As soon as I turned 26, the flood of wedding announcements on my Facebook newsfeed started pouring in. I had seen some here and there before, but nothing like this. My newsfeeds quickly went from young people decked out in crop tops and heels to adults attending bridal showers, bachelorette parties and weddings. Some baby announcements and pictures of children were even starting to pop up.
Around this same time, I started going out less. I started prioritizing lounging, sleeping and running errands over getting drunk on the weekend. I started engaging in more casual social activities like “dinner and drinks with friends” or “hanging out on someone’s couch.” There were, of course, still nights when I would get my “rage” on (and there still are!), but they weren’t weekly occurrences anymore.
Because of these changes I was experiencing in my social life, I found myself doing less of something I had always done so much: Taking pictures. When it came to documenting things during and after college, I was the queen. I snapped shots of anything and everything, and I made sure to have people take pictures of my friends and me whenever we were together. I had all of my memories documented on my digital camera and later iPhone, so when I eventually stopped documenting my memories like this, I felt like I didn’t have any.
But I did – and I do.
I still hang out with friends. I still go out to bars. I still go on vacations and day trips. I still have a social life. I just don’t document all of it like I used to, or write “statuses” stating my whereabouts on social media.
When I do take pictures now, it’s at events. And when I attend events, it usually has something to do with a wedding. So, I am now contributing to the growing number of wedding-themed pictures on peoples’ newsfeeds.
Since people like myself have started to go out less and take fewer pictures, we post online less. However, everyone posts about engagements, weddings, bachelor/bachelorette parties, and showers, so that’s what you see instead. It’s a vicious cycle of not posting for weeks on social media and then posting pictures from wedding-themed events that turn our newsfeeds into a photo album of people adulating.
It’s no wonder that when I turned 26 and continued to delve into my late 20s, I started to think “Everyone is getting married,” and later on, “Am I supposed to be getting married?” And it’s no wonder that other people my age were starting to feel the same way.
The engagement-themed newsfeed tends to make single people feel worse about being single, and can make those who are in a relationship anxious about where their relationship is headed. Because if it’s not to the alter, then why bother?
You are completely allowed to do whatever you please, whenever you please, with whoever you please. Being single doesn’t mean you are a hot mess who doesn’t have their shit together when compared to someone your age who is married with a few kids. Just because you are in a relationship and not engaged, it doesn’t make your relationship any less special. And just because you aren’t engaged doesn’t mean that you want to be engaged, now or ever.
So when you start to get anxious due to your wedding-themed newsfeed remember WHY it looks that way and then repeat to yourself “not EVERYONE is getting married.” Yes, more people are starting to get engaged, but out of your 900-1000 friends, I’m sure not even a quarter of them are engaged or newly married. It just seems this way because that’s all you’re seeing right now, and unfortunately, it will probably be the majority of what you see on your newsfeed for awhile.
From here on out, take life at your own pace. Live life in the moment – and not on social media. Celebrate your friends’ happiness, whether that happiness is stemming from a wedding or a much-needed breakup, and embrace your own. Don’t feel obligated to rush into anything you’re not ready for. Don’t feel like you don’t have your shit together just because someone else your age does. Not everyone has the same definition of “having your shit together” anyway. Live in the moment and everything will work out the way it’s supposed to. Really.