I don't want to exaggerate or anything, but everyone I know is getting married. No, seriously. Bear with me. I have scrolled through maybe ten or 15 engagement announcements on Facebook. People I went to elementary school with, high school, college. They've all somehow found themselves in a position where they (and their significant partners, which they have at this age, which is totally cool), are ready and able to commit themselves for life. They all have engagement photos up, they're all adorable, and they all fill me with existential fear. Oh, and sometimes they also have babies.
It's not that getting married this young is bad or unusual. It's neither of those things. I actually think there's something pretty spectacular about knowing who you want to spend the rest of your life with at this age. I think what's throwing me off is the finality of it. Marriage is a major milestone—it marks that you're ready to take a huge, (hopefully) permanent life step.
I've spent a lot of time this year feeling like I'm in limbo. I feel so much older than freshmen, with their little Penn lanyards and giant backpacks and that youthful glint in their eyes that just says, "I'm barely out of high school. How does alcohol affect my body? Who really knows!" When I was a freshmen, I was blown away by how mature the upperclassmen were. And even now, I see the class that graduated above me as genuine, bona fide adults. They have jobs. Maybe even briefcases, too.
I feel too old to be in college, but too young to graduate. I feel too young to be making these gigantic life decisions, but at the same time, I know they're long overdue. There's this looming finality to the decisions I make now: What will I do? What will my job look like? What state am I even going to live in?
But then again, there's something reassuring about the unknown. So what if some people I happen to know are in a completely different phase of their lives? That's cool too. I can keep parsing what the hell I'm doing with my life, and others can be just as happy already knowing. And to be fair, I do really, really like going through engagement photos.