Today as I was scrolling through Facebook while killing some time before class I came across an article that sparked my interest. I won’t say who wrote this article or what site it can be found on, as my goal is not to call anyone out or start any controversy, but I will say that after getting less than half way through it I was pretty disappointed. The objective of this article was to advise young adults of mistakes they shouldn’t make in their 20′s. Turning twenty this year, I thought that maybe I could learn something from this article. To say I was wrong would be an understatement.
There were a number of little things I disagreed with, but the one thing that really shocked me was when the author of the article stated that you should avoid falling in love in your twenties. Here’s a sample of what I read:
Not only does it make you complacent with where you are in life, but it makes you boring. When your business is at stake and your future is resting on your shoulders, the last thing you need is to be bogged down by an insecure lover rushing you home.
The author goes on to write about testing limits and how just because some of your friends are doing it, you shouldn’t fall into the “trap of a relationship”. So I naturally jumped to three possible conclusions: 1.) This guy has had a really bad relationship, 2.)This guy watches too many sitcoms, or 3.) This guy just isn’t ready for a serious relationship.
If the author of this article is not in a place in his life where he wants to settle down and have a serious relationship that’s totally okay. Good for him! However, what’s not okay is saying that if you fall in love in your 20′s you’re falling into a trap. Curious to see if I was the only one that was bothered by this I skipped the rest of the article and read the comments, and saw I was not the only one who was less than satisfied with what looked to be a promising post. A lot of the comments complained about it being sexist, which I guess in a way it could be, but my reason behind writing this post is not fueled by any feminist angst. It runs just a bit deeper than that.
My parents got married when my dad was 24. My in-laws got married when they were in their twenties. My fiancé and I know plenty of couples who are married and in their twenties. In fact, every Saturday night I attend a group that is exclusively for couples who are engaged or have been married seven years or less, and believe it or not a good number of these couples were married in their twenties. You know what’s even crazier? I’m engaged and I’m only nineteen! So obviously, all of these relationships I’ve listed are boring and restrictive to one or both spouses, right?
Wrong. So, very wrong.
Not everyone should get married in their twenties. Not everyone wants to get married in their twenties. So they shouldn’t, and that’s okay. But what isn’t okay is to write an article that attempts to act as a guideline for twenty-something’s everywhere. In fact, it’s not okay to write anything that attempts to speak on behalf of anyone. My concern isn’t just with this article alone, my concern is with my generation letting others speak for them. Every day on Facebook I see at least one link to an article or blog post with a title along the lines of “10 things short girls hate” or “8 questions people of mixed ethnicity are tired of hearing”. People my about my age and younger gobble these things up, they can’t get enough of them. I’m just as guilty as anyone else, because obviously I was reading this article about twenty year olds for something. Every time I see a post like this that I think I might relate to, I read it. Yet, I’ve found that while these articles can sometimes be entertaining, and on occasion have something I can relate to in them, more often than not I find myself disagreeing with the author.
So why do we read this stuff? The bottom line is that people like knowing that they are not alone. We as individuals like knowing that there are people we can relate to and that our way of thinking isn’t totally wrong. We need some type of reassurance, and these articles give us exactly the sense of belonging we’re looking for. At first this isn’t really a problem, it’s perfectly natural. But what we don’t realize (what I didn’t realize until about two hours ago) is that what these types of posts and articles do is allow someone else to speak for us. And when we do that, we start to lose are sense of individuality and with that we lose our voice. We see a post that kinda-sorta relates to us and are so quick to click like, share, reblog, etc. that we don’t even realize that we are letting someone else speak for us. And this really boggles my mind because my generation, “Generation Y”, claims to be all about individuality and being different. On top of that, we are blessed with so much technology that allows us to do just that: to put our thoughts out there, give our opinions, and speak for ourselves. So why let someone else speak for us?
The author of the article I mentioned at the beginning of this post is not a bad writer. I’m sure that a lot of people probably agree with the things he said. I’m not trying to say that he’s a bad person because he shared his opinion, I applaud him for that. What I want more than anything is for people to have the courage to speak for themselves. To open up and share their ideas and thoughts with the world in a way that is unique to them. Sure, it’s a lot more comfortable and way easier to sit back and let someone else do the talking for us. But do you want to be comfortable, or do you want to be heard?