“Maturity is often more absurd than youth and very frequently is most unjust to youth.”
The stages of life are a complicated conundrum. We start out life completely dependent on our parents and have little to no relationships or responsibilities to worry about. As we get older we embark upon the beginning of our education, whilst simultaneously learning the rudimentary social skills we need to function in society. We make friends, we develop crushes, and in some cases we learn that not everyone is going to be nice to us. Overall our early years are a laid back time filled with readily available friends and harmless crushes. Sometime around our mid-to-late teens we experience our first pseudo relationship only to find out later that it was nothing more than silly hormones. Then we hit our twenties and we are suddenly suppose to have a complete grasp on what it means to be a fully functional adult in a healthy relationship. As usual this is easier said than done for a number of reasons.
There is no instructional manual for life. Throughout most of our earlier life we are given pretty good guidelines for how we should behave. Go to school. Play nice with others. Rinse and Repeat. Then we reach the mythical adulthood and we are supposed to get a job, find someone whom we care deeply about, and start a family with no definitive instructions as to how to do this. Alone, any of these tasks would be daunting. Together they are akin to staging an attack on a fully operational Death Star hoping to shoot a photon torpedo into a two-meter exhaust port at breakneck speed. We are left to figure out what job will inspire us, how to navigate the minefield that is dating, and become a real boy through the wonders of trial and error. Where is ghost Kenobi when you need him?
Dating is messy. Dating was difficult enough in high school when the biggest thing to consider was whether or not the girl/guy you liked felt the same. As an “adult”, it becomes more than simply finding someone who enjoys your company as much as you enjoy theirs. It suddenly becomes about long term compatibility. Is this someone I can see myself with for the rest of my life? Can I see myself raising younglings with this person? Would I be willing to fight her seven evil exes in order to be with him/her? All questions raised while attempting to navigate the perilous waters of the dating world. Whatever happened to simplicity of circling yes and maybe, if your lucky, holding hands at recess?
Everybody is different. We all approach life differently. We have a unique set of values and experiences. We prioritize things based on this diversity. While this is what makes us individuals it also means there is no right way to take the next step. While some people can be content getting married and having kids early in life, others choose to focus on their careers and friendships. However, at some point we are expected to be well-adjusted adults. For some this means finally taking the plunge into family life. For others it is rising to the top of one’s career. Then there are those who rail against the box that is responsibility and live life on the edge, you know, like pirates. Simply put, our diversity makes our life journey one-of-a-kind. So while we may not be the chosen one, we can always take heart that no matter how much it seems like it sometimes, we are not doing it wrong.