It's Perfectly Okay For Marriage To Be The Last Of Your Priorities As A 20-Something

by Taryn Lachter

This summer, I went to a wedding, the first within my social circle.

I was actually in the bridal party, which was an honor and a privilege, as well as a relief because I didn't have to worry about finding a date.

Watching one of my oldest friends wed her soul mate was beautiful, and I'm so glad I got to stand next to her. However, I was the only single one in the bridal party.

A few weeks later, Facebook informed me that four of my college friends (whom I got consistently drunk with) got engaged -- FOUR friends within, like, two weeks.

Not to mention, three of said friends were guys! Then, there's my 21-year-old friend who just celebrated her six-year anniversary with her long-distance boyfriend.

Photo Courtesy: We Heart It

There are two thoughts I have after I see these kinds of things: 1) "I'm only 24, I'm too young for so many of my friends to be getting married" and 2) "Crap, I'm already 24, and the biggest commitment I have is with my Hulu account (I'm very dedicated to it)."

I'll be honest: I go through this process every time someone posts a picture of an engagement ring or a baby, and many times, it's immediately followed by the drinking of a beer... or two.

After my beer settles in, I usually calm down and remember why it is I'm not posting my own engagement photos.

It's actually not a surprise to me or any of my friends that I'm still single; we've established that I'll be the last one to get married. In fact, they'll probably all be married with children before I even have a serious boyfriend.

I was the girl who thought boys had cooties until I was about 16, and my awkward phase lasted till about junior year of college. Needless to say, relationships have never been my strong suit, at least not romantically.

Then there are the effects of my parent's divorce on my idea of commitment, but that's an entirely different article for a different day.

In my recent college graduate years, I've learned a couple things about myself that make me content with my relationship status. Obviously, I have days where I wish I had someone to wake up to, but at the end of the day, I know why I'm not in a relationship.

Here's why I'm okay with my singledom:

1. I ain't got time for that.

I'm on that grad school life, and it doesn't allow for my own regular eating schedule, let alone a weekly date with someone else.

2. As cliché as it is, obviously I haven't met the right person.

There are things in life worth fighting for. If the timing wasn't right, or the circumstances made it too difficult, then clearly, he wasn't the right person for me.

3. I've got major goals.

Not that a person can't achieve goals while in a relationship, I'm just not one of those people. I need to get to a certain place in my life before I can consider a real relationship.

4. "You can't love someone else until you love yourself."

It's so, so true and a lesson I'm still trying to learn.

5. I'm too young.

I'm still learning how to operate as an adult every day. It's exhausting. I want to be with a man, not a boy, so shouldn't I be a woman, not a girl?

6. Settling is no way to find a happy relationship.

Don't get me wrong; there have been choices, but no options I can see a future with. There are like 300 billion people in this world, so I'm definitely not going to pick the first guy I see.

7. I finally have standards and limits.

In college, I let guys walk all over me and would defend their lack of communication and "mixed signals," when in reality, they just weren't into me. I've learned that there are things that just aren't acceptable, no matter what kind of relationship it is.

8. I have plenty of love in my life.

It's cheesy, I know, but honestly, my friends provide me with all the love and respect I need right now, and there's no stressing over the meaning of text messages or what to wear on a date.

If I'm feeling down, I have a long list of people to call who can make me feel better. If I want to go for drinks on a Friday night, I call up my girls; we get fancy and go out.

Let me be clear: In no way am I ragging on people in relationships. Believe me, there's a significant part of me that's pretty jealous of always having someone to talk to at night, snuggle with on a cold day and watch football with every Sunday.

I'm also not saying that this society's hook-up culture is something I'm interested in; although, sometimes, I wish I were capable of a one-night stand.

Just because your best friend is getting married this fall, and you're just sleeping with the guy down the street, doesn't mean you're at any disadvantage or "behind" in life. Whatever stage of relationship you're in, or not in, rock on with your bad self and move at your own pace.