Last week, I did something monumental. I graduated college. And much like other young twenty-somethings, my college graduation was filled with inspired moments and quotes from the songs, TV shows and movies I've seen of college graduations.
Captions that screamed, "We Did It!" in the Elle Wood's voice dominated my Instagram feed. Decorated graduation caps clad with something cheeky like, "Hotter By One Degree," or "Game of Loans" stretched as far as the eye could see. The classic shot of drinking champagne in your cap and gown was plastered all over my Facebook News Feed.
All of the pop culture-inspired moments were finally lived out. Out of all of them, one stuck in my mind. And that was the image of Rory Gilmore rejecting a marriage offer and cleaning out her apartment in the episode, "Wide Open."
In the series finale of Gilmore Girls, Rory Gilmore accepted an offer to jet off as a journalist on Obama's presidential campaign trail. She turned down a marriage proposal, chased after what she wanted and never looked back. At the time, Rory's decision confused me. She had met someone she truly loved and someone she wanted to spend the rest of her life with. Why did she turn it down?
The truth is, Rory didn't turn down marriage as much as she chose herself instead. Marriage meant following her fiancé to a city she didn't really want to live in, and working for a job she didn't really want. Rory's decisions would've been defined by her relationship from there on out, and had she of said yes, she probably wouldn't have spent the next year following Obama on his campaign trail (her dream job).
I am Rory Gilmore. I've landed my dream job. I'm moving to a new city, and I like the uncertainty in my life right now. I like having options and having the ability to do whatever I want to do, whenever I want to go. People in relationships will argue with me and tell me they can do that, too. But they're wrong.
Their significant other will always have a stake in the decisions they make, whether it be the job they take, the city they live in or any other decision. In an adult relationship, decisions have to be made together. Sacrifices will be made. Compromises will be made. And none of those things are bad. In fact, those are normal qualities in a happy, stable relationship. But that's not what I want at all.
I don't want sacrifice, and I don't want compromise. I want to be selfish, and I can because I am truly free. Free to move where I want without thinking about how my relationship may or may not suffer. Free from guilt of pursuing what I want, no matter how it affects my significant other. Free to join the Peace Corps and live in the middle of nowhere for two years. I am absolutely free to do anything. As Rory says, my realm of possibility is wide open. And for right now, I like the sound of that.
So, yes. I'm single, but I'm ready for a lot more things than simply mingling. I'm basking in my realm of possibilities because this is the time to do it. There will never be another time in my life where I can be more selfish than right now as a young, twenty-something graduate.
I want to live the single life in a major city. I want to make friends at yoga or Zumba. I want to meet up with friends over brunch. I get to pick out my own apartment and live freely in my bachelorette pad, decorating it how I like and spending more money than necessary on a book that matches the aesthetic of my coffee table.
Maybe I'll adopt a kitten, take a two-week trip to Europe or change jobs every six months. Maybe I'll drop everything to become a writer full-time (doubtful, because then how will I afford this fabulous life I'm planning?).
The point is, I can do anything. I'm not ready to settle down; I'm ready to work. I'm ready to jumpstart my career, network all that I can and put an absurd amount of hours into my job. I'm ready to live a crazy, busy, finely scheduled lifestyle. I'm ready to meet new people. I'm ready to travel. I'm ready to work.
So, in the words of Rory, "There are just a lot of things in my life right now that are undecided, which used to scare me. But now, I kind of like that it's all wide open."