I'm Getting Married At 22 — & I'm Figuring The Rest Out

Courtesy of Kaitlyn Reavis.
Welcome to the inaugural class of '29. We've selected 29 graduating college seniors, entering the "real" world in 2018, to write about the state of their lives. What are their hopes, dreams, fears, stressors, failures, and successes as they leave school behind? We will be releasing new entries on a daily basis. If you would like yours to be considered, please email classof29@refinery29.com.
On May 12, in front of my family and friends, I accepted my degree from Appalachian State University. Over the next six months, I will move three times, start a full-time job at my hometown aquatics center, take four vacations, oh, and go on a honeymoon.
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That’s right. On November 17 — almost six months to the day after I earned my college degree — I will marry my highschool sweetheart, a.k.a. the man of my dreams. The wedding will take place right across the street from my childhood home. We plan to exchange our vows in front of people we’ve loved our entire lives and some who are a little newer to our story.
I know what you’re probably thinking, because everyone who learns of our plans seems more than eager to share their views. If you’re like most people I encounter, it will fall along one of these lines: “Why are you getting married at 22?” “I wish I could be that committed to a person at this age or even had it together like that.” or, my personal favorite, “So you’re just going to be a housewife?”
First of all I don’t have it “together.” I just found my person earlier than some people do. The thought of having my whole life figured out just because I’m engaged is one of the funniest things I’ve ever heard. I’ve been in love with James since I was 16 years old. From the moment I met him at age 12, I knew he was going to be important in my life. There’s never been a doubt in my mind that he is who was put on this Earth for me. I have that type of passion with him that people write books about and even start wars over. Everything about him sets me on fire. In James, have found my equal.
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illustrated by Paola Delucca.
Yes, I’m sure of him. I’m sure of our decision to build a life together. But if I’m being honest, I’m not sure of a whole lot else. And so sometimes I worry that maybe I can’t have it all, maybe with James I got all of the passion that I’m allowed to have.
I don’t know what I want to be when I “grow up,” which is a problem because I am technically “grown up” already. I picked a degree in public relations because I thought it would give me many options for the future. But now it feels like those options are overwhelming me to the point of drowning. Should I enter local government? Should I teach? What about working for a PR firm? Should I get my master’s degree? If so, what should I get it in? Should I just be a stay at home mom and write about that? I want to be the PTA mom, but I also want to show my future daughters that a woman can do anything a man can.
Most of all, I don’t want to settle when it comes to my career. I don’t want to wake up 40 years from now and realize that I wasted my life away in a job that I hate in a cubicle with no windows. I want to find the same passion in my professional life that I have in my personal life. I want to wake up and know I’m doing what I was called to do.
So I’m taking some time off, a year to be exact. Instead of applying to grad school or committing to a career path I’m going to focus on the things that I love and that make me who I am. I am determined to find the things that drove me to try so hard in college. I am going to find that passion no matter what. I wish I had some magical ending to share about how I had an awakening and knew what I was called to do and knew exactly how I was going to get there but I don’t. The only advice I can give is to never settle for anything that doesn’t set your soul on fire. No matter if it’s a job, significant other, place or anything else. Life is too short for anything else.
Kaitlyn Reavis graduated from Appalachian State University with a major in Public Relations. After graduation she moved back home to Burlington, North Carolina, where she will work for her local Parks & Recreation Department and write until she finds the passion that she’s looking for.
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