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Boston Globe Magazine - The Odd Couple

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Boston Globe Magazine - The Odd Couple

  1. 1. Thetwentysomethingfolkswe doknowseemcomfortableun- hitchedforthetimebeing.They’re busydoingAmeriCorps,working ongraduatedegreesandstudent teaching,andhostingopen-mike nights.Andthoughweconsider ourselvesfairlysavvywhenit comestopopculture,we’remiss- inganincreasingnumberofrefer- ences–atbothendsofthespec- trum.Myeyesglazeoverwhenever ourolderfriendsbegintalking aboutKnightRider,anduntilear- lierthisyearmywifethoughtLady GagawasBritishroyalty. Muchhasbeenwritteninre- centyearsabouthowAmericans arewaitinglongertogetmarried todaythantheyusedto.In1956, themedianageofamanatfirst marriagewasjustshyof23years old,whilewomenwerebarely 20.Theageoffirstmarriagewas neverhigherthanitwasin2008 formenandwomen:28and26, respectively.HereinMassachu- setts,folksarewaitinglongerthan almostanyone–30formenand28 forwomen. MywifeandIwere21,livingin Texas,andfreshoffourgradua- tionfromareligiousuniversity whenwegotmarried.Despite thenationwidestatistics,pres- sureinoursocialcirclewashigh towedyoung.Thoughwealways feltincontrolofourtimelinefor meetingandmarrying,wehave wonderedsincethenhowourlives mighthavebeendifferentunder differentcircumstances.How wouldattendingcollegeinaplace likeBoston,forinstance,have shapedthewayweviewfamilylife? ShortlyaftermovingtoBoston severalyearsago,werealizedjust whatananomalywewerehere. Infact,morethanafewcurious peopleassumedwewereonly cohabitatingor,iftheylearnedwe weremarried,thatwehadtotie theknotbecauseofanunplanned pregnancy.Thebabywouldcome afewyearslaterintheformofa littleboywholiveswithusand whomweareintheprocessof adoptingthroughthestate.Once again,theHoltsdecidetodothings alittledifferentlythantheirpeers. Despiteouroutsiderstatushere, mywifeandIbelievewe’vefound happinessandfulfillment.We’ve neverregrettedadaywe’vespent togetherandhonestlyfeelrelieved thatwefoundeachotherbefore needingtohitupTia’satLong Wharfafterworktolookforlove. Somedays,thisleadsmeto wonderwhyBostonianswaitto settledown.Careerambitionsor pursuitofadvanceddegreesoften topthelistofreasonswhymany haven’tmetalifepartner.Others boilitdowntosimplywantingto enjoythepartythatistheirunat- tached20s.Butwhywait,Ithink, toexperiencethejoysofromance, love,andfamily–citedbynearly everyoneofourgrandparentsas what’smostimportant? Otherdays,Igetit.Waitingis aboutaskingthebigexistential question–“WhyamIhere?”– settingouttofindananswer,and thenbuildingone’slifearound thatanswer.It’saboutcollecting enoughdiverseexperiences,meet- ingenoughinterestingpeople,and trying(andfailing)enoughtimes todiscoverone’sidentityapart fromsocialorrelationalinflu- ences.Marriagemakesitharder forindividualstosearchforthese answers,especiallyifthepursuit involvesdoingthingsthatmake littlesenseinthecontextofafam- ily–likeseeingtheworld,dabbling inanumberofprofessions,ortak- ingapilgrimageofsomekind. ButI’darguethatwhilemar- riagedoesmakethisexploration harder,itdoesn’tmakeitimpos- sible.Enjoymentcanbefoundin bothsettlingdownearlyandwait- ing.Itjustmayhavemoretodo withchoosingjoythanfeelinglike slavestocircumstance. SteveHoltisawriterbasedin EastBoston.Sendcommentsto coupling@globe.com. illustrationbykimrosen MywifeandIareananomalyinBoston–twentysomethings whoalreadyhavethehouseandkid.By Steve Holt The Odd Couple A sIwatchedour3-year-oldrunaroundattheparkthe otherday,ithitme:MywifeandIarecaughtbe- tweengenerations.Surroundingmeweremanyof ourfriendsfromtheneighborhood–dadsandmoms intheirmid-tolate30s,afewapproachingmidlife. ThoughmywifeandIareboth28,ourcircumstances –marriedforsixyears(togetherfor10),homeown- ers,adoptingalittleboy–pushusoutofthecarefree twentysomethingcrowdandintothesettling-downone. coupling STORY IDEAS Send yours to coupling@globe.com. Please note: We do not respond to ideas we will not pursue. october 17, 2010 The Boston Globe Magazine 27

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