Modern Women
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Modern Women

I’m Not Ready To Grow Up

Everyone is moving forward without me

Hand reaching out at the horizon
Photo by Bohdan Pyryn on Unsplash

Last year on my 25th birthday, my mom told me that this is the age when everyone starts getting married, having kids, and buying houses. I didn’t think about it much. Most of my friends were in relationships but not getting married, no one was pregnant, and only one had a house.

Now, I am on the brink of turning 26 and am a bridesmaid in three weddings this year while attending four. So far. My mom was right. This is the age where everyone starts getting married and moving forward.

Now, I have more friends engaged, owning homes, or planning on these steps than friends that are not doing any of these things. While I am happy for my friends, I can’t help but feel a bit sad.

Recently, I ventured to Texas to go wedding-dress shopping with one of my longest friends. We met in middle school. Now, we are picking out her wedding dress. That weekend was fun, but I left that weekend feeling sad.
Where was I going to fit in? I realized that those days of girls’ weekends, going out to clubs, or being the most important people in each other’s lives are coming to an end. I am not planning on getting married, I don’t want to buy a house, and I don’t want children, so what am I doing?

Two kids looking out at the ocean
Photo by Torsten Dederichs on Unsplash

Peter pan syndrome

Recently I was texting a close friend (yes, I am in her wedding this year) and told her about my panic when my boyfriend recently brought up getting married. I am not ready at all. I sent her a text saying, “I am not ready to grow up.” That’s when it really hit me. All of this sadness and anxiety I have been feeling is because growing up is hard. It’s painful. Watching people you have been close to for years move on in their lives is both happy and sad.

I don’t think we talk enough about the grief of growing up. I look at my friends and remember all those sleepovers, parties, and vacations with each other. Now, I watch those same people having all these fun experiences with their partners. When this phase of life starts happening, you slowly realize that seeing your friends will be more difficult. Especially once everyone moves away, has homes, and has kids. It’s going to take a lot more effort.

Am I alone in feeling nostalgic about the past? Is it okay to grieve and be happy for them as well? Am I a shitty friend if I admit that watching those around me move on, hurts a little?

Feeling left out

When you get to this age where everyone around you is moving on to these next phases of life, I think it’s natural to feel left out. All my conversations seem to revolve around weddings, house hunting, and the possibility of kids in the future. But, I have nothing to add. I could say, ‘oh my apartment that I am renting needs fixing but the landlord hasn’t shown up’ Or ‘Hey, I know you really want children but I just got my tubes tied!’

It feels like those around me don’t care about what is going on in my life. How do I tell someone who is getting married that I had a panic attack because my boyfriend brought up marriage? Is it okay that I would rather go on a vacation with my friends than spend all of my time with my significant other? Is it okay that I don’t want to buy a house because I don’t know where I want to settle down yet?

I think that when you are constantly around people who are at different stages in life, it can make you feel bad about yourself. Why should I feel sad for not being engaged? I don’t even want to get married. I look up Zillow listings for houses because everyone else is buying a house. But I am planning on moving again in a year or two.

It can be hard to keep your own sense of self during these years as everyone else is telling you to be at a different place in your own life.

My life is valid

The hardest part about this age is constantly feeling like you’re falling behind. It’s almost impossible to not feel that way. When someone I know has enough money for a house, I cannot help but think, how? I look at my student debt and negative net worth and wonder am I doing something wrong? I decide to not get married and am told that I am crazy and everyone wants to get married. Am I just not emotionally mature enough? Is something wrong with me?

Then, I look at all that I have done. I have a great job and work for a great company. I got a raise I went to Saint-Tropez for vacation last year. I have friends around the world who I can visit. I bought a new car. All of these accomplishments are valid. These are things that make me happy in life.

Your mid-to-late twenties are a weird time. It feels like a race. There’s a lot of change and a lot of grief. But I need to remember, my life is valid. The way I live my life is okay and I don’t need to keep up with the Jones’.

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Corie D'Haene

Corie D'Haene

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Content Specialist with a dash of writer. Always moving forward. Buy me a coffee: https://ko-fi.com/coriewankenobi