Female? Over 30? Unmarried?...Problem?
Unmarried over 30 isn't just a stigma of Desi culture.
It's funny how the beliefs and values of our previous generations still make themselves present in the modern world where the world is your oyster and information is easily accessible at your fingertips. I mean, computers in your pocket? Who would've guessed this could be possible back in the 80's! Anyone can educate themselves about anything they want at any point in time now. Still, the idea of being a single woman over the age of 30 is looked at as a bit of a shame and there are so many sympathetic onlookers willing to give you a helping hand in finding you a mate...you poor thing, you!
I recently went to a matchmaking session and felt more like a cow for sale than a woman looking to settle down. Admittedly I was the oldest female willing to speak into a microphone and clarify that being 34 doesn't make me old and that being single doesn't mean I'm picky about finding a man. After years of wanting to have it all, as most modern women aspire to, I've realized some things that are just not clear to members of our society, specifically Desi society, since that is where this kind of mindset still exists. And don't get me wrong, there are plenty of Eastern cultures that feel this way, so if it applies to you, read on. If it doesn't apply to you, read on anyway, because there are some positives as well.
As soon as we are born, we are doted on like dolls and treated as such, nurtured and cared for around the clock. We grow up, go to school with everyone else and stay in the guidance of our parents until puberty. If you are in a household where it's comfortable to talk about menstruation openly even with your own mother, then you are ahead of most girls. Anyone born in America as a 1st generation American-Desi otherwise had to learn about puberty in school (thank God for that! Don't know what I would've done. I prefer being prepared for these things!). My situation was a little different. Mom didn't believe me when I hit puberty because I was too young. My dad, an educator by profession, was the only one who grabbed me a pad and stayed calm about the whole thing. Look at how this milestone in a young woman's life is already approached as a whole, though! And if that wasn't enough, we focus on school to get good grades (again under the protective wings of our parents) and we move on to college. This is the opportunity to get to know yourself, right? Wrong! You're either studying all day, partying all night, hanging out with friends nonstop, or visiting family when you are homesick. Say college finishes or while you are getting an education and still in your early 20's (still a baby, by the way), you get setup and married (or find your own spouse, too). You now get to live your life with another person and maybe kids or lots of pets come into play, who knows. The years go on, you get older, all the loved ones you've kept yourself going for no longer need you or are no longer around. You may or may not be with your spouse at this point, but now you have more time in the world than you've ever had. So...NOW is the time to spend with yourself in that great big plan of the elders you've known since you were a child?
The point is this. By the time you are in your late 20's or early 30's how much have you really had a chance to date yourself? Your family and friends didn't give you the chance to focus on you while you were hanging out with them. The distraction of school or careers are more convenient as opposed to looking at yourself and really understand who you are. By this time, MOST of our life was spent with others or about others. Sure, maybe a couple of years got to be yours, but do you know how long it would take to truly get yourself? You can't be in a controlled environment or state of stagnation to really understand your inner workings. You need to see who you are when things get tough, too. These chances come on the daily, from when we are young to now, with or without school, with or without siblings, with or without careers, etc. And we aren't taught to befriend ourselves first and foremost, but we are expected to be able to handle significant sacrifices to our personal development by putting our energy towards other people before we barely develop.
I've been told that a woman becomes most comfortable with who they are by the time they hit 31-ish, after this they are more rigid against change in themselves and this is scary considering how much outside control is involved with our important years that come prior to this. I swear, hearing a 25 year old lament over how she is still unmarried makes my head spin and it's not because I'm 34 and single, but because her priorities are reliant on someone else instead of herself. I've looked and dated, all the while pursuing my passions and, certainly, my fair share of obligations. If the right man would appear during this time, great! Would it change the plans I outlined for my own growth?...No. Also, why should it? People give men this advise "happy wife, happy life". If a man's wife is unhappy because they are unfulfilled, how the hell is HE supposed to fix that? If my future includes children, how am I supposed to influence them positively if I'm dependent on my spouse or in their shadow because I didn't take the time to make my own identity? These things become OUR problem to deal with, not our families' or friends' or coworkers'. We need to stand in our own corner, make a commitment to see ourselves in a stable place, be our own hero, and most importantly be our own best friend first. People come and go in our lives, but we remain our only constant until the day we die. I would want to be able to live with myself the entire time no matter what I experience in my life.
So, yes, I am female. I am over 30. And I am unmarried... and there is absolutely no problem with that.