Age Ain't Nothing But a Number: Me and my boyfriend at my NYU graduation in 2013.
Age Ain’t Nothing But a Number: Me and my boyfriend (and soon-to-be fiance!) at my NYU graduation in 2013.

In August of 2009 I was a nervous 18 year-old moving cross-country to New York City to begin my first year at New York University (NYU). Being that NYU is the largest private institution in the country and a PWI (predominately White institution), I mentally prepared myself to go through four years with a minimal amount of friends; after all, I was an introvert and school was the priority. If you would have told me that during my first week on my own in a new city I would meet the man who I would spend the rest of my life with, I would have literally laughed out loud. But that’s exactly what happened.

During this first week, I also met one of my very best friends. In fact, within a few months I had a solid core of black women around me. I guess what I’m trying to say is that being in a relationship didn’t define me nor limit my relationship with girlfriends. Going through college with a boyfriend was not a stifling experience. I had me time; I traveled the world, lived abroad and partied it up with my friends! And my boyfriend was, and always has been, my biggest supporter.

Me in Ghana at the tktktktk
Me in Ghana at Kakum National Park.

I understand there are many reasons to avoid marrying young, but none of them phase me. I find the most critical point regarding marrying young comes from one’s definition of what marriage is and what it means for the couple. As a young 20-something with marriage on the horizon, I don’t see becoming a Mrs. as a time to settle down in one place, in one career, to buy a house, and have kids. In fact, that’s almost the opposite of what I want from life right now.

Kelsie loves the kids: Here I am bonding with children in Peru.
Kelsie loves the kids: Here I am bonding with children in Peru.
Taj Mahal, baby!
Taj Mahal, baby!

So why get married young? Well, after being together for six years, there’s nothing more that I want than to continue to learn, develop, and grow alongside him. Throughout our relationship, whether it was the very beginning when we didn’t know what was in store for our future up until now, we’ve never stopped supporting one another. At different times, we each decided to live and learn in different parts of the world through study abroad experiences, we’ve even taken jobs in different parts of the country because we knew this was best for our professional future, even if it meant we would live apart for a while.

Now, still in my twenties, one of the next major steps for me is to begin my life as a married woman. This doesn’t mean I’m settling down to start a family, or I’m going to live in one place forever with my spouse. I still have time to figure out what I want out of my life, I still have time to travel more, switch careers, move, and make a few mistakes along the way. Marriage is just an opportunity for me to do all these things with him right by my side.

A Couple That Runs Together...That's the two of us at a half-marathon in Washington, DC..
A Couple That Runs Together…The two of us at a half-marathon in Washington, D.C.

What do you think of couples getting married while still in their early 20s? Be sure to visit this essay for a very different take on the topic!