, what are you supposed to do?!
Marriage is like having a permanent buffer of empathy around you at all times. Some gullible chump signed a contract that means they have to care about the stupid stuff you're going through, and if they don't like it -- tough. A contract is a contract and if you don't want to sympathize with the cheese-poops then you can talk to my lawyer, Meagan
Leveling Up into Adulthood
I've often heard it lamented (usually by somebody who's just turned 21) that there's nothing left in adulthood to look forward to after you can legally drink. As far as they're concerned, that's the last big adult milestone left in American culture. But like everything else a 21-year-old says, that statement is a slurry of misconceptions, lies and probably also some recycled memes.
Adulthood is a series of levels, and not every level comes with a new perk, that's true. But the big ones -- driving, voting, drinking -- aren't the only ones you get. Sure, at 21 you get to drink, which is a dramatic and obvious benefit: It's like gaining the ability to shoot fireballs. But sometimes the less flashy perks are, in the long run, much more helpful: Somewhere around 26, for example, you might discover that you don't really give a crap about other people's beliefs anymore (and not in a cruel way). Now you can interact with others that may harbor different religious or political beliefs without turning every party into a tired, ill-informed debate about the nature of life. That's like getting dual wield: It ain't as showy as hurling fiery doom around, but in the long run, you'll end up using it way more often and getting a lot more out of it. That's just an example, mind you: Maybe that happens way earlier than 26 for you, or maybe it never happens at all. Maybe at 24 you learn that some friendships tie you down as much as help you, and that lesson takes a lot of unwanted stress and drama out of your life. Or maybe you realize at 29 that your dad was right and work is its own reward -- and that means you start doing things on your days off instead of just farting into the couch until the dog leaves.
"Turnabout is fair play, my canine friend, though I do not recommend you turn about just now, for I have farted behind you and I assure you: It is terrible."
The perks, lessons, and the ages you that learn them are all variable. But perhaps the biggest one is the realization that you might have enough love in you to share every element of your existence with another human being, and inexplicably
smother them with a pillow in the night because they know all of your secrets. I can't speak to having kids (that's hardcore mode, and I don't think I'm good enough at this game to play that), but marriage is a way bigger milestone than legal drinking. If 21 is shooting fireballs, marriage is an epic mount: If you pick the right one, it opens up whole new areas that were previously inaccessible. And if you ever have to go back to the way it was before, you'll wonder how the hell you got everywhere on foot in the first place.
You can buy Robert's book, Everything is Going to Kill Everybody: The Terrifyingly Real Ways the World Wants You Dead, or follow him on Twitter, Facebook and Google+. Or you can skip down to the comments to complain that marriage is a crock because you're 19 and don't know how to be wrong yet.