My Friends Are Getting Married And My Mom Is Worried
But I Am Not. Let Me Explain Why.
I have entered a phase in my life right now, which I am pretty sure you’re familiar with.
You know… every time you go to your Instagram and see one of your classmates all attired in a wedding dress. If you’re lucky, you’ll get wedding pictures of one and news of two more classmates getting married in one day!
And, by mistake, I let my mother know about all the festivities.
Her first comment, without missing a beat and as a reflex, was -
“Everyone’s getting married. When will you get married?”
I chuckled in reply.
For you see, I am not in a hurry to marry.
But my mother’s comment made me question — why is everyone in such a hurry to get married or marry off their daughters?
Now, this is a complex question, with variables such as culture, gender, economic background, your own psychology, your upbringing, your parents’ upbringing, and your collective society’s code of conduct.
I don’t have an overarching answer to this question. What I can provide is my mother’s and my take on it. And here’s what I gather.
Marriage = Settle
My mother should patent the word “settle” because that’s her go-to word when it comes to marriage.
“All I want is to see you settled,” she says.
My first reaction always is — What the heck does that even mean?
But as the years have gone by, I now understand what my mother means by that statement.
When she says “settled,” she means she wants to be sure that I am married into a comfortable family. She implies that I will never have to worry about anything else once I am married into this said family.
Yeah, yeah, I know my mother is sweet and innocent.
But that is what the majority of society thinks. You’ll be fine once you’re married; all will be good. But they themselves know from experience that Life is not that simple. Especially not married life.
And I have enough examples around me to last a lifetime to let me know that marriage, if not done with the right person, is actually unsettling.
Another statement that is thrown around a lot on marriage is — “You’ll have someone to depend on.”
This makes me snort-chuckle.
I get it. It feels good to know you have someone you can rely on, rain or sunshine. But when this dependence statement is said, especially to girls, its actual meaning is — You are a girl. You can’t live alone in this big, bad world. And therefore, you need a man to take care of you.
Instead of teaching us we ladies can’t make it on our own in this world, we should be told and prepared to take care of ourselves and not wait for a man to show up as a knight in shining armour.
Having someone to depend on should be an added bonus, not the only resort.
Alone & Loneliness
“What will happen to you when I am gone?” my mother says, “You’ll be all alone.”
Again the case of saying one word but meaning something else.
Alone is a physical state of being the only one in the room.
On the other hand, Lonely is a mental state of being in a room full of loved ones and still feeling like I have no one.
As my friend Hercule Poirot would say, “I am at my happiest alone.”
Being alone is not a problem for me. I have a million things to do, see, hear, read, and write. When I am alone, I can immerse myself in my writing. That results in the writing session I could ever ask for. Loneliness is a different beast altogether.
Let’s say I marry because I don’t want to be “alone”. Now I might have my husband around me 24x7, but we don’t have intimacy, any sort of depth in our relationship. We are just there, sitting on the sofa and scrolling through Instagram. Physically, sure we are not alone. But what about mentally? What about emotionally?
I much rather be alone than lonely in a loveless marriage.
This is a classic excuse to get married — “If you don’t get married before x years of age, you won’t be able to have kids.”
And my answer to that is simple — I’ll adopt.
Sometimes my mother will modify the settle statement and say -”All I want is to see you settled and happy.”
Again, I have enough examples — within the family — to know that getting married doesn’t mean you’ll be happy.
My thought is that if I am not happy by myself and with myself, I won’t be happy no matter who’s around me.
What Will The Society Say
A couple of months back, I stayed with my best friend whose getting married this year. As I was discussing their wedding rituals and customs with her mother, aunty started asking me about my wedding plans.
I said that I had none.
“We can’t do that. In our society, we have to get our girls married young. Otherwise, they’ll start saying that something’s wrong with the girl, that is why she didn’t find a boy.”
Well, that actually shows that there’s something wrong with the society, I thought.
What society will say or think is another statement that is said a lot but is of no real value.
It’s of no real value because of three reasons -
1 — Society is too busy with their own mess to think about yours.
2 — If they are not busy and have time to waste on you, their lives are boring beyond imagination.
3 — And as Country singer, Kacey Musgraves, puts well in her lovely song, Follow Your Arrow
You’re damned if you do
And you’re damned if you don’t
So you might as well just do
Whatever you want
Why would you consider someone’s opinion who doesn’t know how it feels to live your life?
I Am Cut From A Different Cloth
THANK GOD I didn’t get married, or even be in a relationship, in my early 20s. The person I was in my 23–24 is COMPLETELY different from the person I am today at 27.
I have been studying myself for the last six years, discovering myself. Like an archaeologist, I have been brushing away the dust and dirt to find who is lying deep inside this person called Rubina.
This process of uncovering myself, with the generous mix of life experiences, is helping me realise who I am, what I want to become, and the kind of life I would love to live.
Today I am in a better state with myself than I was back then. Today I am in a better relationship with myself. And this relationship needs to be taken care of first before you let others into your party.
Plus, I am a writer. And living with a creative person has its own challenges. (Not that there’s no challenge with non-creative people.)
Austin Kleon summarises best in his Steal Like An Artist -
Who you marry is the most important decision you’ll ever make.
And “marry well” doesn’t just mean your life partner — it also means who you do business with, who you befriend, who you choose to be around.
Relationships are hard enough, but it takes a real champion of a person to be married to someone who’s obsessed with a creative pursuit. Lots of times you have to be a maid, a cook, a motivational speaker, a mother and an editor — all at once.
You’ll Miss Out On Love
This is not something someone has said to me, but the sad part of my brain does bring this up.
What if I am missing out on romance? What if I never find love?
To which my optimistic side of the brain says, “Who said there’s an age limit to find love? And if you think that I’ll never find love, you have already lost the battle, mon ami.”