Monday, April 1, 2013

The Things We Think and Do Not Say: An Open Letter to Susan Patton

Here's what I want to say to Susan Patton, the lady who wrote a letter (and since clarified that yes, she was being serious)to The Daily Princetonian enciting women to make sure that they found a husband while at college...

Wow. Just, wow. Really?

I am fortunate enough to have come behind all of the feminists who fought for women to be able to do anything they wanted to do, and I am smart enough to realize that for some women, this means running a Fortune 500 company, and for others it means running their own household, and that is okay.

Unfortunately, I was once naive enough to have bought into the same thought. In my defense, I was 21 years old, and scared as hell of the rest of my life. I was frightened of the course less traveled. What I did not, and could not know then, was that I had no clue who I was. Now that I am 34, perspective tells me that is the case with many women - and men - who are in that same boat.

What I didn't know then was that we are our life's choices. Say it again, WE ARE OUR LIFE'S CHOICES!! The things we do and decide when we are 18, 19, 20 years old will affect us in ways we can never imagine.

In an age where, what 50%?, of marriages end in divorce, why, WHY would we think that it is a smart idea to encourage people to make these lifelong, life altering decisions at that young age? Marriage shouldn't be the assumed next-step after college.

What we should be encouraging women (and men) to do is to make mindful choices in their life. Don't make decisions simply because they are the next step, and particularly out of panic. True enough, Susan Patton, the 'sea' of potential spouses is probably at its greatest and most concentrated for college students. That's just statistics. But just because you don't find a fish while there doesn't mean that you won't find it one day.

Here's the thing: Get to know yourself. Spend time with yourself and with friends. Doing things. Doing nothing. Do a lot of nothing, because one day, nothing will not be an option. Screw shit up that won't matter near as much as it would if you had a husband/wife and a couple of kids.

Live your life.


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