No Set Standard

I find it funny how we tend to set standards for certain points in our lives.

  • Sixteen year olds have to get their license right away.
  • When you graduate high school you go straight to college for four years;
    if not, you have to get a full-time job and move out of your parents’ house.
  • Women should get married by the time they’re thirty years old, if not younger.
  • College students are expected to graduate in four years and find a job right away.

The list goes on.

What I find interesting about these standards is that, more often than not, these standards are “broken.”

Take myself for example…

  • I only got my permit when I was sixteen and I did not get my license until I was eighteen; no problems there.
  • Okay, I did go straight to college for two and a half years for my Associate’s Degree, but then I took a semester & summer off before going back to get my Bachelor’s.
  • Twenty-three years old and I’m not in a relationship let alone married.
  • It has been five and half years since I graduated high school and I’m still in college due to my time off and the mess that comes with transferring schools… twice.

So does this mean I’m going to a less functional adult when I graduate just because I’m not married and haven’t graduated college yet?  No.

Does this mean I’m abnormal?  No.

Quite frankly, I think the way I’ve experienced life in these aspects is just fine.  Sure, I would’ve liked to have graduated college and started my career a year and a half ago, but then again a year and a half ago I had just figured out what I really want to do with my life.  So if I had graduated in four years I would’ve gotten a degree that means nothing to me.

Through my years of being single I’ve had more time to figure out who I am as a person and when I find the right man for me, I will.  Heck, I might’ve met him already, but the good Lord above is saying we’re not ready yet or I might meet him on my way to my next class or at the coffee shop.  I don’t know and quite frankly, I’m not really worried about it.  And don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying anything bad about getting married at a young age.  That just wasn’t the path for me.  Plus, some people know what they want in life earlier than others.

Though I do think people should get their licenses by at least the time they’re eighteen, it really depends on the person.  Someone may not be worried about transportation because they live close to the store or their job, or they may not mind walking a distance.  Yeah, it might be a pain to ask for rides when you do need them (and it might be a pain for others to give rides all the time) but some people get through their entire lives without a driver’s license, like my grandma for instance.

(But is really is a useful thing to have, just in case.)

I think having set standards for different points in our lives is downright ignorant.  Yeah, there are certain things in life we need to learn and experience, but every person’s life is different.  We experience things differently and at different times, but that doesn’t give others the right to say that those of us who take an extra year or two to finish college aren’t normal or aren’t going to be fully functional adults.  The fact is, you don’t always know why that person took so long to graduate (in my case, you do) or whatever the “standard” experience is.

Standards for the human experience, even if they are not written in stone, need to disappear.

“You can’t compare an apple to an orange. It will cause a lot of self-esteem issues.”

– Craig Sheffer

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