Dead at 24

Dead at 24

I know the dead. I have spoken their names. They have pictures in their heads of what they want life to be like, and they are in a hurry to get there. The picture goes a little like this:

We are married. We have a nice house in a safe neighborhood. We have nice things. We have good careers and nice cars to take us to them. We are respectable and spend our weekends caring for our yard and having fancy dinner parties for our married friends who are just like us. We are happy.

I don’t think there’s anything wrong with this picture. It seems like a pleasant place to be at the age of 40 or so. What makes me sick are people who are already there, and not even 25 yet.

I’m still a bit shaken by a wedding I went to this weekend. The couple was 24 years old, and taking vows to be together until death. Think about how far your memories go back. 15 years? Now multiply that by 4. That’s how long they will be together, eating, sleeping, screwing, and watching TV. Every single day, FOREVER. Uck. What’s left to look forward to?

Much of the excitement of life is wondering about the future. It’s pathetic to see people grasping for security at an age when they still have enough mobility and flexibility to take risks. Unless fate slates you for an early bullet, you’ll be on earth a long time. It’s completely irresponsible to make decisions at 24 that effect the rest of your life. Shit, I think what a jerk I was only 3 years ago. If I would’ve married the kind of girl I was dating 3 years ago, I would be absolutely miserable now.

Everyone I know who got married young completely regrets not waiting a bit longer, if for no other reason than to learn more about themselves before they merged personalities with another person. A friend of mine grew up in a house with a nice mother and father. She moved out of the house to go to college, lived with a roommate in a dorm for a year, and then moved to live in a sorority for the rest of her college years. Right after college she got married, and moved with her husband into one of those Guard-at-the-Gate Yuppie Condo Compounds. There was no part of her life where there wasn’t another person looking over her shoulder, and she’s never really had a chance to do anything on her own. As a result, she’s now 30, celebrating her 8th year of marriage, and completely unhappy.

If you are considering marrying a person, and you’ve never been married before, live with them first. Hell, live with anyone, so you know how it feels to wake up next to the same person day after day. We tend to romanticize things beyond anything reality has in store for us, and then feel cheated when real life steps in. Sure you’ll have Sunday morning breakfast in bathrobes, but you’ll also change the bucket when the flu is making them puke up the ginger ale and chicken soup that you ran out and got them at 2 in the morning.

And for God’s sake, if you are gonna screw up and get married young, have sex before you take the plunge. Would you buy a car without taking it for a test drive? Jeez, if you’re remaining a virgin to follow the advice of ancient religious texts, remember that back in the days of Jesus, people got married when they were 12. There wasn’t 15 years of sexual maturity before marriage like there is today.

While you’re at it, have sex with a few people before you get married. I guy I knew married the first girl he ever had sex with. He was so infatuated with the idea that it would be completely different with someone else, he ended up cheating on his wife twice before she found out and divorced him. I’m not sure what the Sin Scorecard is, but I think 2 Adulteries beat 5 Fornications any day.

The bottom line is: Life is long and youth is fleeting. Don’t waste it playing family.