One for all my single friends

Right now, I'm in this weird stage where half my friends are married, and the other half are single, and there is  this silent war between them. I was really surprised after I got married at the number of my single friends who completely wrote me off, and the more I thought about it, the more I realized I had done it to my married friends too. In the mean time, I was welcomed with open arms into the "Married Club", where the couples were desperate for other couples to hang out with and couldn't be more thrilled to have us.
But this one is for all the single friends I left behind. Because I got married less than a month after turning 22, and I can't tell you how old I thought I was. I was mere months away from dying alone! I realize I've only been married a year and a half, but looking back, I can't image what I was thinking. I wasn't old. I'm still not old. So for all my un-married friends, I have some great news: It's ok if you're not married yet!
I wish now I could go back and grab college-Anndee by the shoulders and shake her and scream, "Just relax!! He's on his way!" Despite everything else going on in my life, I was always looking for my future husband. Wait, was that him on aisle 3 in the grocery store? What should I wear tonight, in case I run into my future husband somewhere? Is it someone I already know? If I go to a different school next semester, will I miss meeting him and die alone?
I know I'm not the only one. And the thing is, once it happens, it happens fast. I don't care if you date for 3 years first and have a long engagement: it still happens fast. One moment you're single and wondering where he could be, and the next you're in a white dress and your life has completely changed.
But let me be clear: your life changes drastically the day you get married. But your life doesn't start the day you get married.
Marrying Caleb is by far the best decision I ever made, and I truly believe it's the most important thing anyone can do. He's the person I'll spend eternity with, and that's why it's a decision you shouldn't take lightly. And that's why I get frustrated for my single friends, who are constantly showered with and endless torrent of, "Are you dating anyone? Is he THE ONE? Will you get married? When?"
It isn't fair, because although I believe it's the most important thing you'll ever do, that doesn't mean it's the only thing worth doing. You have to have your own dreams. You have to live your life, and be a full, complete person before you can meet someone and become that half of a whole. 
That being said, I don't believe any of the old cliches about how "It only happens when you're not expecting it." and "You have to stop looking in order to find him." because I know too many girls who try to cheat the system by shouting to the universe, "Ok, I'm not looking! Feel free to send a handsome, preferrably rich, boy my way!"
It happens when you're ready, and you don't always know when that is. But in the mean time, your life is happening all around you. Once you do get married, you won't get these times back again. So live them while you are living them, not through memories after you've finally found "the one."
You don't need a marriage to validate who you are. What you are doing right now, with these years, matters. And I promise you, we're not as old as you think.

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