When I got engaged a lot of my family and friends were shocked.( For those of you that are wondering I'm now almost 19). People were polite and most of our family and friends were great about it! It meant so much to us everyone that was supportive and nurturing of our marriage. One friend I thought would absolutely flip out was actually really happy for us and proceeded to tell me that his grandparents had only been dating a few weeks when they got engaged. But even so some of our loved ones were taken aback.
I had friends say things like "aren't you scared?" "are you really ready mentally for this?" and of course "you're so young!". When you make a huge life choice like the one I made everyone has something to say about it. But when does an opinion cross the line from concern to choice-shaming.
Friends and strangers alike will tell you that you must be "this" age and have done "x,y, and z" to get married, have a baby, etc. and if you don't, well then you don't know the rules to life. You'll live a life of unhappiness and despair, you'll lose your mind, and end up on the news. Nothing but bad things will follow you if you don't use their step by step guide to life. They all think they have it figured out.
That's just it though. Sometimes they don't. There was a time when our world was thought to be flat. All it took was one person to challenge what that culture said to be true.
I believe that it is detrimental to the next generation to constantly put down other women for their choices. You don't have to agree or make the same choice, but no one asked us to make their choices. Apparently I missed the memo that said there's only one path.
It's also wrong to excuse yourself for criticizing someone by saying that person is a child. Calling someone else a child(just because they're 18 mind you) won't make you anymore adult or your opinion of anymore value. Of the people I have heard dismissing other people's choices most of them couldn't be more than 2 or 3 years older than the person they were criticizing. Unlike everything else people have put age requirements on, giving unhelpful opinions isn't one of them. Makes you think, huh?
I'm not saying that people should get married young like I did. It's just as irresponsible to push my beliefs on others. But like the quote says, when is your love real? At 30? At 17? I can't, and I won't put a number on something so important. My love is real when I know it's real. When I decide it doesn't matter to me what the mixed messages have to say.
Marriage is just one of those things that if it's truly meant to be no one can talk you into or out of it. As much as people want to believe they can.
People will tell you, you're losing your freedom, say goodbye to dating, what about all the other fish in the sea? What is the point of dating if once you find someone you want to be with forever you pass him up for sardines.
The truth of the matter is, people have become so involved in micro-managing the lives of others that they can't even see their own lives, the good and the bad. That says more about them than it does about us.
Here's the secret no one wants you to know....age is just a number. It can't measure maturity, love, stability, or anything of worth. It can't make your big life choices. And it can't keep you from getting your heart broken. I think that scares people to know that a choice you make at 18 can flourish just as much as a choice made at 38 can crash and burn.
Whatever choice you make, make it for you. Not for anyone else. And not from fear of the unknown, but from the heart.