I’ve gathered from my family, culture, tradition what we also call society that your late twenties is typically the time that most of your friends, cousins will get married. Time is running as if it has to win a marathon, I’ll soon reach to a point where my twenties will be over, but this year in particular seems to have been when the shot was fired for all the brides-to-be to start the race. I’m sure this is only the beginning of the inundation of my social media feed with couple goals, and it’s both exciting (because I love to see all my school, college and other friends finding their life-partners ) and annoying (because I’m very far from my twin-mate much less a Happily Ever After). If you use social media, and in particular Instagram and Facebook and you’re in your late twenties you’re bound to be bombarded with the overwhelming flow of engagements, weddings, and general “couple glow” illustrated through a plethora of pictures and statuses in your feed. It’s beautiful. It’s great. It really is. They all look so pretty and happy.
The thing is though that a lot of people I know and have grown up with and with whom I’ve fantasized about our individual “Life Partner” are already married and rest of them sooner or later will. I think at first, when people started getting engaged, it just seemed like a distant “Well yeah, of course I knew they were going to get married eventually” kind of feeling. But now that the dates are rolling in, the knots are being tied, and it’s REAL. It’s “THIS IS OUR LIFE NOW.” I have always tried to match up myself collectively with the generation we all live along. I’m not sure how many other people do that, but for me when it comes to big life changes I try to evaluate collectively. When we all graduated from college, despite our differing universities and degrees and future paths it felt like a big, mutual accomplishment. When we started getting our first “real jobs,” it was exciting and united. When we all start going through menopause I might finally feel back on track because marriage is a little different. We’re not all going to get married at the same time. We all are on different timezone in life. Some of us probably won’t even get married. Some of us don’t even have significant others right now. Some of us love the single life. Some of us hate it vehemently. Some of us want to get married for the wrong reasons. Some of us want to get married for the right ones but are with the wrong person. Some of us just don’t know what the hell they’re doing. (this girl-Meh;) )
In fact, at this point, I’m quite convinced that Happily Ever Afters don’t actually exist and that we’re fooling ourselves into believing that expensive weddings, grand dresses, and elaborate honeymoons will be enough to satisfy a woman’s fantasy for the rest of her life. Disney, as much as you inspired us, you also ruined us. You made us impatient and foolish and full of fanciful thinking. You gave us false hope in finding True Love that would inevitably give us a Happily Ever After when it’s not that simple. And yet we’re still striving for it and dreaming, wishing all along.
You see we’re not perfect creatures. We’re too moved by feeling rather than logic when it comes to finding a mate so that we marry the guy/ girl with the grand gestures even if the other person has got a shoddy relationship track record. And we wonder why marriage divorce rate is increasing. India is not a very divorce-friendly country both culturally and legally. So more strikingly, the number of people separated is almost thrice the number of people divorced – 0.61% of the married population and 0.29% of the total population. However, the number of divorce cases pending in India are strikingly high at about 65,000. (According to the study by economist Suraj Jacob and anthropologist Sreeparna Chattopadhyay ). In India, more people are separated than divorced because of stigma associated with divorce, and the time taken in resolving disputes in the slow-moving Indian courts. Also, say the researchers, the “divorce rates in India are neither surprising nor unsurprising”. “India is somewhere in the middle. Also given that rates of living together before marriage is still extremely low in India and marriage is universal, it wouldn’t be surprising that for some members of the younger people, first marriages can end up in divorce.”
I don’t know if I ever want to get married. When I think about fulfilling that traditional feminine, “the husband is the head of the wife” role, I want to scream or punch something. I think I’d rather figure out this life thing alone instead. I know that we’re in “modern times” now, and having a three-course meal on the table every night when your husband gets home and giving up your career in order to raise the children is not considered mandatory by most people anymore. Although it’s certainly not completely out of the realm of possible expectations depending on the man you marry and his upbringing. Essentially, being an independent and strong-willed woman with personal goals starts to look threatening to certain types of men. I’ve fortunately never dated any such though I have met them, and I wish I hadn’t. I’m sure it was useful to be given an illustration of who NOT to marry. But then there’s also the nagging fear that the older I get without a partner, the more resistance I might get from people in the society. I’ve heard the stories of single wow-man, (i like to call woman that way) who are involved in similar activities being looked down upon for some or the other reason. I don’t ever want someone to look at me like that. But because of who I am—a young, attractive, and independent girl—I fear that happening at some point.
Some days I feel like starting a community where all people who aren’t clear or fear marriage can live on their way and figure life out. I am sure a lot of them of this generation will join and then less drama will be left to figure out that marriage is only the way of life. I have realized its not easy to do anything that has not been followed for generation, to start a new way of living, it needs a lot more courage then i have. I am not against marriage, I always hope to meet the person who will help me overcome this fear while we both help each grow in life. But lets just try and respect the individual choice about the same. Pressures are good, I know, it keeps you moving towards better. But I don’t think this generation wants marriage as a compulsory thing anymore. Everyone has or is fighting their own personal battles, has a different story, lets not judge people with their decision on marriage. Lets Respect everyone’s choice of Life. There’s nothing wrong with the single life, Just live happily and peacefully!
All I really want is to feel fulfilled in life, and I don’t think that a marriage is going to do that for me. To all the couple goals likes to suggest otherwise—that your life is complete once you’ve your better half to complete you—but that just isn’t true. Our lives are more than that perfect cake topper or wedding favor or photo-shoot. Our futures are worth more than the perfect marriage with perfect dress, shoe and a venue. Our “Happily Ever After” is more than a wedding. There’s the “After” too that we have to figure out and navigate our lives in that direction. So everybody’s getting married, and I’m not, its all right. It’s a work in progress. Rather, I’m having to learn what it’s like to be part of a generational movement without actually participating. And coming to understand that just because I’m not doing everything my peers are doing doesn’t mean I’m falling behind in life.