unwed

I am 33 years old.  33 is a very significant number.  Because this is the same age when Jesus Christ died on the cross.

So as a 33 year-old and still alive, this is the best time of my life that I shouldn’t take for granted.  I’m gonna take all my chances to experience what life has to offer.  I’m gonna try everything once.  I’m gonna tackle the world based on my own style.  I will live my own life. I will continue to march to the beat of my own drum.  No matter what people say, I will continue to do what I love most doing, enjoying the most simple of things like reading  (if you can’t afford to travel, reading books is always the best alternative), writing (to release my demons), watching movies (I’m almost complete with my collection of my top 20 favorite movies in CDs and DVDs), and cleaning our house (my only form of exercise where it is more gratifying because there are changes in my surroundings).  Writing right now makes me happy.  However, there is tremendous pressure that I have to face everyday as a 33 year-old single person.  Sometimes it takes away the happiness I am feeling.  They are forcing me to fit into a mold that they think is “ideal” and “admirable.”

33, based on society’s standards, is a marrying age.  At my age, I should be giving birth to babies already.  If not, I should be a single mom taking care of a son or a daughter.  Based on society’s standards, mas acceptable ang mga single mom than when you’re single and a virgin.

Based on society’s standards, 30 or 31 is the deadline or the latest age that a person should marry.  ‘Pag lagpas ka na sa kalendaryo, hindi ka “in” daw.  Or perhaps, you’re just a selfish kind of person who doesn’t want responsibilities, who doesn’t want to share.  Or maybe, nobody wants you.

Well, I beg to differ.

Being single doesn’t mean being unwanted or unworthy.  I think the opposite is more true and I’d rather not go into details to prove it.  There are risks and rewards of being single just as much as there are risks and rewards of being married.   And I think it is unfair to say that only single persons have selfish reasons.  Married people also got selfish reasons why they got married.  Selfish reasons like:

“I don’t want to live alone.”
— Married or not, we all go through life alone.  You don’t get it?  Remember the time you fought with your husband or wife?  What did you feel?  Didn’t you feel so alone?  And it’s okay!  Because your husband or your wife is not you.  Because your husband or your wife got problems of his/her own that you may not easily understand initially.  Our friends and loved ones will not always be there to support us.  Regardless of whether you are single or married, remember that the best friend you can have is yourself.  Get marry because you’d like to spend the rest of your life with this person and not because you are lonely or this is what society dictates.

“I want my children to take care of me when I am already old.”
— Hindi pa naipanganganak yung bata may mabigat na syang responsibilidad na haharapin.  Tsk, tsk.  We don’t own our children.  It is only our responsibility to guide them, reprimand them in the right direction and set them free when they want to pursue their own dreams where you are not part of.  Let them be there for you on their own free will and not because you forced it because you don’t want to be embarrassed with what other parents like yourself would say.

“I want people to stop making fun of me because I’m single.”
— People will always have an opinion about other people.  And they will never stop dishing out their own opinions, their own prejudices about another person.  It is human nature.  Even if you’re married, the next issue that people will pester you about is when are you having a baby.  A family is not called a family if there is no kid in the house.  This is an added pressure to a new couple.  And when this couple finally produced a baby to this world then grew up to be a cute little boy or a girl, the next issue that people will pester you about is when are you going to have your next baby. Your panganay is now ten years old and their usual question is when are you going to have your next baby.  A child must have a brother or a sister, they say.  You thought they were right so after nine months, you had your second baby.   Then all your children grew up to be responsible adults.  But one of them turned out to be gay.  Then the next issue that people will pester you about is calling your attention that your son is gay.  You must be a very bad parent to produce a gay son.  See? Opinions of people are endless!  People will always criticize you no matter what.  Just do what you think is right for you.

 “I want to be socially-accepted.”
—  Yeah right.  Being married is acceptable while being single is abnormal.

For me, regardless of whether you are single or married, what is important is that we love.  I know of a professor who has remained single in his 40s because he would rather devote his remaining free time taking care of a sick parent.  Another doesn’t have time for romance because she is assuming the role of her parents, working hard to pay for her siblings’ education.  The third simply doesn’t want to be married.  He is already happy where he is, living his own life without giving a damn to what others say.  Some would question his sexual preference.  Maybe he is gay.  But he’s not.  He just feels he is a much better person if he stays single than married.  Of course there are a host of other reasons.

But these single people are continued to be judged and questioned about their choices.  Some married people would wonder how single people are able to live without meeting that basic biological need called sex. Well, it is none of your business what we do behind closed doors.  Besides, I heard some married people don’t experience sex with their own partners.  No more seduction existing between two married people.  On the outside, you are trying to show to the world that you are happily married.  Inside, you and your husband or your wife don’t even sit down to have a good conversation to talk about anything under the sun. So which do you think is the worse?

