I am pretty sure success, for Indian parents, is having a daughter married by 25. I know this because it’s what my dad told me when he came to visit me this weekend. Of course, a passive aggressive/sardonic argument ensued (because that’s the type of relationship my dad and I have), and we both were left angry, upset and probably hurt too.
Completely random tangent: But I find it somewhat ironic and hypocritical that Indian parents, who push education and academic excellence to no end, define ultimate success for women by things that require absolutely no intelligence, skill, or thought whatsoever. And in many cases, those same things we worked so hard to master actually work against us.
I know there are a lot of people who, deep down, really do want to be married by the age of 25, and that is fantastic. I absolutely see merits in that life choice, and I am very happy for those in that situation. And the thing is, contrary to what anyone might think, I do see where my parents are coming from. How is it not good to find someone to spend the rest of your life with? Marriage at its best is amazing. How is not wonderful to have someone to grow with, and share life with? And starting a family is the next big frontier- I know a lot of people say that having kids is the best thing they ever did. I don’t actually disagree with anything they are saying.
What frustrates me is that they don’t try to understand where I am coming from, and more importantly, believe I could actually be right
Lets say I do get married right now. Then what happens? Some would argue that nothing changes- you can still discover, explore, and live your dreams. Maybe the argument is that I shouldn’t get married to someone who wouldn’t let me do that anyway. Fine.
But here’s the thing- at the end of the day, I have someone else I have to think about. I would be a selfish and awful person if I didn’t take what that other person said into account. You know how amazing it was to just be able to decide to pick up and move to India? I didn’t have anyone to answer to, didn’t have to consult anyone, or really have anyone or anything holding me back. Giving away most of my belongings and just moving to India was one of the most liberating things I have done.
Here’s the other thing- I think my parents are scared that I will never want to settle down. They are scared that I will always have things that I want to do and accomplish in life, and will never want to get married. And maybe they’re right. But maybe a lot of those other things I want to do can be done with someone else. I mean, I actually think a lot of those things are done better with another person. So yes, I do want to be married at some point. But that point is not now.
Because at the end of the day, I think that theres a time and place for everything. Right now, I want to start a company and make it work. It’s not some abstract thing I have been meditating on- it has a start date and a (potential) end date within the next few years. It’s very, very real. It’s something I’ve wanted to do since I was a little kid. I mean, how many people can say they are doing exactly what they wanted to be doing since they were a small child? This is not someone else’s dream I’m living, it’s mine. And honestly, even if I found someone who shared my same dream and wanted to pursue it with me, I really don’t want to share. Why can’t I have something that is completely and solely mine? Is that so selfish? Let me have this one thing of my very own, and then I will be ready to settle down- then I will be ready to share. Promise.
And the baby argument? Not being able to have children? I don’t live my life with regret, period. If the choice is between concretely pursuing my dreams right now and potentially not being able to have children in some version of future reality, then I am ok with that. I am ok with not being able to have my own children (if that’s the best reason anyone can come with to get married right now). I can’t know what I will feel like at 35 or 40. There’s absolutely no way to do that. All I know is that I have learned never to live with regret, and never look back. I have made my choice and I will be happy with it. Because I am pursuing something real, right now, that makes me happy. And that’s just how I live my life.
Honestly, I don’t know how you “try to get married”. That was what upset my dad the most. He said I wasn’t trying hard enough to get married. I tried to understand where he was coming from, and this is what I understood: I am not married because I don’t want to be married. I guess his argument is the power of positive thinking.
Well then, if that’s the case, then that’s absolutely true- I am not married because I don’t want to be married. But by that argument, in a few years, when I DO want to be married, I will just positively think my way into a wedding, now won’t I?
For some reason, he was not so fond of that argument.