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Is the biological clocking ticking?

Looking to the end of the week, Iím all set to celebrate another birthday. The years feel like they are slogging by. But at the same time, I canít help but wonder: How old am I getting?
Itís not like Iím seeing the beginning of crowís feet, or Iím asking the same question to the same person two or three times. But with two of my good friends already married with children, I feel like Iím getting to the point where people are expecting me to do the same. Not only that, but I sort of feel like Iím expecting me to do the same.
Think about your high school class. How many of them are in serious relationships or even married? How many have kids, a career, a life unrelated to Ybor City and research papers? Maybe itís because Iím from a smallish town, but it feels like everyone I know is doing the domestic shuffle. Even if you donít know where your high school classmates lie in lifeís pretty picture, I can guarantee quite a bit more than you think are married and expecting. Probably the people you least expected it from, too.
Are we coming to that age when our parentsí friends start asking them when weíre going to settle down? Are the elders sending us subliminal messages when they remark over the phone how cute Rachelís baby on Friends is?
There was a time when we thought weíd be all set by 25: good career, stable relationship, maybe even a kid or two. But looking around this campus, 25 seems to be the pinnacle of fun and freedom. You tend to forget your own age, because it just feels young. So that begs the question ó when? When do we settle down? Is there a cutoff point?
And if there is, indeed, a cutoff point, will we make it? Is any 20-something singleton out there ready to put the entertainment that is college behind them?
Who made these rules to begin with, anyway? Itís cute to think about our grandparents married at 18. Our parents were part of the generation that waited a while, but not too long. But why do we sometimes feel the need to become domestic quicker than perhaps we want to?
These years are supposed to be the best of our lives. This is the time for experimentation and discovery. Weíre supposed to get to know ourselves before we let ourselves become part of a more permanent ìus,î right?
So why the pressure? Maybe because one of my ex-boyfriends is engaged and the other just moved hundreds of miles away to be with someone else. Maybe because a life away from homework and study groups seems idealistic in your fifth year of college. Maybe because we just want someone to hold our hand in the movie theater.
To be settled or not to be? Does loneliness drive us to hear a ticking clock, when in reality the countdown hasnít even started yet? Perhaps what looks good to us does so because itís different from what we know.
So the ultimate question presses us: Is it OK to be alone ó at my age? And the answer, of course, is yes. Because we have our whole lives to belong to someone else; this time is ours.

Jessica Higgins is a junior majoring in mass communications.