Lots of things in life involve a deadline; dates by which we must make a decision if we don’t want to end up drowning in a ton of things that must be done and decisions that must be made. There are deadlines for submitting schoolwork, completing administrative forms, and finishing projects at work. We’re used to doing everything quickly and immediately; always on a rush basis. That’s just the way it is. Time to think about the future needs to be worked into our busy schedules.
There’s one matter that should never be rushed or pursued under pressure, and that matter is: a romantic relationship. We all too often hear comments like “you’re 21 years old and you’re still single? Haven’t you ever had a boyfriend?”, and those comments leave us with the impression that we’re not keeping up with the (supposed) natural order of life’s major events.
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Who exactly decided that we should be at a specific point in our lives at a specific age? Why do some of my friends feel awkward about the fact that they haven’t had a serious relationship despite being past their twenties? Love isn’t something that can be scheduled; it can just as well happen when you’re very young or much later in life. Nobody has the right to decide when you should be in a serious relationship or how long it should last.
At first I thought that the source of this social pressure came from a time when our parents and grandparents met their future mates at a very young age. It was simply assumed that you’d have your first kiss at 18, get married at 20, and have your first child at 21. That’s pretty much the timeline of my predecessors. Although times have changed and we often spend more time pursuing our studies, people still seem to think that we should have found the love of our life by the time we’re 22.
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Oddly enough, when I married at 22, although the circumstances were rather particular, the people in my life were less than happy. “Are you sure, you’re still very young, how can you be sure that he’s the one?” So, either it’s too soon or it’s too late? None of it made any sense to me so I decided to do things at my own speed and in my own good time without worrying what people will think because there will always be someone who has something to say on the matter.
The moral of this story is to do things at your own pace; don’t rush yourself. Just because your friends have been in a committed relationship for over 5 years doesn’t mean that you should be in one too, for fear that you’ll fall behind. Perhaps if you let things happen in their own good time, you’ll meet the love of your life and experience the beauty of true love; perhaps it will happen more than once; and it can happen at any age. There’s no shame in being single. Don’t let anyone tell you what you should do and when you should do it. You have the right to walk off the beaten path. You do not have to do what society says you should do.
The Infamous Dates