(Alternate Title: Why I Don’t Have The Marriage Bug)
So here’s the thing – the really important thing.
Someday, if I have a daughter, she’s going to ask me about what I did when I was younger: what I was like, who did I loved, who broke my heart, what did I do, what I did I dream – did I always want to be this person when I grew up. Because eventually, children realize that their parents had a life before they had them and start to get curious about who their parents were pre-responsible adulthood. At least, I did.
This is what I DON’T want to tell her:
“Well, I went to college, got two degrees, graduated magna cum laude, fell in love, got married and had you.”
If that story doesn’t sound insane to you, well, then we will probably never see eye to eye on much of anything.
No, what I want to tell her is about how I went to college, got two degrees, kicked ass, graduated magna cum laude and went on an awfully big adventure afterward going after whatever I wanted in life. I want to be able to tell her how I took risks – how I failed, how I triumphed – how I did everything I ever wanted to do. I want to tell her that I don’t have regrets – that I don’t have any “what if’s” in the back of my mind.
I want my daughter to know how to fail – all by herself – and be strong enough to try again and again until she succeeds, because there is no first kiss that compares to that. I want her to know that just because she has a degree, doesn’t mean her learning has ended and, because she has nothing better to do – no immediate plans, she should get married. I want her to know that there is no rush, that it’s okay to live by yourself – that some people feel more alone after they’re married! I want her to know that love is such a wonderful, powerful thing, but that relying on one person to make you happy will never work and that sometimes it’s hard tell between “I love you right now” and “I love you forever.” I want her to know that until she knows who she is and what she wants out of life, she shouldn’t hitch herself to anyone else, because as people get older (especially from 20-25), they change dramatically – what you want and who you want isn’t always such a fixed wanting.
I want to be an example for my daughter. I want to be able to tell her all the crazy stories of my early twenty-something career. I will tell her that it was beautiful and heartbreaking, devastating and wonderful, that I cried myself to sleep some nights but that I had some of the BEST days of my life the next morning. I will tell her that I loved madly and still, sometimes even then, lost. I will tell her that I did not sacrifice my dreams for anyone else’s and that I don’t regret a single thing. I lived my life. I lived my life without having to worry about if my husband was good with it – if he thought my goals were reasonable, if he would agree to move to another state, if he would support me in my next (crazy) idea. If I wanted a great dane, I bought it. If I wanted bangs, I cut them. If I wanted to paint my bedroom purple, I painted it. If I wanted to move to state where I knew no one to go after a job that no one had offered me, by God, I did that too.
I will tell her that it was hard, but that every single heartbreak was worth it. I will tell her that it’s appealing to get married right out of college, because it looks like a moment of stability in an unstable world, but that’s a cop-out and she very well may regret it a year later. I will tell her that Disney is a liar and that happily-ever-after doesn’t start when you get married, it starts way before that – when you finally start figuring out what you want to do with your life (which isn’t as simple as most people think it is).
I want her to know that marriage is a long-haul, that it requires sacrifice, financial independence and stable plans – none of which most young 20-somethings have.
I want her to know that her wedding day (as wonderful as it will be) won’t be the pinnacle of her life.
But most all all, dear future daughter, I want you to know that you deserve an awfully big adventure – you just have to be brave enough to go after it – and the guy who deserves to marry you, he’ll love you even more for it.
Originally posted on Caitlin’s Tumblr