For the past four years, my entire life has seemed to revolve around one mantra, “Graduate. Get an apartment. Get a job.” It’s what made me get my butt out of bed to commute to a 8:30am class and it’s what made me spend my summers working internships instead of working on my tan. I’m one of the very lucky few in life who have found that their passion is their job – I love my work. I love getting to accomplish things. I love having pure, unadulterated ambition.

So you can imagine by joy over the past few months as things finally started to come together. I proudly graduated from Loyola University in May, found a job in my ideal industry in July, and in August signed a lease for my own apartment. All of the pieces were falling into place and I could begin my adult life and corporate journey – right? Wrong.

The one comment that I seem to be getting over and over, from people close to me (and not so close, annoyingly enough) is that “All that’s left now is to get a man!” or “Next thing is to get married!”

come again? casual-girls-personality

It seems that recently, the words that come out of people’s mouths right after “Congratulations!” seems to be some sort of idiosyncrasy about my single status. Just because I’m a 22 year old female who now has an apartment and a job – I’m supposed to check-in and be done? I’ve completed the bare minimum and now my resources are best spent trolling bars to try and find my one true love who can really do the heavy lifting and bring home the bacon?

I’m not bitter (trust me, I know that sounds surprising, but I’m really not) and I do believe that love is wonderful and can bring out the best in people (and the batshit crazy, but that’s a different article). But why do I need to make some mythical list with all of life’s dream accomplishments?

Since when does being a single woman come with such an unspoken – yet always sometimes discussed – air of being pitiful? I’ve checked off all of these glorious boxes and now it has all been reduced to not yet checking off the one that ‘matters the most.’ Maybe before I graduated, there were so many different things I wanted to accomplish in life, all of them seem bundled together. Now, for whatever reason, getting married is the last thing on that list.

Except I don’t have a list. I have goals. Getting married isn’t one of them.

It might happen for me, it might not. Maybe I’ll be a crazy cat lady or the only aunt out of all of my sisters who erratically shows up at Christmas from an exotic country (goals). I could shock everyone and be married within a year. The point is that I don’t know and there’s no point in living life off of a list when life doesn’t work that way.

What does work, is work.

I plan on working my way to the top and I want my children in life to be the promotions I’ve received. Maybe marriage is in the cards for me. Maybe it isn’t. But the point is, I don’t care. When did getting married become the be-all-end-all of accomplishments? Why doesn’t getting your first job mean that people give you extravagant gifts? When two people get married they now have two jobs and two incomes. I guaran-freaking-tee that I need that Crockpot and a $50 Target card more than your second niece does. When did marriage become more impressive than getting a promotion or getting your first job?

Maybe it dates back to a time when it was much more popular for women’s jobs to be wives and mothers. I have nothing but adoration and respect for those women, their job is harder than mine.

But please don’t force those agendas on me – because the only thing left on my list is crush the glass ceiling.