Everybody knows about peer pressure when you’re a kid. Smoking, drinking, wearing the right clothes (another reason I’m a big fan of uniforms), or what have you. What no one tells you when you’re fifteen is that doesn’t stop when you grow up. If anything, I’d say it gets worse. It’s just far less obvious.
All of my friends are married. The weddings started in 2009. I was in 3 weddings in 2 months at the end of 2009. The last wedding in our core group was September 2012. Most of the weddings started when we were 23 or 24. Five and six year anniversaries are coming and going. For those keeping score at home, Boy & I will have been together for 4 years in August. The husbands are pretty much universally older than the wives. Boy is 2 years younger than I am. My co-workers raise an eyebrow when I mention I’m not married and definitely not seriously considering children. We haven’t reached the point where we’re ready to take the plunge, jump the broom, stomp the glass, get hitched, or [insert metaphor for getting married here]. We’re still working on the not killing each other while living in a one bedroom apartment step.
The latent pressure is bound to pop up sooner or later. Of course, none of my friends would encourage getting married or having babies before you’re ready. There were a few babies who showed up when Mom and Dad definitely weren’t ready. Now round two is starting. I’ve watched my friends get pressured by their parents because they want grandbabies. If there’s one thing I can say about my parents, and thank them frequently for, is they’ve never once pushed us to get married. They certainly haven’t pushed us to have babies. I know 100% that I’m not ready to be someone’s mother. It bothers me when someone knocks another person’s life choices. You want to have 6 kids? Fantastic! Go for it! You don’t want to have kids? Wonderful! More power to you! You have kids, but don’t want to get married? Be my guest!
It doesn’t matter if it’s a classmate pushing you to smoke (something) or another adult giving you the side eye when you inform them that you don’t want / aren’t ready to head down the traditional path of getting married and having babies. That’s not their decision. If there’s one thing that Boy has worked into my head, it’s that I don’t have to do anything I don’t want to do. I spent far too long forcing myself to fit in. It wasn’t worth it. I look back and wish I had put my foot down. I tried something, didn’t like it, and that was that. Sometimes I still have a hard time standing my ground, especially if it’s someone I love. I’m lucky that the people I love rarely push me in a direction I’m not comfortable with. I may not always agree with their choices, but I will respect them. They may not always agree with mine, but I hope for the same respect in return.
Motivational Tidbit Takeaway: Don’t give in. Even if you feel like the whole world is sitting on you to do something, stick to your guns. You’ll be a hell of a lot happier if you do.