I’m Only 21 and I’m Committed

There’s an article that has been circulating Facebook. I’ve seen it about a dozen times and just scrolled passed, but today I decided to read it. The article was about a 22 year old woman and how she chooses to be single because she feels as if she’s to young to fall in love. She wants to become her own soul mate before she becomes someone else’s. It’s a wonderful article by Beth Cormack and you can read it here. The reason I’ve scrolled past it without reading it so many times before is because my peers tend to talk about relationships as if they’re the wrong choice for someone my age. Of course I know plenty of people who are my age and committed but most of the single ones treat them as a bad omen. Half of the people around me are getting engaged, buying homes and having children, while the other half are at music festivals, studying abroad and experimenting with drugs. Neither of these lifestyles are for me but sometimes I do feel as if I’m doing everything wrong. Social media has a funny way of making people feel inadequate by constantly comparing themselves to their old high school friends and foes, but I digress. I agree there are some people that jump into living life as an adult without learning who they want that adult to be. There are people who get married before they should or have kids before they should and then they wake up one day and decide they never wanted that life to begin with.

“Realize that sleeping on a futon when you’re 30 is not the worst thing. You know what’s worse, sleeping in a king bed next to a wife you’re not really in love with but for some reason you married, and you got a couple kids, and a job you hate. You’ll be laying there fantasizing about sleeping on a futon. There’s no risk when you go after a dream. There’s a tremendous amount of risk to playing it safe. -Bill Burr”

I think that’s the point that Beth is trying to make. The problem is that not all relationships are like that. As much as I support people in being single and empowered I feel a lot of the time that I’m shamed for not being the same way. I know that single woman have to deal with being asked when they’re going to find a man by their families every Thanksgiving dinner but the feeling you get when you tell your class mates that you’ve been with your boyfriend for 4 years is just a awful. Before I continue I should explain a few things. When I was a Freshman in high school I met a boy. At that stage in my life I was extremely self conscious and didn’t feel as if I could ever date anybody I was actually attracted to. All of my friends had had boyfriends but all I had were a series of week long relationships with boys I didn’t even like and one failed attempt at dating my best friend. I was also convinced that I was a late bloomer. Looking back I now realize that I was only 14 and had plenty of time to date but I felt like time was passing me by. I felt like an adult and I needed to have a boyfriend to justify that. So I dated him. A month later I dumped him, but I got lonely and got back together with him. A month after that he cheated on me, but I didn’t want to be alone so I dealt with it. Fast forward through one year and 8 months of fighting, telling myself I didn’t even like him, being told I could do better and 4 more temporary break ups and he dumped me. I was shattered because I really thought that I was insane and controlling and bitchy (just as he told me I was) and that I would never find anyone to ever put up with me again. Of course about a month later I got over it (I mean I was 16 it was pretty ludicrous that I even took it that serious to begin with) and I decided I was done with dating. I wanted to be like the girl in the article. I wanted to be alone all the way through college and have the time of my life. A few months later I found a friend in Cody Montgomery. A few months after that he told me he liked me and I told him I wasn’t looking for anything serious. A few weeks later he asked me to be his girlfriend and I said yes, under the impression that it would be short lived and fun. Two weeks later I loved him with everything I had. I had never intended on anything like that to happen but it did and I’m glad it did. Now we live together and have two pets and everything is going great, but that doesn’t stop people from giving their opinions. I can not tell you how many people have made me feel as if I’m throwing away my youth by being with Cody. When Cody graduated from our high school I was told by everybody that I would be dumped for a “hot sorority chick”. Then when I graduated I was told that I needed to be single to  fully experience college. Every body seems to feel as if they get to have a say in my relationship and nobody seems to understand that they have no idea what my ambitions are. On one hand I’m asked daily when I plan on “getting married already” and the answer is not anytime soon. Cody and I have decided that waiting is what’s right for us and by waiting I mean waiting for careers and college degrees and for all the things that are going to happen between now and then. On the other hand I’m told that I’m missing out and that I need to love myself before I can love him. What people don’t understand is that I am still growing and learning and changing every single day, and so is Cody. This makes being together hard and our fights interesting but at the end of the day we still choose to be together while we evolve. We have discussed my living in Europe while he lives with his Father in Oregon and we take road trips together and we have our own friend groups and our own dreams, but none of these things change that fact that we’re great together. If we come to a cross roads that require us to go separate ways then so be it, but I will honestly be able to say that I never wasted a minute of living my own life while I was with him. Relationships are hard and to many people my age treat  them as if they’re fairy tails. They meet the prince and allow him to sweep them away and they let that ideal consume them. Obviously there have been times that I’ve let it consume me too. There have been tons of times where I go weeks without talking to my friends or I neglect my school work because I want to spend my time with Cody but those days disappeared about 2 years ago, along with the idea that Cody and I were meant to be. Cody and I work hard to learn who we are and we work hard to make sure that those new and evolving people are still right for each other. We acknowledge the fact that we could change our minds at any time so there’s no use in overly planning for our futures together until we’ve actively moved towards our individual goals. So why am I writing this? To justify that Cody and I know what we’re doing because reading this article made me feel as if we’re wrong? Maybe a little. But I’m mostly writing all this for all the other 21 and committed girls out there. For all the girls who are smart and independent and have a wanderlust like no other but are told daily that they’re not living because they just happened to be lucky enough to find somebody that made them feel phenomenal a little to early in life. I want those girls who have to call their boyfriends their best friend or life partner because they’re not taken seriously when they talk about their boyfriends to know that they don’t have to feel bad. There are so many articles for the bad ass single girl who’s doing it on her own but none for the bad ass girl who’s in love. The truth is no man can get you a college degree, no man can get you a good paying job and no man can help you check off the boxes on your bucket list. You have to do all those things alone, and as long as you do all of those things that you’ve always dreamt of doing then why the hell does it matter who you lived with and who you slept with while you were doing it? So single girls keep on kicking ass and taken girls keep on kicking ass. That’s that.

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