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Teen sweetheart Tiffany Evans recently popped back up on the R&B radar unexpectedly when she revealed in an Essence magazine interview that not only was she pregnant with her first child, but the she had been married for two years. Evans is only 19 years old, which places her walking down the aisle at 17 years old.  At 17, the only aisle I was walking down was located in the mall as I blew my whole paycheck on shoes, clothes and lip gloss.  No stranger to the tabloids, 19-year-old Miley Cyrus gained another gallon of side-eye from the public when she announced her engagement to boyfriend Liam Hemsworth whom she met in 2009 while filming The Last Song.  And the voice behind Penny Proud, 25-year-old Kyla Pratt faced a bit of backlash from abandoned fans when she announced that the reason she was MIA for a while was because she was busy being mommy to 1-year-old daughter, Lyric with fiancé, Danny Kirkpatrick, a former dancer turned tattoo artist.

In a world saturated by teen pregnancy, deadbeat baby daddies, and mommies who are shaking in the club when they should be at home two-stepping with their toddlers, it’s refreshing when we finally see young couples that are “doing it right” by getting married along with having kids.  But are they losing a crucial part of their youth in the process?

Getting married and starting a family are steps in life that there is no turning back from.  Your twenties are all about finding, nurturing and learning to take care of yourself before you become responsible for a lifetime of commitment.  I’m not saying there aren’t couples who take on these responsibilities early and do so successfully, but so many times I see people forgo the freedom and unique experiences of their twenties only to end up resentful in their thirties suffering from “Woulda, Coulda, Shoulda” syndrome.

Sure, the ladies mentioned above are probably financially stable and have both personal and professional experiences that most people will never have, but I still can’t help but wonder why it seems so many young people want to rush into marriage and having children.  I wouldn’t trade the reckless abandon of my youth for anything because not only do I try to live with no regrets, but many of those experiences (both good and bad) prepared me with life experience and memories that I wouldn’t have otherwise, which I am hoping in turn will make me a more well-rounded person.

The best thing about being a single twenty-something with no children is that it’s one of the unique times in life where you have freedom as an adult without having all the responsibilities of one.  Besides, you have the rest of your life to schedule every minute of your existence in a daily planner, multitask being a wife, mother and daughter and save for retirement. The list below features some key experiences that I think all young women should have in the short years we are still “young, wild and free”:

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