I think about weddings a lot. Like, a lot a lot. Weddings, and their resulting marriages.
This is due to several factors of my 24-year-old, post-college existence:
1) The number of people I am close to who are my age and are engaged or married has ramped up from seven (or three and a half couples) in 2009, to twenty-two (or nine couples and four halves) in 2010. This little math equation also affects the fact that, thanks to all the weddings and engagements, my boyfriend of five years and I now seem to have grown giant YOU’RE NEXT signs on our foreheads.
2) I have a slightly embarrassing blog/TLC addiction, and therefore have been known to saturate myself with pretty wedding pictures and/or feminist rants.
3) I roll my eyes at the giant YOU'RE NEXT signs on the boyfriend and my foreheads, but I can still feel them, and let me tell you, they're a little heavy.
How do I feel about that? I don't... (and I literally just heaved a tremendous SIGH as I typed that) I don't know.
I do want a wedding. Of course I want a wedding. The best day of my life is the day I get to wear a pretty dress and have a big party with all my favorite people. See: my awkwardly intense love of my own birthday. But birthdays and weddings are ever so slightly different in that your birthday is all about you, but the point of your wedding is that afterwards you’re *married.* To another *person.* For the rest of your *life.*
Am I ready for that? Will I ever be sure? I don’t know. I’m the kind of person who likes to wait and see what everyone else decided to do before making my own decision, but as I’ve gotten older and my friends’ and peers’ life decisions have brought them more and more onto their very own made-especially-for-you path, that has become harder to do.
There are a few things I’ve crossed off my list of Things That I Want to Do, like engineering and bean counting, but pretty much everything else is still there in a jumbled mess of I WANNA! I wanna have a big beautiful wedding! I wanna focus on my career! I wanna go to school! I wanna elope! I wanna baby! I wanna bum across Europe! I wanna change careers! I wanna juggle three careers! I wanna move across the country! I wanna stay home and hang out on the couch with my boyfriend forever! It’s all there, all equally tangible, all equally desired.
And I know, I know. I KNOW. I know being single in the eyes of the government is not the same as actually being single. I know that the boyfriend is part of every decision I make anyway. I also know that being married does not mean giving up and/or “settling,” but it is different. To accept and integrate another person into your life so wholly, so completely that you pledge your life to him or her in front of God and the government and everybody, that’s big.
So. Effing. Big.
I talked about it a lot (read: way too much) with (read: at) my boyfriend last year, but for all the wrong reasons. At that time I was very (read: very very) financially and emotionally unstable, and I sensed that marriage would be a great go-to stabilizer. I can say now that I was so, incredibly, wrong. Stability comes from within the couple and the promises they make (and keep) to each other, not from the legal document they sign.
So, do I need the document? No, I know how I feel and what our relationship means to us. But I want it. For the medical and insurance rights, for the tradition, for the fun, and for the public outpouring of love and commitment that a wedding, and marriage, symbolizes.
Do I want it now? (This is the part where I sigh again, and shrug.) I'm tired of analyzing it, and forgetting to enjoy all the wonderful things there are to enjoy in a relationship, before you "start your lives together." I think for now I'm happy being happy, and I just have to be happy with that. Living in sin will certainly do for now.
Take that, Society!