As I went about my lecture in class, I mentioned something about keeping a journal in college and how I reread those pages even now as a 44 year old. I noticed that a student had brought in his own journal to record insights or special memories. I made a joke about how I cannot believe I made it this far based on how foolish I was freshman year of college. I made so many mistakes! I made so many poor decisions! On and on I went. I concluded by telling them that it all worked out in the end. I read those journals now through the lens of someone who has been married 20 years and who has raised two daughters. I did survive college. They will, too.
The class stared at me in shock. Their faces looked both horrified and confused. What did I say? Was I bleeding out of my head or something? What was happening?
Then one student raised his hand. “What a minute,” he said. “Wait. Are you seriously saying you’ve been married 20 years?” He paused. “That means you got married when you were 25 years old. That’s insane. I’m almost 25.”
The class erupted in agreement. Marriage at 25? To one person, forever! This is crazy! That’s too young. Why did you marry at 25!? Why?
I told them that, at least in the south, some of my friends were engaged right out of college. They couldn’t believe it. I told them that I thought 25 was a little late. I was getting old. They laughed. I asked them when they thought a good time to get married was, and they again looked confused. Maybe never. At least in the late 30’s.
It’s a different world. I spoke for a moment about not regretting marrying “so young” because we grew up together and experienced life together. A student said, “But it’s the same person. Forever.”
I smiled and said, “Yes. The same person. Forever.”