Dear Uncle, Aunty & Society,
First things first. Thank you so much. For the constant concern that you show. For being so interested in my life. In a world where people are so wrapped up in their own lives, it genuinely touches me that I can count you amongst my well-wishers.
Initially, I have to confess. When at community events, neighborhood soirees, and every single social do, you’d pull me aside and ask me what my plans for ‘settlement’ were, I wasn’t sure what you meant. Now, I’ve come to now understand that you use the terms settlement and marriage rather interchangeably.
It surprises me that you don’t congratulate me on my recent promotion, or share my excitement that my company raised additional funding, or seem happy about me pursuing my dreams of higher education. Instead, you tell me that I’m approaching the terrible thirties, and that I should ‘settle down’. For socially, it’s probably not acceptable to be single anymore.
To which I answer, that I have no plans for ‘settlement’.
You see, women like me, we see marriage as a milestone, along the journey. Not a goal towards which every life decision is steered. Maybe that isn’t how your generation, especially women, viewed marriage, but times have changed. And the sooner you accept that, the better.
We saw our friends getting married in their early 20s. Not for a minute do we say what they did was wrong, but that wasn’t for us. We had other goals and aspirations. Some of us pursued further education. Some of us poured all our time into entrepreneurial ventures and full-time jobs. Some, an inward journey into ourselves. And some of us, well lets just say we didn’t get married because we didn’t find the right person.
But every one of us has been up to something. I have yet to meet one of my late 20s sorority sisters who says they’ve been sitting on the couch waiting for Prince Charming to whisk them off.
You don’t ask the boys while they work out their twenties. But we get told that we have limited ‘shelf-life’. And somehow our presence only gets validated when we have a man by our side. And that if we don’t move fast on the marriage game, we’ll have fewer ‘options’.
Which implies that if I view men as options, I could be someone else’s option, too. But I want to be someone’s destination. Not option.
I’m not against marriage. But I find the right person. When I find someone I look forward to building a life with. Someone who shares, or at least respects my goals and ambitions. Not someone because I want company at the parties where you bump into me. I’m seeking a life partner, not a plus one. And I promise you that when I do get married, you shall receive an invitation card, by virtue of having been someone who has carefully worried about me all these years. So now you may please stop asking that question.
Out of curiosity, when I googled the term settle, I was told that one of it also means ‘to give in’. But that’s not what I’m here for. You see, we’ve come a little too far with our lives, to ‘settle’.
I might end up single. I might end up married with two kids. But never will I ever ‘settle’
Every 20 + millennial Indian female