Tuesday, November 11, 2008


At lunch yesterday, I read an article in McPaper...er...USA Today...about the ideal age for first marriage.

It was full of all sorts of statistics on the age of people when they are first married – who are more likely to fail, to succeed, to have a cohesive marriage or to end up divorced.

The median age at marriage is now the oldest since the U.S. Census started keeping track in the 1890s: almost 26 for women and almost 28 for men.

Here I am. Past my damn prime.

I remember when kids I went to high school with started getting married. At 21 or 22, we all shook our heads when we heard. “Are they insane?” we’d ask one another. “Is she pregnant?” It was outside of the norm. They were the strange ones.

And then something changed – we started graduating from college and getting jobs and buying houses – and the news was no longer so strange. “Good for her,” I say. “Do I know the guy she married?”

There is this one boy – bulky and awkward and so sweet – that I had gone to school with since elementary school. We were friends in high school but never bothered keeping in touch. It happens.

I heard that he was married. A wife and a kid. When I expressed my shock to my mother, she gently pointed out that I was at That Age. That I shouldn’t be surprised. That it was really quite normal.

And maybe that I’m the odd one.

(In my defense – my shock was really based around this particular husky, awkward, sweet boy, not all of my contemporaries.)

The article quoted a study in which they asked young adults and their parents about the best age to marry. That is something that I haven’t ever bothered to determine. I have never set a timeline for myself. Maybe it’s because I know I’ll marry the first slob who proposes. Maybe it is because I am far too aware that the prospects are so bleak that I would rather not identify an ideal age, as it is far too likely that I’ll surpass that age on my plummet into Old Maidhood. Maybe I’m afraid that, if I set an age, I’ll just jinx myself. (For the record, the young adults who were studied said 25, while their parents said 26).

I sent my work BFF Ashley the article. She’s nine months older than I am. And she is sitting in the same boat (we’ll call it the S.S. Pathetic).

Her response made me smile.

“Who ever said we were average though, really?”

It’s true.

They are numbers. I am not.


Anonymous said...

I swear they publish this same article every couple of years to scare twentysomething girls. It's crap. You will meet someone when you are ready and open to it. I met my current boyfriend when I was 30, I'm 33 now. We may get married, or we my not. It doesn't matter. You seem like a good person and I hate to think of you worrying over these articles! (Because I know I did for no reason!)

my life is brilliant said...

I like the way your BFF thinks!

And you most certainly are not past your prime!

Courtney said...

I have to ask - did the newspaper really report on the ideal age for a FIRST marriage? As if to imply you should be having more than one??

Seems you shouldn't be giving a whole lot of cred to a newspaper like that. :)

OC said...

Love it. I'm in that past my prime boat with you, but you know what? It's just because I haven't met someone worthy enough of being with forever. The age, the number, doesn't matter.

I want to get married to someone who I will be with forever... and so what if that didn't happen before a magic age?

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