I co-wrote this with my friend Alyssa. She was recently broken up with so this little piece is tinted by a bit of bitterness haha. Enjoy!
I’m just going to get right into this one. There isn’t really anyway to say this: getting engaged at 18 is not a good idea. I will come back to this point in a bit. Relationships ebb and flow, people change, life moves on; you will not be the person you are now in 20 years and if you are I feel sorry for you. I was in the car with my friend Katie discussing love: why we “fell” in love, what love is, what chemicals are released, and how love drives women off the deep end (it totally does).
50 years ago Katie and I would be engaged (not to each other for obvious reasons). We wouldn’t be going to college; we would be preparing to have children. 100 years ago we would have been married by now, having ha done or two children. 500 years ago we would have 4 or more children by this point, we would be half way through our lifespan. Mid-life crisis in the 1500’s was at the ripe age of 18. What joy.
The human body has not changed much over the past 500 years; our brains release the same chemicals. Sure, we live longer, better, and ultimately healthier lives, but how we fall in love and the process by which we are able to have children has not changed and probably will not change unless by some evolutionary leap the powers that be decide a period and endorphins are no longer necessary (I’ve wished for this day and it has yet to come. I’ll keep hoping).
So. Here we are, women of the 21st century! We vote! We go to school! We run companies; empires! Yet we fall in love at the age of 15. Our body tells us to have children when we are not even a quarter done with our lives. We make life-impacting decisions when we know so little about our selves and the world around us. We have come so far, and yet our vice has not changed over a millennia. We women love men. A process occurs that we have no control over that dictates how our life will move. We can fight it and many women have tried, however most have failed. We will always fall in love. We will always want to have sex, feel love, acceptance, and a place.
Now some people will disagree with me and argue that their value comes from a place deep rooted inside of themselves. To them I say brava. But nothing, nothing in the world, matches the intensity of being in love. Being in love is simultaneously the most frightening and yet most beautiful feeling in the world. Love makes or breaks you. It determines whether today is a good day or a bad day. Love can control you, and often times it does. Now. Take that feeling of being crazy in love and put it in a seventeen year old girl. She has roughly 73 years left in her life. 75 years. 7 decades, 75 graduating classes; unfathomable advancements in technology, medicine, science, literature, music…every single aspect of our society will change. Now, not only is our society rapidly changing, but life is moving. We’re learning new things about ourselves. Our tastes change, we enter the real world. Life moves us rapidly forward.
When I was 10 I knew I wanted to be an archeologist, when I was 13 I wanted to be a journalist, when I was 15 I wanted to be an anthropologist, 16 a writer, and then in the time I’ve been seventeen it has morphed from activist to politician to humanitarian to writer to motivational speaker to pretty much every single career idea in the world.
When I was 14 I believed in God and Conservatism. At 17 I now believe in neither.
When I was 13 I thought I had met the boy I wanted to marry and be with for the rest of my life. When I was 16 I fell in love a second time and I was REALLY sure this time that this young man was the man I wanted to spend the rest of my life with…We broke up 8 months later.
Planning your future, when we have lived so little life, seems foolish. You will change, what you want will change. Maybe you’re one of the few couples that grow together, but most couples grow apart. Being “engaged” on Facebook doesn’t make you and adult. You’re 17. You can’t get married. You don’t even live on your own yet. Changing from engaged to In a relationship to It’s complicated in the matter of a week and then talking about buying a house together doesn’t make you a “normal couple who fights” it makes you children. Professing your love through statuses, wall posts, and cute little videos doesn’t make you in love. Being together for 3 months doesn’t make you soulmates who have weathered many trials. Life will fuck you over, hard and it isn’t fun.
I’m sure those who are reading this who do want to get married to their high school sweethearts are affronted. I get it. It would have pissed me off if someone told me Matt and I wouldn’t be together for forever, but we weren’t and more than likely neither will you. Getting married won’t keep him around and it won’t make your life better. Marriage is hard and complicated and scary. Planning your future is totally awesome and fun, but don’t fall too heavily into the illusion. Look at what being in love means. Being in love isn’t arguing all the time and being married one second and broken up the next. If you break up more than 3 times it’s over. Don’t try it. Don’t make it work. It won’t. You’re young and you have the entire world at your feet and you’re willing to throw it away for someone who you can’t even keep level with. I wish someone had sat me down and bitch slapped me silly before I got so far in with the boys I have dated in the past. Love distorts reality and makes you do things your normally wouldn’t do. Keep a level head. Look at things objectively. Life is too long to spend it with the first boy you kiss, but too short to make the same mistakes over and over again.
I’m sure I’ve offended some of you and I apologize for that, but please wake up. The boy you’ve been dating for 3 months won’t be the only boy you date. You probably won’t love him forever and ever. He probably won’t love you either. It’s hard to hear but it’s life. It hurts and it’s scary, but it’s the truth.