On figuring it all out.

Dear Coquette,

I’m right in the middle of prime-time wedding age. At least three of my friends are engaged, and several co-workers and former classmates are also hitching up. My boyfriend and I have been together about four and a half years, yet I know we’re nowhere near ready for marriage. In spite of this acknowledgement, I can’t help but feel jealous of those getting married. Not so much for the wedding, but because I do want to marry my boyfriend, and I want to be at that point in our lives together. How do I come to terms with my life moving at its proper pace and not think that I’m being “left behind”? And what should I do about the pangs of jealousy I feel whenever wedding talk comes up?

You’ve been in a relationship for nearly half a decade with a man you know you want to marry, smack dab in the middle of prime-time wedding age. So, how exactly are you nowhere near ready for marriage?

It sounds to me like you’re ready as hell, but you’re suffering from a raging case of cognitive dissonance brought on by the simple fact that your boyfriend hasn’t popped the question.

Yeah, yeah. You’ve got a million reasons to explain why he hasn’t proposed, and they all seem very real to you. You’re convinced that it’s not feasible, that life has a “proper pace,” and that you’re not yet at the right point in your lives together. That’s all bullshit.

Quit fooling yourself. You’re envious of your engaged friends because they have something you want, and what you want is a fiancé. It’s perfectly okay to want that — most girls still do — but you need to be willing to admit it to yourself without all the excuses.

You are ready. If your boyfriend isn’t, then deal with it. If he can’t afford a ring, then wear a Cracker Jack prize. If a wedding doesn’t make sense right now, then enjoy a long engagement, but whatever you do, stop pretending that you’re not ready.

I’m 22 years old, and there is no sense in me being married. But when you’re about to witness three separate friends propose in the same season, you’ve been to two weddings already, and the amount of weddings you’ve been to for peers is already unreasonably high, do you just accept it and consider these occasions as parties or is it a sign to start figuring life out?

Whatever you do, don’t confuse getting married in your early 20s with figuring your life out. Contrary to what you’ve been taught about adulthood, those two things have very little to do with one another.

In fact, the part they never tell you growing up is that you’ll never figure your life out — not really — so by all means, party your face off while you’re still 22, especially at all your friends’ weddings.

I might have a chance to get a full-time job doing what I love, but if I take it, I won’t be able to finish college right now. I honestly can’t tell which is more important, finishing my degree, or employment in a field I adore.

Will forgoing a degree prevent you from future advancement in your chosen profession? If not, take the job and don’t look back. If so, you should still take the job, but just be prepared to go back and finish up your degree if necessary.

Bottom line, you’d be an idiot not to take the job.


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