So Basically: All at once

Imminent responsibility looms larger when our friends dive into long-term commitment.

By Kayleigh Voss

I forgot to write this article when I was supposed to. I forgot to get rid of the milk in my fridge before I left for the weekend and now it’s expired. I forgot to set an alarm last Thursday and ended up skipping two out of my three classes.

I forget a lot of things.

I wouldn’t ever call myself responsible, which is OK by me, because adults are responsible and “adult” is a title I obstinately reject. I’m not ready yet for the adult world: a real job, a real house, real bills to pay without my mom’s help. Filing taxes. Maybe a spouse, maybe children, maybe PTA meetings and soccer games. Please, God, no.

I know that eventually, I probably will fall into the trap of adulthood, and it will likely be a very ordinary adulthood, filled with these things that I hate the thought of now. But I’m only 20 years old, so I have time to pretend I won’t ever reach that point. A lot of time. Right?

I’ve had the same best friend since I was in third grade; we met on the school bus. She got engaged in December of last year and her wedding is this June. I’m her maid of honor. My friend is 18 years old; her fiancé is 20.

Reactions have been varied. My family was shocked. My mom asked me if I thought I would get married soon too—I guess she thought this was an indication that people were getting married younger these days. People my age tend to be amused, but concerned about the reality of the situation and the chances this will work out. I can understand the concern—my friend and her fiancé had only been dating for about seven months before they got engaged. Neither of them has graduated college yet or has a real job. And the fact that they are both from rural Alabama tends to elicit a knowing look. Mostly I know people are thinking she’s pregnant, or stupid, or both. She’s neither, actually. She’s one of the most capable people I’ve ever known.

And yet, I’m terrified. How can they know, or think they know, that they’re ready to spend the rest of their lives together? Isn’t there some element of doubt, of fear? They’re going to get married, and get an apartment, and live together—and be together—and stay together—nearly all the time. How can someone know when they’re ready for that level of commitment? Especially someone like me—and I think there are a lot people like me—who can barely decide what to eat for breakfast.

More than that, how can they just dive headlong into all the things I want to put off indefinitely? All that responsibility, all at once. Suddenly they have to take care of themselves, or of each other. Not that their families are abandoning them—but the marriage is symbolic of the breaking point, the moment when the children are adults and the parents are asked to step aside. I value my independence, but am I ready to publicly declare myself totally and fully responsible? Definitely not. So, yes, I’m scared to see my friend do that.

At the same time, I am overwhelmed by the sheer inevitability of the whole thing. I knew when they started dating that they’d end up married. I saw it coming. And I knew when she said she had some big news that they were engaged. And I knew when she called me in the beginning of May that it would be about having the wedding as soon as possible. And I kind of know why, too.

It’s going to happen and there isn’t any escaping it. This marriage is certain. Maybe a divorce is certain, too. It’s too early to tell, I guess. But they’re going to try. No point putting the wedding off until they’ve graduated college. No point beating around the bush. They’re getting married because they were meant to be, or they believe they are, and somehow that seems like the same thing to me. They’re diving into the deep end of adulthood, and while it’s not something I could or would or maybe even should do, at least they won’t be doing it alone.

Meanwhile, I have to send out bridal shower invitations and find shoes to match my dress. My best friend is getting married. It’s weird and a little surreal—I didn’t think we’d reach this point so soon—but it’s not really unexpected and not any more unexplainable than anything else. I’m afraid, but I’m happy, which is probably how they feel, too. Even with all the things that might go wrong, a lot of things had to go right to get them to this point. That counts for something.

Kayleigh Voss is the blogger behind So Basically. She is a second-year in the College.