The article Things to Do Instead of Getting Engaged When You’re 23 written on the Huffington post kind of made me angry. I’m 23, just got married, and am continuing to do things that make me happy. Something even better? I get to experience those things while being with the love of my life.
“It’s cold outside… you want to cuddle and talk about your feelings… life after graduation is a tough transition… so why not just cut to the chase and get married, right?”
If the thought process that leads you to getting married is that you’re cold, want to chit chat, and are in a transition period, you most definitely should not be getting married. If you are still finding yourself and don’t know yet what you want out of life, you might need to pump the breaks with the whole matrimony thing. However, if you, like me, have a grasp on the whole “how to live” thing, feel free to make those big decisions. It’s worth it.
“Because you owe it to yourself. You are a human being that deserves to thrive inside AND outside of a relationship.”
Very true. I’ve had some crazy experiences, gone through therapy, and found how to really work as a single unit. Something that just happens to make thriving personally even better is getting to thrive with my husband. It might make certain decisions harder (where to live, when to have kids, what to eat for dinner), but it also makes those decisions more rewarding. Also, if you find the right partner, you just might find that you agree on a lot of the choices that you both might have made separately. Go figure.
So, here is my list, in response to the list provided by that lovely Huffington Post writer. You might find that some of these items are the same. Wait, you can have a life while you’re married? That’s right folks. I might be going against the grain on this one, but I actually think you can have some cake, and then eat some, too.
23 Things to do While You’re Married at 23
1. Get a passport.
No idea why marriage would stop you from doing this. My husband didn’t even get his passport until we were about to go on our honeymoon. So, you’re welcome honey.
2. Find your “thing.”
If you don’t have a “thing” (which is very vague), you should! Whether it’s painting or shopping, find something you love to do, and can even do by yourself!
3. Don’t make out with a stranger.
That’s gross. Even if I happened to be single, I couldn’t want to swap fluids with someone I didn’t know. To suggest that someone should is a little weird.
4. Adopt a pet.
Totally! I’m all for pets, especially adopting one in need. If you want a pet, that is. And, if you want a pet, I’m sure the person you chose to be your life partner would also like one.
5. Listen to music.
Get a Spotify account and explore. Buy a record player and some awesome vinyls. Lose yourself in some music. Unless you don’t like music. Then no pressure (but seriously, who doesn’t love music?).
6. Make a cake.
Homemade cakes are awesome. You can chose whatever flavor you want, make it gluten free, or vegan! You can even share it with your significant other so that you don’t feel too gluttonous.
7. Get a tattoo.
If you want. I’m in favor of tattoos. I got my first one while I was dating my now husband. He’s gotten one since we’ve been married, and we’re planning some more. Our marriage is definitely permanent, so are the tattoos, and they aren’t mutually exclusive.
8. Explore a new culture.
Not necessarily a new religion. Some people don’t want to be all willy nilly with their faith. I do, however, suggest getting to know a new culture, even if it’s just through the internet. Cultures are fascinating!
9. Decide where you want your career path to lead.
If you don’t know by now, find out. I’ve had lots of professionally existential moments, but I always like having goals. And, if I’m passionate about my goals, by husband is supportive (re: marrying the right person)
10. Cut your hair.
Even just an inch. Dead Ends are gross. It’ll make you feel better. I don’t have to do this instead of getting married, though. I’m pretty sure they can both happen.
11. Stay monogamous
It’s more of a challenge than dating multiple people at once; far less dangerous and far more rewarding.
12. Build something with your hands.
I’m a fan of DIY projects. Whether by myself, with a gal pal, or my guy. It’s always great to get that feeling of accomplishment (or defeat.. Pinterest fails anyone?).
13. Accomplish a Pinterest project.
See #12. Finish one and succeed– it’s harder than you think!
14. Give back.
Money and time are both needed in organizations all over the world. Find something that speaks to you. Do what you can.
15. Stop worrying about disappointing your parents.
I love my parents to the moon and back. However, I can’t spend my whole life in constant fear of disappointing them. I definitely am not a fan of doing it on purpose, but sometimes it’ll happen. But now, I’m 23, I should worry about not disappointing myself.
16. Watch something on Netflix.
Even if it’s just for a month, using the free trial period, try it out. Lose yourself in a show, or watch a movie that you haven’t seen in years. Bonus: if it’s cold and you want to cuddle, you can totally do that with your partner.
17. Try a new recipe.
Instead of eating an entire jar of Nutella in one sitting (which sounds delicious but also sickening), find a recipe and cook.
18. Make a stranger happy.
Instead of making them uncomfortable for no apparent reason, do a pay-it-forward act one day. It feels good.
19. Stay active.
Committing yourself to one person doesn’t give you an excuse to let yourself go. I’ve slacked a little, we all will, but don’t make that a constant.
20. Hangout with friends.
Thriving by yourself is important, as is thriving in a marriage. It’s also important to keep friendships thriving as well. Don’t drop off the face of the earth after getting married. Instead, have friends that understand that you might occasionally drop off the face of the earth, but you’ll always come back.
21. Get your feelings out.
A public blog isn’t for everyone, but expressing your feelings is important. Do whatever works for you: therapy, journaling, blogging, getting a punching bag, etc.
22. Be selfish.
Not all of the time, obviously, but occasionally. Every once in a while you need to do what you want to do.
23. Live your life how you want to live it.
Sure, I don’t have the money to do everything I want, but I am pretty happy with where I am in life. I’m 23, married, gaining successful professional experiences, have a dog, travel occasionally, and get to sleep in most weekends. Just because you’re married doesn’t mean you’re “tied down” or lame. It means you have declared your lifelong partnership with another human, which is really beautiful! If you’re not ready for it at 23, don’t do it! But, don’t judge other people for having different paths from your own.
I’m not the only married millennial who found error in the anti-marrying-at-23 article. Another Huffington Post author wrote a counter-article similar to this post. I know not everyone will agree with her list, my list, or any other complete list out there. My goal here was just to point out that marrying at 23 (or 22, 24, etc.) does not suck the youth out of a person and the adventure out of life.
My husband and me in London.