I come from a much different generation than my parents. When they were my age, their expectations seemed to be based in a more stable and simple way of life — go to school, get married, find a job with benefits, and pop out a few rugrats. But somewhere along the line, the baby boomers realized it just wasn’t that easy and thus began what I like to call “Le divorce coup d’etat.” In the ’80s, it just seemed like everyone’s parents were headed for splitsville. The American dream was out of style, truckin’ down the same path as jelly shoes and acid-wash jeans.
The main reason I think that generation ended up setting such a high divorce rate for the rest of us is because, like their parents, they married young, but unlike them, they were encouraged to find their own identity through the nonconformist ideals of the ’60s. So they married before they were even 20, but continued the journey of discovering themselves — which leads to some disappointing realizations when one signs on for a lifetime commitment. You’d think my contemporaries would’ve learned something from their mistakes.
I’m surprised by how many people I know who got married when they were barely of drinking age. I just can’t imagine what kind of mindset it would entail to take that step when your brain isn’t even fully developed yet. Being 27 now, I can honestly say I was a completely different person five years ago. Your 20s are about, as cliché as it sounds, finding yourself, and hence the generation I belong to: The Twixters. Among our tendencies to job-hop and party like we’re still in college, we also don’t marry because it’s the thing to do — we marry when we’re good and ready, and for most of us, that wouldn’t even be until we’re well into our 30s. It comes down to us being too goddamn selfish, but at least we have enough sense to recognize it and not make anyone else the brunt of our issues … well, except for our parents.
That being said, of course I’m not surprised that most my friends who did marry young have been or are getting divorced. I have no health insurance, barely pay my bills on time, and still watch cartoons to this day — just imagine my immaturity at the same age that these people were getting hitched. Why in the world are kids taking the walk down the aisle? I blame MTV. Seriously, have you checked out that display of human embarrassment lately? OK, I admit I watch it obsessively, but I also like licking the tops of 9-volt batteries. Their message seems to be “look young and nubile, but party like an adult.” Drink, dance, screw, birth, marry, divorce … before you know it, you’re Britney Spears and living the American nightmare!
I can see where it might seem that I’m anti-marriage, but trust me, I’m not. I can name more beautiful marriages between the people I love in my life than ugly ones. But those successful unions took time, years of dating, and major leaps in maturity. Once I outgrow my Twixter period, even I would consider marriage. I’m just not settling for K-Fed.