Saturday, December 13, 2008

on marriage and children at twenty-three

have i been responsible enough these past five years after graduating high school? probably not. and one of the reasons i moved to oregon was to put off big responsibility just a little longer. i didn't want to go to graduate school. i didn't want to find a career. i didn't want to settle down. i remember seeing these guys in a band passing through birmingham in a bar one night, in the garage i think, and i remember thinking, "how does that feel, moving across the country staying where ever there's a place to sleep, seeing the strange bits of america that not a lot of people get to see?" i'd never been able to be so completely free of responsibility. and i still am not. i have a job now. i have an apartment. i have no plans to move. i want to see how my life here in portland develops for a while, so long as i have a job.

and moving across the country, settling back into a routine, i realized i'm just not the type of person who likes an unstructured life. i like routine. i like having a plan and direction. and here in portland i think there are types of freedom i was missing in birmingham, but i've kind of found a similar life here across the country. however, despite my acknowledgment that i'm done with believing i can be irresponsible and wild, there are certain steps that seem so remote to me.

first of all, marriage. people getting married absolutely scare me. even if the relationship seems to work wonderfully and marriage seems to be a natural progression for the couple, the idea of marriage seems so remote to me. i just look at couples announcing their engagement and think, "but i'm too young!" i feel as if i have miles to go before i'm anywhere near ready settling down with another person. and this may stem from the fact that i've never really had a long term relationship with anyone, but such commitment seems to belong to an age group i have not reached yet. having said all this, congratulations and best wishes to those couples who have announced their engagements in the past few weeks. i'm so happy for all my friends getting married, i'd just like to say, i'm far from that point.

second, children scare me. not the actual children. i really do love children. but the idea of taking care of one scares me. hell, when josh goes out of town in two weeks to visit his family for christmas, he needs me to take care of his dog. the prospect of this seems daunting. i haven't had anyone except my beloved feline genevieve rely on me to take care of them. and genevieve was low maintenance. she didn't need to be walked. i didn't have any time frame in which i needed to be home. i just needed to play with her and feed her and she slept with me at night. but i'll have to get up earlier than usual and feed josh's dog and walk her; come home after work to walk with her again. and if i go out, i'll need to make sure not to stay out too long so that she can be walked again before going to bed. this is just a dog. children need far more attention, a lot more care. there are a lot of pregnant women in my office, with husbands or boyfriends, with children already, my age or younger, degree-less, and i think: how can you do this? how can you come to work pregnant everyday and be willing to give up so much time in your early twenties and most importantly, how can you afford having a child working this job? i can barely afford to live without anyone relying on me.

all i'm saying is that while sometimes i feel old and boring, too responsible in comparison to the twenty-somethings who drink and go out and party and go crazy, i still feel way too young for marriage and children.

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