The Day My Facebook (& My Life) Went From Bacchanals to Bridal Showers: A Modern Tale of Growing Up

A few days ago, I had a conversation with a male friend about the weird transitional time we both are finding ourselves in: the time in life when everyone, and I mean EVERYONE, is getting engaged, married, and procreating. At 27, he seemed astonished that I, at 24, already had so many friends entering into the everlasting bonds of holy matrimony. “I mean, I understand it at my age since I’ve been out of school longer and a little closer to thirty,” he said, “but this is already happening to you?” I gave a solemn nod. He replied with what I can only describe as a mixture of sympathy and horror.

Bluto's fb page would have been legendary

Bluto’s fb page would have been legendary

There was a time when my Facebook newsfeed was a hive of raucous, questionable behavior; everywhere I looked, friends were hoisting high their red solo cups of glory, chugging their lives away as if there was no tomorrow. Outrageous costumes and blurry photos dominated my networks. It was like ancient Rome or something.

I don’t know exactly how it happened, but one day, my newsfeed turned from bacchanals to bridal showers. Singles nights to sonograms. My world has gone completely topsy-turvy, and I’m not sure I like it.  I suppose it’s the natural order of things, but what, anymore, really IS “natural”? Am I missing something? At 24, I’m being left in the dust of everyone’s mad dash to the altar. In New York, this is not such a big deal, but back where I come from, my being single is a point of conversation and sometimes condescension (mostly amongst the older generations; people my age couldn’t care less).

I never cared much about dating in high school (though my journals and correspondence with some of my BFFs might contest that), and the few boyfriend/relationship-y situations I got myself into during those mixed up teen years were…well, teenaged.  I certainly didn’t date anyone in college due to a slim selection of heterosexual boys in my department (and on campus period).  I was the straight-A student, the overachiever, always working hard and dreaming of being a successful actress.  I’ve never planned my “dream wedding,” choosing colors or thinking about where I’d have it.  I always planned out my dream career: choosing roles to play and directors/actors I’d want to work with. I never thought that wasn’t normal…until now.

I'm an outsider just like Ponyboy.  We're both just trying to stay gold.

I’m an outsider just like Ponyboy. We’re both blonde, pensive people who enjoy staring off into the distance while quoting poetry.

I’ve probably been an outsider (just call me Ponyboy!) my whole life in that way and didn’t realize it until I started seeing large, sparkly diamonds on all the left hands of my female classmates and friends.

Now, I’m not begrudging any of these people their happiness; I’m truly excited for them. They’re starting a whole new journey in their lives, and that’s something awesome for sure. I welcome any chance to celebrate more love being brought to the world.  And I definitely have a blast at weddings!  I’ve yet to find myself feeling miserable and sullen during one just because I’m single; on the contrary, I see weddings as a chance to have fun, drink free liquor (if you have a cash bar at your wedding, I’m not coming; shell out the extra dough for an open bar please), eat cake, dance, and hang out with my friends.  I just have never thought about MY life the way some of my friends think about theirs.  To each their own, you know?  I suppose my priorities are different, and I also haven’t met someone with whom I desire to share all my precious time.  I can’t imagine being married right now; I still feel like a kid a lot of the time, and my finances are all over the place, and I’m not even sure I’m the person I’m supposed to be yet.  How could I possibly devote my life to someone when I don’t even know what I’m doing with it yet?  And don’t even bring up the idea of me having a child before I’m in my thirties.

(I have nightmares of being the kind of parent who’s forever immortalized in all my kid’s Spielberg-ian films as the inspiration for their characters’ “mommy-issues.” In reality, I don’t think I’d actually be like that, but indulge me, please.)

Somewhere, I read the quote, “comparison is the thief of joy,” and it is.  I’m the worst.  I have a competitive streak and self-worth issues, and if I think for a second I’m behind the rest of the world somehow or not doing enough to be seen as “worthy” or “valuable,” I try to do everything I can to catch up and change how I think people perceive me.  It’s not healthy, and I know it, but it’s always going to be something with which I struggle.  And while I use self-deprecating humor as a cover for a lot of my darker, more maligned feelings, I can’t always convince myself that there isn’t something wrong with me somehow because the rest of the world is pairing off, and I’m here on my own (cue Les Mis moment).

I'm not crying because I'm single; I'm crying because Russell Crowe's voice is le miserable.

I’m not crying because I’m single; I’m crying because Russell Crowe’s voice is le miserable.

This is, of course, just my raging Woody Allen-esque neuroses coming out.  In Hannah and Her Sisters, he’s a hypochondriac who thinks he’s dying of various things.  I, on the other hand, am a hypochondriac about love. “Am I gonna catch it?  What do I do if I catch it?  Why haven’t I caught it?  What’s wrong with me? WHAT’S WRONG WITH ME?!  I should have had it by now, right?  What does it feel like?  How do I know when I’ve got it?” I guess I think that if I fret about it enough, I’ll catch love like you do a cold; in my head, it has become a psychosomatic syndrome.

