I am on the verge of turning 29. I’m just a year closer to a dirty number called 30.
I have a happy feeling in my head now because I think I have achieved the career goals that I had created for myself.
I now look forward to the next decade and am determined to achieve my newly defined career goals. That is when the most dreaded question crops up. “When do you plan to settle down?” Only the people who belong to my generation will know what I am speaking about. We may be more confident about ourselves. We may dress the way we want to now. We may now speak our minds and broadcast our lives on social media.
But after that, it just ends.
Most people have been concerned about my biological clock ticking away ever since I turned 25. I wanted to ask them, “What if I plan to freeze my eggs? Do you have a problem with that?” I find it awkward to deal with nosy relatives who set me up for an interrogation. I’m sure readers who belong to my age group will be able to relate to these situations.
I have been diagnosed with the almost-30 disorder so I have to tackle all their questions with a lot of alacrity. But I always roll my eyes and have a constipated expression on my face when they ask me such ridiculous questions. Of course, my replies are loaded with sarcasm.
Statement 1: “You won’t find a guy after a certain age!”
Answer 1: “If you are so concerned why don’t you engage in polygamy? I guess we all need that kind of variety in our lives!”
Statement 2: “If you don’t get married now, you will lose all your charm!”
Answer 2: “Of course, Aunty. But if you stand here and annoy me a little more, I will certainly lose my mind!”
Statement 3: “We’ve got a great match for you!”
Answer 3: “Thanks for all your concern. But I’m not really interested in lighting up a fire. You see there is a lot of global warming already!”
Yes, I am almost 30 and I am still single. But since most of us live through cookie-cutter relationships which snap within a few dates these days, I’d rather be dating myself. I am certainly not in the mood of being a part of a low-budget romcom which has a weak script that is most likely to go off the theatres within a week of its release.
Just because the world is chasing relationships does not mean I too have to adhere to these self-imposed timelines.
A few years ago, the idea of being ‘alone’ triggered several panic attacks within me. I couldn’t get myself to watch that movie or eat out by myself if a friend or a family member backed out.
For some strange reason, at that time, I would get worried about what others thought of me.
Today, I don't get depressed by the idea of marching into a hip restaurant and asking for a "table for one." I go out for a movie all by myself. In fact, I end up giggling through it even as I munch away merrily at the popcorn that I have in my hand.
Life cannot be subdivided into “being married” or “remaining single” alone. There is a world beyond that too.
I will soon be 30. But I know that I will begin living the life I have been waiting for only now. My 20s were all about getting a hold over myself. I was trying to make a smooth transition from being a graduate to becoming a post-graduate. I then struggled through my “first few jobs”.
I dated a few guys and like most other girls I too ended up with a string of failed relationships in my 20s. I also learnt a couple of lessons along the way.
And now at 30, the very idea of getting into a ‘serial dating mode’ seems like a pointless exercise to me.
Life is not always about seeking validation from a man or a woman.
I am most certainly not against relationships. I have had my fair share of relationships too. I too have loved intensely only to realize that it wasn’t the right match for me. Breakups ripped me apart too but they taught me some ‘life lessons’ too.
And they also made me treasure ‘singledom’.
Millions of words have been written about the wonders and pitfalls of leading a single life.
But there is a big difference between being single and being lonely.
One day, American singer and songwriter, Stevie Nicks was asked how she felt about being on her own. She gave a great reply. She said, “People say, “But you are alone.” But I don’t feel alone. I feel very un-alone. I feel very sparkly and excited about everything.”
That is certainly something to go by.
Maybe because I am nearing 30, I feel like stopping for a while and taking a deep breath. I feel I have finally arrived. Or at least I like to believe this. I don’t want to impress others. That seems like a futile exercise to me now. I have also come past the age where other people’s opinions mattered to me.
I have reached a stage in my life where I don’t mind discovering myself and following what my heart says.
I can set off for that impromptu trip now because I finally have some money now. I can even go down for a few glasses of wine. I can even pass out without a care in the world.
It’s all about what I want now because I have finally learnt to live for myself.
I am now waiting in the neighbourhood café for my shot of caffeine. I know I am going to enjoy my cuppa without the bitter aftertaste of life. I am proud of being seated at this “table for one”. Maybe one day, it will be time to share this spot with someone else. Until then, I am happily single and I look forward to turning 30.