Live the life you choose

I got married in May. Before my husband and I even said, “I do,” people started asking us when we were planning to have kids, and it hasn’t gotten any better since the wedding. While I’m very excited about having a family one day, I’m not planning on that day being any time in the near future. For one, I’m still in school. Some people can handle having a child while they’re taking classes, but I am not one of those people. I get stressed about little things. I’m very involved on campus and almost always have something going on in the evenings. It’s hard enough to find time to play with my puppy.  After constantly hearing so many different opinions about when people think we should or shouldn’t have kids, I’m a little frustrated.

I’m sure some of you are probably reading this and wondering what any of this has to do with you. Most of the students at FMU aren’t married and aren’t worried about people asking when they’re going to have kids. But I can guarantee that most of you have also dreaded going to a family dinner because you know someone will ask you why you aren’t dating someone. They may ask why you haven’t found a job that pays better. They’ll even ask why you refuse to switch to a major that they think will be more useful in the future.

We’ve all been there at one point or another; people ask what they think is a harmless question, but in reality it just ruins your day. Maybe you aren’t dating someone because the person you’ve been with decided it wasn’t going to work out. Maybe you haven’t found a better paying job because the hours at your current job work well with your class schedule. And maybe you refuse to change your major because you absolutely love the major you’ve chosen and know you’ll be happy working in that field in the future even if others don’t think it is good enough.

Those seemingly harmless questions don’t always need to be asked. It isn’t anyone’s business whether you’re dating, how much you make at your job or why you’ve chosen your field of study.  Many times, people ask these questions because they aren’t sure what else to talk about. Find something that doesn’t run the risk of pushing buttons if you aren’t sure of what to say. Ask about classes or the weather. Don’t ask why someone isn’t in a relationship or when someone is going to have children.

However, we can’t control what other people may ask us. Anticipating these questions doesn’t have to make us dread having Thanksgiving dinner with family each year. Be happy with where you are, and if you aren’t happy, do something about it. Only you can decide whether you should start dating someone. Only you can decide if you should find a different job for whatever reason. Only you can decide if you should change you major. And only you can decide when it’s the right time for you to start a family.

We all have those dreaded questions, and while it may not be easy to avoid them, we can change how we react to it. Instead of giving a snarky answer that starts a massive fight, give a simple, firm answer and move on, or don’t answer. No one can force you to talk about your life choices, but it makes it easier to enjoy things if we just let those annoying “harmless” questions roll off our backs instead of getting frustrated.