and who we even are? Do we have that time to reflect, or are we busy jumping to the next task on our list?
Oh…and then there was me…I was once that young girl with a shiny ring on her left finger. A few days before my freshman year in college, my high school sweetheart grabbed my hand on a starry night, leading me to a cornfield a few blocks from my parent’s house under a green sign that read “Love Road”. He got down on a knee and proposed. I was 18. I couldn’t help but squeak out a yes, but everything inside me was screaming no. I was more worried about volleyball practice and my first day of college than walking down an aisle. That should have been my first sign. But life felt comfortable with him in it, and marriage was the next step, right? If I didn’t accept, we, as a couple, would be over. That was a scary thought at that age.
But love makes people do crazy things, especially when we think we’re in a bit of a race. And sometimes love has a way of sneaking up on us in all kinds of ways and it’s hard to deny.
Lucky for us, life got in the way. Our schedules became busy and complicated. We started maturing differently. Things fell apart; maybe a blessing in disguise even as much as it hurt. We broke up before the wedding bells could even ring.
What I didn’t know was I’d be single for the next nine years - most of my twenties. Plenty of time to question and second guess everything I did wrong, but also learn that sometimes finding the right person has to do with timing, a lot of patience and soul searching.
That didn't stop friends of mine from falling in love, walking down the aisle and having kids. Every time I’d turn a year older, or stood up in another wedding, I’d wish that’d be the year for me. Why not me? What was so wrong with me? Did I ruin my one chance…
While my friends were settling in their homes, sharing their views as newly married couples and the responsibilities that followed, I was watching. What worked? What didn’t? I recognized the people I needed most in my life, perhaps later this defined the characteristics I’d needed in a companion. My values changed – I didn’t need muscles and a six-foot Mr. Hottie Pants. I wanted the guy who made me laugh and was compassionate enough to listen when I opened my mouth. I started traveling the world, challenging myself, growing as a person and really got to know the most important person, myself.
I kind of liked myself and who I was becoming. I started to enjoy all the journeys life had in store for me. My grandparents would repeatedly tell me, do everything you want to do now because when you get older, you won’t. “Trust us.”
And just like that, as I inched closer to my thirties, the most perfect guy [for me] walked into my life at the most right time. I can’t help but think, would I have ever known any of this if I raced to the altar?
What do you think is the right age to marry?