I was hanging out with my daughter, and few other 20 somethings the other night when the conversation turned to marriage. My daughter blurts out she wants to be married before 30.
Gasp, are you freakin’ kidding me? I look at her and ask: “Why?”
With a serious, yet clearly misinformed tone she replies with some mubble jumble about wanting kids and 30 being too old.
I get it. To a 22 year old kid 30 is old. But to the rest of us, 30 is young, very young. How do you explain to a 22 year old that getting married in your 20’s is just too young? Trying to explain why 30 isn’t old, isn’t going to do it. Talking about responsibility isn’t going to do it. So what to do?
I’m sitting thinking, an intervention is required but how? Then it hits me. Make it about her.
I grab a menu and point to each end and say; “This end is when you are born, this end is when you die” How much of the menu is yours if you get married at 25?” She looks at the tiny sliver between my two fingers and she starts cracking up as the light goes off.
“Not much,” she says.
Not much is right. Deciding to get married comes down to “You Time”. How much “You Time” do you want? The majority of our lives belong to others. For the first 18 years they belong to our parents. Once we get married and start a career they belong to our spouses, our jobs, the kids, the mortgage, they belong to everyone else. There are a few precious years in between that are solely ours. We get to make the rules and owe no one and explanation. We can think only about ourselves.
This time is when we can travel and explore the world. It’s the time we can make decision on a whim. It’s a time for living and experiences. It’s a precious time that should not be squandered. The time from when we leave the house to when we get married is “You Time” and it’s yours to do as you wish.
It’s all about the “You Time” Do you want a sliver or chunk?
We all hear the arguments against getting married early (I’m sure there are some for, I’ve just never heard them). You’re too young, no money, not mature enough, lack of understanding for the responsibility etc. We’ve heard them all.
Thanks to the menu and some quick thinking it’s clear to me. It’s not about any of that. It’s all about the “You Time” and how much of it you want. Like any 20 something, it’s all about them. And no “You time” is something they get.
We’ll see if it works. If she holds out to 30, I’ll call it a success.