It’s interesting.  And I have empirical evidences to prove this.  You can get an inside scoop about what is happening in the marriage of a person based on how he/she reacts or treats single people.  Happy married people will give you inspiration, hope, and guidance.  That it is okay to be single so make the most out of it.  Unhappy married people make fun of the single people. Because they are so problematic and insecure with their own marriage, they try to conceal it by putting down a single person, provoking that single person to doubt himself/herself, pairing him/her off with anyone they could think of, making them feel that they are “unlucky” if they don’t get married.

I have a sister who is now 42 and still single.  I think she gets the most strong reactions from relatives and colleagues and her college friends’ parents for remaining single.  Everybody would be in a state of shock learning that my sister still doesn’t have a husband at her age, or even kids born out of wedlock (which for them is more acceptable), when the rest of her college barkada now have children of their own.  She would just deal with them calmly, sometimes just laughing it off.

Well I don’t.  That is why I don’t attend college reunions.

A friend once told me a long time ago that if she would end up a spinster, she hopes she is living somewhere abroad, in a foreign place where “being single” doesn’t really matter.  Anywhere but here, she said.  I also dream of a place where answering a question of whether you’re single or married does not elicit strong reactions or ridicule.  These days, whenever I say I’m single, reactions are overwhelming.  Somebody in the office once literally cornered me if I’ve had a boyfriend, if there are suitors, why I don’t have a boyfriend right now when I  had worked in Makati where there are so many good-looking guys.  It is impossible, she said.  “If you haven’t found a boyfriend there, what more here.”  And her silliest question of all, “Nagkakagusto ka naman sa lalaki?” She said I’m pretty and it would be a waste if I don’t put it to good use. When I opened my payroll account and a bank teller saw my application form, the bank teller was surprised to discover that I am not yet married.  She is also 33, with two kids.  She said with my good looks I can breed good-looking children.  She was teasing me endlessly and I just had to laugh.  Seriously, she said, she hopes I’ll be married one day because it would be a waste if I stay single.  An old colleague who is 62 and happy to be single also doesn’t want me to end up like her.  A male married colleague also feels the same way.  That it is strange that I am not married.

First off, I don’t look for a boyfriend whenever I change jobs.  Second, beauty is subjective.  Their words maybe “encouraging” but I know that they were just initial reactions because at this point they like me or there is this positive vibe we feel for one another.  I had an office friend who, out of her anger to our lady boss, told me:  “Hmph, kaya di nakapag-asawa dahil pangit na mukha, pangit pa ugali.  Buti nga sa kanya,”  not the exact words but something to that effect.  So now I wonder what if I disappointed these same people one day.  Would they still say the same thing?  So whenever someone say I’m pretty, I just let it pass in one ear and out the other.  Even without them saying it, I consider myself beautiful in my own way as a single person.  And having a man beside me to validate that is unnecessary.  I am a girl because God made me this way and I have a purpose, a role to fulfill.  I wasn’t born to be a girl just to be married, have kids, be a grandmother then die.  It is just one of my options.

If I end up single for the rest of my life, I could enroll myself at the Home for the Aged if I’m still alive at 70.  Come to think of it, I am not even sure if I will live that long.  Today a mosquito will bite me.  Tomorrow I’ll be dead at 33 because of dengue. You never can tell.  Tomorrow hasn’t come so I just want to relish and enjoy what I have now.  So why worry about not being married?

I am single because it is my choice.  I have fears.  I turned into a green-eyed monster when I got into a relationship before.  It was a period of my life na nakakabaliw!  I sometimes wish my heart is made of stone, not feeling anything, not feeling attraction for anybody.  Pero sabi nila if you experience no fears with the one you have now, with your love interest, you will never be afraid of commitment.  If you are not afraid, then he or she is the right person.  My being single could also be circumstantial.  Maybe God’s rejection is His protection. Maybe He wants to save me from the fate of an abusive marriage that He would rather see me as a single and happy person than be married but miserable. (And being happy doesn’t mean literally being happy, jolly, vibrant person all the time.  It is going through all the motions of life, taking it all in, being comfortable to be sad at times, angry at times, insecure at times and learning from it.)  Maybe, I have a mission in life that I can only do if I stay single.  Or maybe, I’m not married because I haven’t met the one He wants me to meet.  And He wants the both of us to grow up separately as better persons before we meet and fall in love.  Or maybe He wants to teach me to love myself first which is the greatest love of all before I can love another.  I do believe that God works in mysterious ways.  And that everything happens for a reason.

Congratulations and best wishes to those who chose to get married.  May seduction never stop between the two of you.  As for me, as a single person, I continue to be inspired and in love.  Just doing those stuff I love to do puts me in an “in love” state.  I do think about the what-ifs.  Like what if I do get married?  Who would that guy be?  Will I turn out to be a good wife, a good mother?   But right now, or perhaps for the rest of my life, not having a wedding ring wrapped around my finger is okay.

____________

Written on April 29, 2012- The Best of “Living well is the best revenge” (theuntouchableone.multiply.com)

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