There's been an article floating around Facebook over the past few weeks titled "23 Things to Do Instead of Getting Engaged Before You're 23".
As everyone is entitled to their own opinion, the author comments on how so many of her Facebook friends seem to be getting married at such a young age, and how this is not a good choice.
It's not a good choice because you're young, you haven't figured out who you are yet, the divorce rate is increasing and God forbid you contribute to this statistic...
Essentially, life ends with marriage at 23.
Now, in my opinion, there's nothing wrong with being single (and happy about it), but there's also nothing wrong with being engaged, married and/or committed at 23 (or younger). The real problem arises when we judge others' relationships and think: She's engaged so young -- there goes her life; O.M.G. he proposed to her, and they're 21 -- he must be insecure and afraid to take on the world by himself.
For many people, relationships have pushed individuals out of their comfort zone. Their partner has given them the courage they need to reach their goals and try something new.
As much as you should know and love yourself, and have the confidence to achieve things as an individual, is it really so wrong to have your own cheering section? Your parents, your best friend, your dog -- they're always there rooting you on, and I don't see anyone writing about why that's wrong. So, what's the problem with having a significant other on your team too?
And then at the end of the article there's the list -- the list of the 23 things you should be doing instead of getting engaged. It includes things like eating a whole jar of Nutella at once, having a Girls marathon, signing up for CrossFit...
What the eff?
I was ready for a list that would inspire me to pack up my life and start over, and I'm told I should put off marriage to eat Nutella and bake a cake? I was mildly disappointed to say the least.
Disappointed, but also inspired to create my own list. But here's the thing -- you don't need to complete them all before age 23, and you can be married, engaged, single, divorced. I just ask that you have a love for life and a desire to step out of your comfort zone. So here it is --
The 23 things you should just do.
1. Fall in love with yourself -- every wrinkle, stretch mark and pimple.
2. Get a degree/diploma/certificate/etc. in something you love, whether it's accounting, plumbing, environmental science...
3. Challenge your greatest fear. Heights? Do the edge walk. Spiders? Hold a tarantula.
4. Open a savings account and dedicate a certain percentage of each pay check to your savings.
5. Make as many best friends as possible.
6. Get up early on weekdays to learn how to be a morning person.
7. Having trouble finding a job in your field? Volunteer, intern... don't think you're above working for free if you're just starting out.
8. Learn a new language. Travel to a country where it's spoken and put your skills to the test.
9. Find a fitness routine you love for more than just the visual improvements.
10. Get lost in your schoolwork -- spend a term aiming for the Dean's List. Then do it again, and again, and again...
11. Buy a pet. Find enjoyment in training and raising it.
12. What's your skill? Perfect it, then enter competitions and contests to showcase your work.
13. Move into a new place for a fresh start. Search Pinterest for ideas on how to make it your own on a budget.
14. Rock a new hairstyle.
15. Find your soul mate (whether it's a dog, a man, a woman, a hobby).
16. Allow yourself to take a break and relax. Like, really relax.
17. Find a reason to enjoy every season -- learn to ski in the winter, puddle jump in the spring, hike in the fall.
18. Try a new food and use the experience as a conversation starter. Fried grasshopper anyone?
19. Hallmark holidays aren't that overrated -- embrace them and find a way to celebrate no matter what your personal situation may be. Dress up for themed karaoke on Halloween, have drunk brunch with old friends on Easter.
20. Treat yourself to a gift every so often. Spa days, new handbags and froyo are all acceptable and encouraged.
21. Call your parents on a regular basis.
22. Break a bad habit.
23. Most importantly, don't let a blog post tell you how to live your life. There's nothing wrong with being in love and committed to someone at 23.
(This version originally appeared on readunwritten.wordpress.com)
Katrina Owens is a third year Communications student at McMaster University in Ontario, Canada. She's passionate about all things PR, and takes pride in being a young and fashionable professional who can't live without a good yoga sesh. Katrina features her blog posts on Unwritten, and you can follow her on twitter at @KatrinaOwensPR.