Dear twenty-one year old Lauren,
Do you know what’s happening in this picture? Aside from the panic attack you are not-so-obviously having, you’re on one of your very first dates with your future husband. I don’t really know why the two of you thought it would be a good idea to take a picture together immediately, but I guess it all worked out, didn’t it?
Right now though, you probably don’t feel like it’s all working out. You’ve only been dating for a few months, and a few months later, you’ll already be engaged. Remember when you used to think people who ‘moved too quickly’ were crazy?
Yeah well, now you’re one of them.
It’s funny, because you always knew you wanted to get married. You wanted to get married, buy a dog, live in a little house, and write. Now, at 25, you’re well on your way to that dream.
But even though you knew what you wanted; even though you knew you just wanted to settle down; you were still scared. You finally got what you wanted – a great guy, your best friend, who loves you as much as you love him.
But sometimes, you can’t help but let all those conflicting messages you’ve heard all of your life creep into your head. The messages that tell you that your marriage will never last if you get married “too young.” The messages that tell you marriage is like pressing pause on your life. The messages that tell you that you’re desperate if you’re young and want a serious relationship. The messages that tell you that you’ll never truly “experience life” as a married person.
But you overcome your fears and doubts. You hold on to what you know you want, ignoring the Buzzfeed articles and blog posts warning you that you’re about to make “the biggest mistake of your life.”
Dear young me, you overcome all your biggest fears for what seems like the very first time in your life. And you get married. And you know what, you have your happily ever after!
You learn that marriage is hard, just like everyone told you it would be. You learn that navigating serious mental health issues is twice as hard when another person is now intimately involved in your life. You learn that your needs, wants, and dreams are no more or less important than your husband’s. You’ll learn sacrifice and selflessness like you’ve never experienced before.
But you’ll also have more fun than you’ve ever had before. You’ll have a “forever sleepover” with your best friend. You’ll adopt your very own dog, and you’ll play board games late at night, and you’ll make new friendships as a couple, and enjoy old ones together too.
You will have absolutely no idea what you’re getting into, but so far, you’re making it. You’re doing it. And if I do say so myself, the two of you are doing pretty well.