We are single 28-32-year-olds with no kids. I’m going to pause for a second to let that sink in, and to let you think about the images and feelings that you can imagine spring to minds, when people hear that phrase. Pop culture would tell you that either, we love being single, are setting our bars a little too high or that we are sending out the wrong signals.
We do want to find a long term partner and sometimes we can’t quite hear ourselves think because of the pounding noise of our biological clock. The hardest thing is putting up with constant biting comments and pressure to find a partner, get married, get children. We are trying hard not to internalize all the negative stereotypes we are fed about single women approaching 30 or in early 30’s and remain confident that we will settle down before it’s 'too late'. But I believe we are having a great life, meaningful work, a large support network of friends and family, though these are the very people who make the pressure worse....’you should think about freezing your eggs…you are so pretty, why aren’t you married?…don’t worry girl, we’ll find you a man…’ these insensitive remarks sting.
We have had our share of lectures from parents and married friends which reduced us to tears. The more we actively strive for something, trying to do more, so something can materialize, the more our biggest insecurities and fears are reinforced. My childhood friend & hairdresser, Eunice*, is married with two kids. I jokingly call her my mentor. And she is. Eunice* has done my hair nearly all my life, and has waited for me to return to the salon with an engagement ring, with news, something, anything. But I never seem to. I think she has finally given up. Last weekend at the salon she lectured me, positively. There was no lamenting this time. I think she feels me. She said that I should;
- Forget about my age; because everyone, at work, friends are busy trying to write me off and give me an expiry date.
- That I should let my family and friends know that my happiness is important to me and that I won’t get married just to comfort them.
- That I should take my mind off the matter as I may seem desperate and attract the ‘wrong’ ones.
- That I should enjoy single life and not let my happiness be predicated by the presence of a man.
I heard her. But deep down, as much as our jobs are immensely fulfilling and our friends surround us with lots of affection, we are a worried lot. We want to get married, we are dying to throw our dream wedding and put on a production. The peer pressure to marry is more than ever influential yet at this age, dating, with all its rife, is full of uncertainty. The fear to go wrong. There is no time, the pressure is too much. I think its self-imposed pressure but we can’t help it. Pressure to be witty, pressure to keep the conversation going, pressure to ask questions, pressure to make fun plans, pressure to look good, pressure to show our best self, pressure to not look desperate. The anxiety has taken centre stage, it’s persistent and loud. It is causing us to criticize ourselves and doubt our ability to face our fears. More than ever we need to be understood, we crave a sense of hopefulness about the possibility of getting married soon because from the last chat we have had as unmarried adults, if our worst-case scenario came true, that’s hitting 36 and still here, will it be the end of the world? When is it really ever too late?
Written by Ricalda Makena