Living my own life
This story is about how hard it is sometimes to be yourself and make your own choices under the pressure of family.
I was born, raised and lived most of my life in the country with old-fashioned views on women and their role in the society. Women must follow the precise life plan: graduate from school, then college and, after that, get married and start delivering babies right away. Building a career is not for women. Man is the main provider and achiever in the family.
Needless to say, this scenario wasn`t appealing to me. After I graduated from university I realized that I`m not ready yet to join somebody in holy matrimony and become a baby making machine. I have always been an ambitious person and tried to be on top. Second place in anything I considered as personal failure. Participant award? No, thank you, you can keep it.
I saw clearly I wouldn’t be able to satisfy my ambitions in my traditional country where people thought that the best position for a woman is being a housewife. Cleaning, cooking, ironing, doing laundry, raising kids wasn`t for me at that time. I simply wasn`t ready. Before settling down and building my own family, I wanted to live at least a couple of years for myself, to travel, to see the world. I knew I have time for everything. However, when I shared my plan with my parents, they didn`t support it. After that, any family gatherings became a nightmare. Aunties and uncles joined my parents in attempts to make me «get these selfish thought out of my head» and «come to my senses». All my relatives sighed, shook their heads sympathetically and after a while started to think that I would be an old maid. If I couldn`t find a husband before I turned 23, I would have no chances. At first, I used to reply to them rudely, then I started to ignore all the comments and advice about how to live my life and in the end, I stopped attending family gathering.
Luckily, I happened to find a job abroad that provided me not only with decent income, but also with the opportunity to travel. In 4 years I saw half of the world, visited the most famed European countries, United States, Canada and the Caribbean. However, the more I travelled and learned, the more I realized that there are still so many wonderful things I haven`t discovered yet. Only then I fully understood Socrates, who once said “The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing.”
I started to look at my parent`s life and the lives of my relatives with new eyes. The fundamental rule of their lives was “Ignorance is bliss”. Now I was the one who sympathized. I truly think that they are happy, but their happiness is not for me. I couldn`t understand why they try so hard to force their ways on me instead of accepting me and my views.
By the way I didn`t become an old maid. I met my future husband in Spain during one of my journeys. I was doing sightseeing in Barcelona and stopped to observe the sculpture El Toro Pensador (The Thinking Bull) on the street Rambla de Catalunya. I was looking at that huge bull, sitting there deep in its thoughts and completely ignoring the world around him, when a tall young guy ran into me and I dropped my coffee.
We are married for 2 years already. We don`t have kids yet, we decided not to rush it. I don`t know what the future holds for us, but I`m truly happy where I am now, living with my kind and carrying husband and two very sassy but adorable cats.
My relatives didn`t leave me alone, they just changed the tactics. Instead of the question “When will you finally get married?” now I hear “When will you finally have kids?” I usually make a joke saying “I`m a proud mom of two kids, and yes, my babies have paws!”