Why engagement season made me sure I’m not interested in marriage

Engagements have come fast and furious this holiday season, as they always do. Maybe because New Year’s Eve does come with an implied level of extra romance. Or everyone has seen When Harry Met Sally and remembers Billy Crystal’s speech to Meg Ryan on New Year’s where he shouts about wanting to start the rest of his life as soon as possible once he realizes who he wants to spend it with. Either way I think we can all agree our social media timelines have been rife with diamond rings and pictures captioned, “she said yes!”

The funny thing is that this usually leads to many people I know texting the eye roll emoji or spending brunch bemoaning why the rest of us aren’t yet engaged. Over the years it’s become clearer and clearer to me that I don’t feel this way. I think it’s a byproduct of Amy Poehler’s “good for her! not for me” mantra. When someone I know gets engaged, it’s obviously because he or she wants that to be his or her next step in their relationship. And I am simply not there yet and a big part of me isn’t quite sure that I will ever want that next step.

For years it’s been ingrained into women that marriage is something we should all aspire to. And while there should no longer be a 1950s mentality when it comes to our romantic pursuits, I still find people who pass judgement on me and others who have bypassed the age of thirty without an engagement ring. But why? Why can’t we all enjoy our lives at the pace that best suits us? And who says that the end game really needs to include marriage?

For me personally, I feel a disconnect to the idea of marriage. But not for the concept as a whole. My parents are bordering on forty years of marriage and I think that’s incredible and worth every celebration in the book. I’ve attended weddings for friends that have brought me to tears with how beautiful it is when I watch the bride and groom (or bride and bride or groom and groom!) smile at each other and exchange vows or have their first dance. I couldn’t be happier that people in my life who truly want to be married have done so. But I also would like to gently remind many of them that I’m happy in my choices as well, even though that doesn’t include a husband at this point in my life.

I learned a long time ago that the old saying “never say never” is a smart philosophy to follow in life. There have been plenty of times in my younger years where I defiantly said things like “I’ll never eat sushi, raw fish is gross” or “I’ll never eat dinner alone at a restaurant, that’s weird” and sure enough “I don’t ever want to get married, don’t think I want kids either.” Well I can say that I love all kinds of sushi, I have eaten dinner plenty of times on my own but I still don’t know if I want to get married or have kids. I refrain from using the word “never” because life can surprise us in a multitude of ways and I believe we should always be open to the possibility that anything can happen and we have the right to change our minds. But I also don’t think I need to in order to live a full life and I know that my decisions deserve the same respect as those that follow a more traditional path.

t’ss 2016 and no one lives a cookie cutter life. e can’t expect that what works for us automatically will work for oothers. It’s unrealistic and it’s unkind to try to force your own personal choices on others as the standard or the norm. I don’t believe in imposing my beliefs on others and I don’t appreciate others trying to do so to me. We are all created as individuals for a reason. So that we all bring something different to the table and that’s what makes up this world full of differing ideas, opinions and lifestyles. No one way is better than the other. It’s up to ourselves to pursue a path in life that makes us happy, not to placate the people who believe we aren’t doing things the right way. There is no right way. There’s just the way that each us choose.

That way may be walking down the aisle, or never walking down the aisle, or walking down the aisle years later than your peers. No matter that the outcome, I think we should all make a point to think to ourselves about anyone, “good for her, not for me” if our life plans concerning commitment and marriage do not happen to match up.

[Image via Columbia Pictures]

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