"Show me a twenty-year-old who’s NOT in love…"

(I nicked the title quote from an episode of House – Season 3, Episode 5; I think it turned out they were brother and sister.)

Before I get stuck in, there are yet more things that need to go on what shall now be referred to simply as The List. And they are:
“Dominant” noses. Apparently. Actually, now I think about it, Adrien Brody has a certain something. (That something being, mainly, a sizeable conk.)
Beards – facial hair is a divisive one. I’m not a fan of the fully-fledged beard, I have to say, but that’s just me. And of course there’s almost universal agreement that on the right jawline, stubble – to varying degrees – is all kinds of hot.
It was also emphatically explained to me, by several ladies, that guys with a bit of meat on their bones were infinitely preferable to skinny types. This makes sense on more than one level – it’s nice to have someone who can pick you up without you fretting that you’ll break them, and who’ll give you a piggy-back home from the pub when the quantity of wine consumed has somewhat diminished your tolerance for high heels. It’s also lovely to have someone who’ll cook for you enthusiastically, and give you funny, “you’re weird, wench” looks when you have a tizzy about your thighs and declare you’re going to exist solely on salad for a fortnight.
But enough! As I’ve said, this could turn into a book. Albeit one of those funny little ones you find in Urban Outfitters. And also, someone could tick all/some/none of these boxes and be absolutely, totally, bang-on perfect.
And so to what I actually planned on saying here. 
The last eighteen months or so have seen an increasing amount of “X is engaged to Y” statuses appear on Facebook. Apparently I’m now at that age where friends and acquaintances are starting to make the really big and scary life decisions. 
(I should say before this goes any further that I am not here to criticise anyone’s choices. I am absolutely not trying to do that. So stick with me, folks.)
First things first, to all you lovely people who’ve done any/all of the above, congratulations.I mean that. Being a closet romantic, the idea of making an official and public commitment to one person is something I really respect.
I guess it’s just made me think, when I’ve heard about former schoolfriends doing things like getting engaged and married, “Good lord, that’s an awfully adult thing to do. Would I be confident in making that commitment right now, at this age? Even if I knew I was with the right person?”
No, I wouldn’t. I’m 22. I don’t want to be making those kinds of decisions until I’m at least the other side of 25. I’ve got shit to do between now and then. Like growing up a little bit, learning to be less emo, ditching a few insecurities, bidding farewell to that inferiority complex that likes to show up from time to time, forming a response to new situations that’s better than “I can’t!” (Damn, I’ve got quite a bit to do, it seems.) And while I can confidently say that as far as my love life is concerned, I am really happy and don’t want anyone to go anywhere anytime soon, I know we are both still growing up – or trying to. I haven’t quite made it out of education yet, so who’s to say that when I do finally get to the real world, I won’t become even more cynical and skittish than I am now? (Perish the thought.)
And I know that a lot of our parents and grandparents were marrying and starting families in their late teens and early twenties. My attitude is largely a product of the times we live in – it’s simply more common to stay in education longer, sometimes until well into your twenties. People are generally a lot more career-driven now. (FYI I’m not getting into statistics, religious perspectives, gender roles or sociology here.  I don’t have the space, and you and I both lack the patience, so forgive any sweeping generalisations. I’m just trying to be fair and give the appropriate context.)
If you’re around this age, and you’ve been with your significant other for a good long while, and you are damn sure you don’t – and won’t – want to be with anybody else, then good for you. Make it official and celebrate it. I’m not anti-marriage – though I would be quite nervous about being the centre of attention for a whole day, and the pressure to look good in all the photos would be hideous. And I am fairly sure that if some poor fool ever does decide he wants to make an honest woman of me, my first response will be, “Have you thought this one through? I can be pretty indecisive, and the rest-of-our-lives is ample time for that shit to get annoying.”
But what’s the hurry? (And also, if you’re fresh out of university, all credit to you for being able to afford to get married. I can barely justify spending money on a haircut right now.) Life gets serious soon enough, and personally I’d like to spend my early twenties doing only the necessary serious stuff. I don’t want to get married until I have a bit more “life experience”, to use an irritatingly airy-fairy term, so that I can treat it with the seriousness and commitment that it deserves. We all know divorce rates are still rising, which suggests that people don’t treat marriage as a “for the rest of our lives” thing as much as they used to. Yes, part of the story does involve divorce being more socially acceptable now, but still. 
Deciding to share your life with someone at this age is, unarguably, a big step. That’s years’ worth of life and space-sharing you’re setting yourself up for.  Personally, I still enjoy that “Ooh, I have my own space back” feeling I get after a weekend with the Boy. It’s often short-lived (OK, not that often), and it doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy his company, it simply means I like my own space. I like being able to faff about for ages getting ready in the morning, I like being unnecessarily tidy, I like being able to sing loudly to whatever I happen to be listening to, I like being able to relax in t-shirts I’ve stolen off various male associates and generally look dishevelled. Without fear of judgement. Hurrah for living in different cities!
I also don’t want to have children until I’ve crossed a few things off my life-list too. Because that’s going to be at least 18 years of full-time worry and commitment and then a further bajillion years of fretting about them. And I want to be able to bring some wisdom to my child-rearing, if I do have kids. One thing you can’t be when you’re responsible for another human being is selfish, and you know what? If I can’t be a little bit selfish from time to time when I’m 22, then it’s going to have to wait until I’m retirement-age. And I’m very impatient, so that’s not an option.
A piece of wisdom was shared with me recently, and it’s too good to keep to myself: “At this age, you should be getting drunk and at it like animals.” (I’d like to add “and going to lots of gigs too” to this.)
That’s not going to fly forever, of course it’s not. But right now? Well, why not?
Those of you doing exams, have something chilled-out: 
And this has been on repeat in my life for the last couple of days:

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s