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An auntie sizing you up as ‘possible marriage material’ can be very disconcerting, but don’t fall for it. You have your own life to live, that you decide upon!
You’re in your mid-twenties. You’ve fully transitioned from a “beginner” adult to a confident, self-aware, “proper” adult. The world is an open book enticing you to progress past the first chapter.
There’s an Auntie lurking in the shadows.
You’re in your mid-twenties; she has a different idea for you. It all begins with an innocent question about your age. It seems that this auntie is making light conversation. Then the discussion shifts to your educational background. You tell them you have a degree or diploma – some of you may have chosen unconventional subjects like literature, history or film (more power to you) and cause the Auntie’s confusion. Still, she wants to know more about you. You then notice her size up your appearance and a horrible feeling makes itself known in your stomach.
She’s trying to be a matchmaker.
But you’re still in your 20s and have a whole list of things you wish to complete before a certain time period. Or maybe you don’t want to get married. Ever. Perhaps you do want to marry, but in doing so would commit a taboo through your desired life partner.
In such a culture as ours, marriage is non-negotiable. It’s naturally assumed that every individual will get married and have children. The fact that we grow up on a diet of marriage (frequently attending weddings, confronted by wedding industry advertising, storylines in soap operas) emphasises how deep-set the institution is in our communities – local and global. There’s an expectation that, once you reach a certain age (the bracket varies from community to community) it’s time for the wedding parade and the marriage shake.
Worst still is if the “special age question” began at the onset of your twenties. Most are uncertain what life holds for them at this point, so the possibility of settling down is destabilising. Some of us want to pursue higher education, others want to travel, some aren’t even sure yet what they want to do. We all subscribe to a timeline (willingly or not) to meet the right person. Generations before have had to be observant of tradition, but does that mean we have to as well?
The larger question is: are we turning our back on tradition if we delay or bypass marriage? Marriage shouldn’t be held as the decider if a person is “good” or a lost cause. You can have traditional values and still not want to make such an important commitment. Life is worthy beyond blindly following the crowd. There are many places in the world waiting to be visited, many cultures and histories to be absorbed, and varieties of people to meet and befriend. There are still many personal achievements waiting to be accomplished.
Although all of this can be accessed once you’re married, the experience is far more enjoyable when you’re free from commitments. This concept sounds quite radical for a conservative culture and sounds the alarm that perhaps we’re becoming too “Westernised”. Wanting more from life in your 20s isn’t being Westernised, it’s answering a calling. The 20s are labelled the best years of your life for a reason.
So, when an Auntie approaches you with a proposition, be brave, be honest and be true to yourself. Whether or not her intentions are good, don’t feel pressured into making her or anyone else happy. You have the right to carve out your own life: it doesn’t make you a morally-questionable or selfish person. Many have rushed into getting married, or settled for someone they’re not compatible with, and it haunts them for the rest of their lives. Our mothers, grandmothers and aunts were denied the chance to live. Our predecessors didn’t have the luxury of choices but we do.
There’s nothing wrong with wanting marriage, there’s nothing wrong with wanting freedom or even eternal singledom. Just do what’s right for you.
Image source: shutterstock
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