The Rules of Engagement (or lack thereof)

Like most girls, I’ve been dreaming of my wedding since I got “married” on the playground in elementary school. I’ve picked out my ideal engagement ring, designed my perfect wedding dress, and planned my dream wedding. But, despite all of that, I’m twenty years old, and I can tell you right now engagement is not in my near future. Apparently, that is not the case for many other girls my age, one of those girls being my best and closest friend.

My best friend, whose name I won’t mention, called me on Monday to catch up. About 15 minutes into the phone call, she nonchalantly slipped in a little story about how she found out her boyfriend of four months took out a loan for a ring. “A ring?” I asked, slightly confused. “Yeah,” she casually replied, “an engagement ring.”

I was shocked. “Wait, has he proposed? Are you going to say yes? You’re going to get MARRIED?!” Even though I knew she had already decided that yes, she would accept his proposal, I hoped that hearing my questions might make her rethink her decision. She JUST turned 21; she hasn’t selected a major, much less thought of what she wants to do when she finishes school; and she has only known the guy for FOUR MONTHS!

I’m from the south, so I am all too familiar with the whole idea of settling down at a young age. But there is young, and then there is young. And my best friend is definitely the latter. I was sharing this story with one of my roommates and she brushed it off as no big deal, explaining all her close friends are engaged, before launching into a spiel of “poor me why am I not engaged.”

Here we are, barely old enough to drink, and some of our friends have one goal: get a ring on their finger before graduation… and some of them don’t even have a boyfriend yet! And all I’m thinking is, what’s the rush, ladies? We’re just getting used to living life on our own and still figuring out what we want in life. Shouldn’t we be enjoying this time as young, independent women before adding someone else into the equation?

Instead of setting deadlines for having a ring on our finger, we should be setting goals and deadlines about our careers, traveling, volunteering, meeting different types of people and discovering who we are. I’m not opposed to settling down at a young age, but just don’t give up on your personal dreams and aspirations, beyond the 2-carat Tiffany’s ring.