And I do hope you don’t think I’m complaining because in all actuality, I’m not.  Not to mention it’s horribly unoriginal to be a twenty-something female living in New York complaining about her lack of significant other.  I suppose what all this nonsense boils down to is I’m just not used to the idea of aging yet.  As I see so many friends starting to plant roots and seeds for new phases of their lives, I’m realizing I will never be this young again; life changes you.  You think you know that, but until you start experiencing those changes, you don’t…not really.  Someday, I’m going to put down my own roots, and it’s going to be scary and exciting and will make some of my younger friends feel the way I do right now about my older friends.  And there is nothing wrong with you if you’re in your twenties and still single.  Conversely, there is nothing wrong with you if you are in your twenties and married/engaged/with child.  Live your life, because the fact is, it’s YOUR life.  Judge not lest ye be judged, people.  You’re the one who has to live your life, so don’t let anyone make you think for a second that however you choose to live it is not valuable or worthwhile just because it’s not how THEY chose to live theirs.

So my Facebook newsfeed no longer looks like a hive of alcohol-soaked debauchery.  So what?  The Roman Empire didn’t last forever.  I can’t promise MY posts will be any tamer for a while, but that’s where I am in my life, and I won’t apologize for it.  The beauty of life is that it can change in a second; it’s dealing with the change that’s the hardest (but most rewarding) part.

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7 Comments

  1. Yes, I think we are sister-blogs, and no it is not a bad thing! I relate to this so much. I actually wrote a post with a similar theme at age 25 when I attended my first friend-wedding. I’m lucky because having San Francisco as a hometown raises the average marriage-age of my friends. But the whirl wind has certainly commenced. In this day of Facebook feeds, where our lives are so broadcasted, it’s harder than ever to not compare than ever before. That quote “comparison is the thief of joy” is perfect. Thank you for sharing this.

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  2. I only just recently turned 20, and I feel this exact same way. I’m not sure if it’s due to the small town I live in where there’s virtually nothing to do and that leads to… procreation, but SO MANY PEOPLE from my graduating class have since gotten engaged/married/pregnant (or a combination of all 3) and it seems to be all that I see on Facebook. I totally agree with newyorkcliche that a lot of it probably has to due with the fact that we find out EVERYTHING going on in other peoples lives thanks to Facebook. Before, it was all happening but you’d only really know about your CLOSEST friends. Now it’ll be everyone you went to high school with.

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  3. I hear you. First it was hands with diamond rings all over my Facebook page, now it’s pictures of newborns. I had to start customizing my newsfeed to show less of certain people because infants aren’t my thing right now. And having just gotten off a world wind trip through wedding ville with seven weddings this year, I’m hearing more “let’s get pregnant together” conversations. No thanks.

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  4. I can definitely relate to this feeling. I’m in a bit of a weird spot- I was one of the FIRST people in my HS class/college to get married…but now we’re one of the very last people who do NOT have kids. So we’re just in this weird middle period. I can honestly say I LOVE being married, and it hasn’t held me back in any way. But me & my hubby have some more growing to do, both as individuals and as a couple, before we are going to (voluntarily) add a tiny uncivilized human to the package! It’s weird how everyone feels their own pressure- someone else was talking about how now after having ONE kid people won’t stop asking when they’ll have another one. I guess no matter where you are, there will always be pressure to move on to the “next step,” whatever that is. Being happy where you are is definitely not given it’s due credit!

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  5. I think once you get into your twenties you really do see everyone taking their paths and reaching “milestones” at different ages. I’ve got the same problem with competitiveness, but I don’t think I want marriage or babies now (or ever). It’s weird.

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  6. I’m in total agreement with all of you! Aging is a weird thing, and no one really can prepare you for what it feels like until you realize it’s actually happening to you. I think it’s the swiftness of it that caught me by surprise. I’m just trying to enjoy the journey in all its beauty and weirdness; take each day as it comes. And it helps knowing that I’m not alone in feeling excited and scared about the future. My wish is for everyone to savor each precious moment and not rush themselves into the next one, pressure or no pressure. Carpe diem and do what’s best for YOU! I make it a point of supporting anything that makes another person or friend happy whether that be engagement, marriage, babies, living the single life, or career (or everything).

    Reply

  7. […] 8 – To quote Ferris Bueller, “Life moves pretty fast.  If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”  Ever feel like literally EVERYONE you know is getting engaged, married, or having babies?  Yeah, me too.  The Day My Facebook (& My Life) Went From Bacchanals to Bridal Showers: A Modern Tale of Growing… […]

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