For all of my conscience, adult life, I’ve felt like your garden variety millennial, afraid of commitment – avoiding it altogether – wanting the freedom to quit my job, partner and responsibilities and to try something new at a moment’s notice, wanting to experience it all – but safely under the protection of my mother’s health insurance. (Thanks, Obama!)
My love life was no exception: even when I fell into a serious relationship five years ago, it always came with an out. My boyfriend and I would make plans for, say, next summer, before we both would grow awkward, quiet, and agree to wait a while before buying those concert tickets or planning that trip.
“Who knows if we’ll still be together?” one of us would admit.
Each important holiday, birthday, anniversary that passed without some larger display of commitment would come as a relief to us both. We were blissfully both on the same page: this is fun, and I love you, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves.
Now, don’t get me wrong: we loved the crap out of one another. But why fix what isn’t broken? Not to mention, marriage is for ADULTS, and I’m not one of those quite yet. I forever still feel like a giant baby, masquerading as an adult in big girl pants and heels. (For real, can everyone tell I’m new at this?)
Plus, it’s 2016! I have a liberal arts education! I’m socially obligated to go through a period of critical investigation of social structures. Do I even believe in the institution of marriage? Shouldn’t I figure out my life before bringing someone else onto the team?
Who truly knows why I felt this fear of commitment throughout college and the start of my 20s? What chemical imbalance or social influence made it so hard to wrap my head around the idea that people can think other people are so great that they want to spend all their time together? And make decisions around that other person’s life? And share a room and all their stuff?!
In my own relationship, I would constantly text my partner in amazement: Isn’t it crazy that we’re ~*~ in love ~*~ ?! Who does that?!
I don’t know for sure why this all changed: maybe one too many sappy movie dates with my boyfriend or too many episodes of Jane the Virgin (#teammichael) got to me. Yet, one day, as we talked about our mutual love of Sufjan Stevens, I thought, “You know, I could do this forever!”
As that thought settled in throughout the day, I realized that I didn’t just mean maintaining our current status quo: I meant I could marry him! And I didn’t feel it in some far-off way that I’d maybe considered before. I meant like right-freakin-now-go-out-and-buy-a-ring-and-carry-it-around-until-the-perfect-moment real. For God’s sakes, I started a note in my phone about what we could name our kids one day!
HOW ABSURD IS THAT?
Well, actually not that absurd. It kind of makes sense. A little.
Every day is like waking up and getting to do my favorite thing. Even just binge-watching The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt together is better than hanging out with almost any of my friends. (Sorry!) My boyfriend knows things I’ll like and always shares them with me. Hell, I spent an entire month’s pay on concert tickets just to be sure he can finally see Kendrick Lamar live. He’s my person!
Since college, we’ve had to make human life decisions together, and nobody died! It’s been awesome, deciding to live together and to move to a new city for a job. It’s not as easy as it seems on TV to make your life revolve around another person, but I’m learning how to compromise and how to sometimes take a backseat.
I’m aware that it certainly sounds like we have some of the hallmarks of adulthood. Yet, I can’t shake the feeling that aliens have taken over my brain and made me a new person. I used to make fun of people like me! And now, I’m the loser posting sappy Instagrams about his Valentine’s Day surprises.
Whether or not I can hold the phone and stop judging myself for 30 seconds, I know deep down that I have grown and that this is a good call. Everyone has always said, “When you know, you know!” and though I certainly didn’t know right away, I’m pretty damn sure now.
Featured Image via Jakubowski Foto.