Is it me or are your 20s just an extension of your teenage years? Sure, you’ve got a little more responsibility and you may be out there on your own but you can still misbehave, make countless mistakes and (relatively speaking) get away with them. It’s assumed that you will get it wrong quite a few times before you finally get it right.
There’s the nonstop rollercoaster ride of day job after day job combined with drunken weekends (remember that time you threw up everywhere?) and, of course, that forgettable-regrettable sex with what’s her name, made even more awkward because, nameless or not, you will run into her. We’re lesbians and it’s a very small pool.
Your 20s are the time in your life when you figure out who the hell you are and exactly what you want to do for the rest of your life.
So then how, in the midst of all that chaos, does any girl manage to find her life mate, settle down, adopt a cat and get married?
I can barely remember to feed my pet fish and then I accidentally end up overfeeding him. Finding the right girl and settling into a committed relationship seems damn near impossible by comparison. It’s not for lack of trying but the love gods unfortunately have not smiled upon me. Yet four of my friends — all younger than me, might I add — have somehow managed to achieve this miracle and are getting hitched this summer. (Which isn’t to suggest that love inevitably leads to marriage — certainly there are lots of queers for whom marriage is anathema — but that’s where these kids are at.)
I’m ecstatic for them but also completely bewildered. Yes, at some point we all have to grow up, stop living off Mr Noodles and get ourselves some responsibility and a real life. But finding a real career with benefits, establishing a life and having a real, healthy relationship while under the age of 25? How did they do it? They make it look so easy.
I decided to get the scoop from my good friend Daniela and her partner Rachael. After all I can’t be the only person with these questions. Inquiring single minds want to know.
The pair, who’ve been together for nearly two years and lived together for one, are a clear case of opposites attracting. Daniela is a jump-right-in risk-taker and Rachael is more likely to think things through (as in “No, Daniela you can’t put the space heater under the comforter.” “What’s the worst that could happen?” “Fire, Daniela! That’s the worst that could happen!”). If anyone knows about making things work it’s them.
“I know it’s clichéd,” Daniela said, “but it happened by accident.”
“Whenever I saw her I thought to myself, ‘This time it feels different,'” said Rachael, sounding like a character from a romantic comedy.
“It didn’t feel forced,” Daniela agreed.
I told them they sounded ridiculously cheesy. I wanted the hard facts, to get to the bottom of things. I wanted something more than the smug lines that all coupled people say when talking about their relationship to us singles.
“There’s a moment when you realize that this could really be something more than just sex,” Daniela said.
But when exactly does that moment come? I figure if I can pinpoint the specifics I’ll be able to make some sense out of this phenomenon. There’s got to be some kind of formula to finding true love and if I can figure out the method then maybe I’ll be able to find myself a girl after all.
However the more I questioned the couple the more it seems to have just happened by magic, which I think is crazy talk.
But they added it’s not all sunshine and lollipops.
“Relationships are a lot of work,” Rachael said. “Because we’re so young it feels like there’s so many odds against us. We very often feel patronized when we tell people we’re married, especially people older than us, the attitude is, ‘It won’t last.'”
But what if they really are too young for marriage? When you’re so busy discovering yourself it doesn’t seem smart to try and discover someone else too.
“Look, nobody sets out to get divorced but that could happen at any age,” said Daniela. “There’s a part of this that feels really scary… looking around myself at all the choices available to me. Toronto is full of so many different types of girls. But there’s no one else in this world I would be willing to work this hard and make compromises for.”
“It’s about finding the girl who’s worth it,” Rachael agreed.
There really isn’t any reason to doubt them; it’s mostly my cynicism due to previous dating disappointments. Maybe it really has nothing to do with age and everything to do with the miracle of finding someone worth all that effort, worth the risk.
I want to believe really believe that love is more than possible. That people can find each other and take that chance, that leap of faith. Maybe that’s all love is about anyways, faith.