I’m hopping on the bandwagon here, people. Lately I’ve been noticing several blog posts and lists popping up titled something like, “Things You Must Do Before You Die, or You’ll Die a Loser”; “Things That Are Really Annoying About People Who Have Kids”; or “Why Weddings Are So Stupid.” So I couldn’t resist throwing my own two cents into the cesspool.
I’m sure everyone has his or her own motivation for composing such pieces and shooting them into the cyberspace agora, but I find them interesting when I consider their authors’ ages. Mostly they seem to be my age: post-college somewhere, finished with or finishing school, and seeking that next step in life. It’s my generation. It’s interesting to me, though, that as part of a generation that worship at the altar of tolerance, these bloggers should be judging a certain lifestyle unacceptable. And that lifestyle mirrors mine rather closely.
I got married shortly after graduating from college, didn’t continue with grad school, had a kid soon after and didn’t travel much during or after school. That makes me a pretty big failure when it comes to checking things off those all-encompassing lists. But why is that a big deal? Why are so many bloggers hating on my way of life? Has my failure to get a tattoo made your tattoo-having, globe-trotting, life-dream-fulfilling days any less fulfilling?
There’s nothing wrong with being single or travelling or trying to “find yourself” while you’re young. I propose the radical idea that there’s also nothing wrong with getting married, buying a house and helping others find themselves either. Being a young 20-something without a lot of commitments lends itself very well to those pursuits. However, since I’m a 20-something who made a different choice, I’ll offer my own perspective. Rather than let other all-knowing bloggers speak for us, I suggest that people like me may actually have good reasons for doing what we do.
Travelling is a great way to meet new people, experience different cultures and serve others. Just remember that there are people with interesting stories in your hometown, people with varied ethnic backgrounds and experiences who have a lot to contribute. Remember that there are many, many people in need not far from where you grew up who need service too.
There’s nothing wrong with being single. Single people have many unique opportunities to go places and learn things and help people. And it’s exciting to do that! But don’t think there’s no excitement in finding and loving one person with everything you’ve got. It’s important to know who you are and be sure of your own identity; it’s also important and thrilling to jump into the crazy adventure that is commitment to another. It’s a safe bet that you’ll “find yourself” if you’re the only one looking, but don’t forget that the person you find is here on this earth to love and serve others. Consider that committed relationships offer you the opportunity to let another help you look. It might be a messier process, but you may find more than just yourself if there’s another person travelling with you.
My generation is a generation that fears commitment. We believe in striking out on our own to do all the things before we get married because, if we agree with many of the “millennials,” marriage and kids sound about as exciting as death. I’m just here to suggest that maybe, maybe, it’s not as grim as that. We live in an interesting time, when everyone claims not to care how you live your life but will criticize you for getting married at 22 and look at you funny if you get pregnant before your 5th anniversary. If you’re out there living the life you’ve always wanted, taking risks and doing your own thing on your own, good on ya. Now’s the time to carpe that diem. And if you don’t have a list to accomplish before you reach an arbitrary age because you’re making it all up as you go, I’m here to say that’s okay too.