Why Your Path Doesn’t Need to Look Like Everyone Else’s [Confessions of a Twenty-Something]

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Everyone at one time or another feels inferior. We feel inferior because of our differences, our flaws, or the things that make us unique. Some may think being different is a negative thing. If we’re not like everyone else, we’re cast aside. We’re not the “norm,” so we’re not good enough. Everyone is different. (Duh.) We all have different interests, hobbies, skin colors, occupations, skills, and lifestyles. Some of us are gay. Some of us are straight. Some of us are black. Some of us are white. Some of us want to focus on our financial situations. Some of us want to get married and figure the rest out along the way. We all make different choices. We all take different paths. This is especially true as a twenty-something when everyone is at different places in life.

Instead of judging others for their life that may not be similar to yours, we should embrace these differences and celebrate one another.

You guys know already that I’m an engaged woman, but I don’t believe mentioned that my fiancé has a daughter from a previous relationship. She is a beautiful, 9-year-old red head, and I fell in love with her the moment I met her.  A lot of people would run in the other direction if they discovered that the person they were dating had a child, but I was way too in love to have it even be an issue. When you love someone, you take them for all that they are. His daughter was just an added bonus. My husband-to-be maintains a healthy and stable relationship with his daughter’s mother, and she and I get along quite well to boot.

It’s not a typical family set-up, but we make it work.

We’re different, but we recognize this and embrace it. We know that we’re not the “norm” when it comes to family dynamics, but what the hell is even normal when it comes to family anymore? Families come in all shapes and sizes, and that’s what we will teach my manfriend’s daughter.

Sometimes our family are our friends. Sometimes it’s our grandparents who raise us. Some of us are adopted. Some of us have parents who are divorced and some of us have parents who have been married for 30 years. It all varies. It’s all relative. (Pun intended.)

Did I ever think that I would marry someone with a child? No. Did I ever think that I would be a stepmother? No! But I will be, and I am thrilled. Instead of being scared or ashamed of our not-so-normal situation, we have faced it head on. We’re proud and happy and open to our new family dynamic. Who doesn’t want more love in their life? I understand that marrying someone with a child may not be for everyone (and to be honest, it never really crossed my mind until I found my fiancé), but some people are totally okay with it. That’s what makes us all different. That’s what makes life beautiful. We’re all a big melting pot, right?

Instead of judging and condoning one another on our preferences and choices, we should learn to accept and embrace one another and our differences. We are all diverse people. And celebrating our differences, as well as our common interests, helps unite and educate us. We can all teach one another something. We can all take away something new and interesting if we give one another a chance. Don’t be ashamed or secretive about your uniqueness. Be proud. Be accepting. Be yourself.

Katie recently finished her undergrad at North Central College in Naperville, Illinois. She enjoys wasting hours on Facebook and tweeting things no one cares about. When asked the question, “Do you do marathons?” She promptly responds, “Of course! Which show?” Follow her @KatieGarrity! Or read her personal blog where she talks incessantly about Ryan Gosling and hummus here!

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