On Being Thirtysomething — and Being Ready

I turned 31 this past weekend – and I can’t imagine a better time to get married.

There was always a stigma in my family for those who were deemed “too young to marry.” When my cousin B got married at 28, that was all anybody in the family talked about – he’s so young. Why now? Can’t he wait? That seems to have been the prevailing wisdom in the late ’80s and throughout the ’90s, at least. Most people I knew (and basically, the only people I “knew” back then were family members) were waiting until their 30s to get married. When my other cousin, M, got married in her late 30s, she seems to have crossed that barrier between “just right” and “come on, all ready” – but even her path was more well-taken than B’s.

I don’t know precisely when the tides shifted. Maybe they never did – maybe my view of marriage has been skewed, nonexistent. But skimming the bios on Weddingbee, it seems that 30-something brides such as myself are in the minority.

For the record, I don’t believe there’s a “too soon” or a “too late.” I believe “just right” occurs when two people who can tolerate each other are emotionally ready to handle marriage – not just the pink high heels and lace-bordered stationery and great photography and yummy cupcakes of a wedding day, but an actual marriage, with warts and bumps and fights and silences and jealousy and hurt feelings and kids and burnt meals and debts and terminal illnesses and all. My role models growing up – my parents – were like that. They weathered it all, because they were ready when they got married. The fact that they were “over the hill” in the 1970s – in their late 20s – doesn’t have anything to do with them being ready. They just were.

But when I crossed 25, all my logic and understanding about “being ready” – and all my knowledge that I most certainly was NOT ready – went out the window, and I began wondering why I hadn’t yet found The One. Women younger than me were marrying left and right. Even those my same age or older had been with their partners since their early ’20s, it seemed. And as the years ticked by, I began wondering whether marriage was part of my journey. For a bit, that was fine. I had plenty of companionship in my friends. I didn’t want kids (I thought, at the time). I was terrible at relationships anyway.

But then I met Mr. Ladyfingers a mere two-and-a-half years ago, and my One had been found.

Turning 31 means a lot of things to me. Growing up, for whatever reason, I didn’t believe I’d ever reach adulthood. I was so pessimistic as a child – again, for no reason whatsoever – that I’d lay in bed hearing planes overhead and believe we were under attack. I thought the world would end before I was in my 20s, much less my 30s. I couldn’t fathom it.

In my early 20s, I believed that if I didn’t find Him by the time I was 25, I never would. And if I did, I’d meet him once I was too “old” to have children. Whatever that means.

In my late 20s, I once again believed I would never make it to my 30s. This was a combination of some crippling depression – a topic for another time, maybe – and some pretty shady life decisions that may have fulfilled my fears.

And now, at 31, that all seems a distant memory. I can picture 35, 40, and beyond. I now know I’ve found Him, whether we can have kids or not, whether we fight or not, whether things are perfect or not. And I’m going to marry Him – not just have a wedding with Him – in just over two months.

If I had been ready to do this when I was 21, I would have. If it had taken me until I was 41, it would have been worth it.

If you’re out of your 20s and just entering bridedom, how do your feelings today match up with your feelings of yesterday? What are your views on what entails being “ready” – and how did you know you were “ready”?

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One thought on “On Being Thirtysomething — and Being Ready

  1. I got married when I was still 24 (I was turning 25 merely 2 months after the numptials). I was ready because me and my husband had weathered a 2 year long distance relationship, some infedelity, and we worked through it all. We not only worked through it, we were adults about it all. There were fights but there was more talking through the problem than yellinh (my parents modeling the talking over yelling and I like it). I knew he was the one from the first moment he broke up with me in college. I remember telling my mom, whatever he can do what he wants.. he is the man I will marry. and sure enough 5 years later; I got my best bud for life.

    Now you mention being in your 30’s and being ready. Right now my sister is getting married. She will be a 30 year old bride. The problem is, I feel she is only getting married because of the number. I think the 30 is making her insane. So while she may be “ready” to be married, she is marrying out of desperation.. because she does not want to start over at 30. 😦 BUT I am being the supportive sister and you would never know I do not approve. 🙂

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