A Rant About Being Single and 25

Hi there, I’m Aggy, single and 25.

So what? You may ask. Allow me to explain but be warned, this isn’t my usual post, it’s a bit of a rant. I’ve been told writing about your anger can make you feel better. So let’s try it.

I am a little mad. I am rather furious. I have had enough.
Just a few days ago I got into a conversation with some of my Indonesian friends. As we got talking we ended up talking about career, life after our studies, family, relationship. It was actually a pretty normal and general conversation until a question came to me.

What will you do after this?

I still don’t know to be honest. Just like other mid 20s people just finishing off their masters degree. Clueless and have no idea of what’s ahead of me. But hey I like having options for the future and be temporarily uncertain – it’s what makes life so exciting.

So I answered “I don’t know, do a business maybe, focus on a career

Then came the “warning” which ticked me off “Ooofff career, now now remember a girl your age…

OK so this is not the first time I have been “warned” and it is not the first time I had to shout out an opinion. Funnily enough all my warnings mainly came from Indonesian men, and I honestly don’t understand.

Whatdaya mean I can't pursue a career in travelling??!
Whatdaya mean I can’t pursue a career in travelling??!

There seems to be an unknown agreement in my society that a girl at the age of mid 20 should be looking for a guy and get ready to settle down to have a family. Of course they would have to be equipped with the abilities of cooking, cleaning the house and taking care of children/husband. I have no idea how it all started and why this ancient rule hasn’t evolved throughout the years but it is still there, as if it’s tattooed in the society for generations.

So when I started my study back in 2011, I received three remarks from Indonesian men basically saying I should “be careful not to be so immersed in studying” and to “start looking for a boyfriend” so that I could “give my parents the grandchildren they’ve always wanted. I merely smiled knowing that the people who said it were either my boss or friends of my parents. Just for your information, my parents have never in my life pressured me to be married at a certain age or asked to give them grandchildren.

Two years later, the absurd comments haven’t stopped. The comments got a little worse with the addition of my nomadic life and love for travelling. Apparently us girls only get approximately 25 years to have freedom on what to do in life, then after that our future is in the hands of our partner. I was given the advice that focusing on my career would drive me away from finding a partner. When I explained that I wanted to have a career, whatever it is, so I could financially support myself. To respond my comment I was told to find a rich husband so I wouldn’t have to work. Being the person that I am, I continued to insist on how important it is for a woman to be independent. Again, I was thrown back with a question “what if you have children, are you still going to work and pursue your career?

Hey I love my nomadic life
Hey I love my nomadic life

So basically I could conclude the following:
1. Girl, you’re 25 years old, stop having fun called “pursuing your career” and get yourself a nice husband already.
2. Oh preferably your husband should be rich so you don’t have to work.
3. And no you cannot have a career as you will be taking care of the house and your children.

Is the problem with me? Am I just too self-obsessed in wanting a career? Am I living in the stone age where women do not have a voice to say?

I’m sick of being commented on my age and how I should be married. I’m not saying I don’t want a partner, of course I do, but it’s not like picking an apple from your nearby supermarket. Then also comes the perception that when I FINALLY find him, I should give up everything and take care of my family. I am in no way offending housewives or stay-at-home mums. My mum was a housewife and she loved being a full time mum but it wasn’t the decision of my dad telling her to quit her job. It was a decision they made together, now she owns a successful bookstore at the university and my dad never once prevented her from doing it. Maybe one day I will have the courage to be a stay-at-home mum or maybe not, but either way I want that decision to feel right for me and not because it’s an obligation from my partner.

There is a word in Indonesian which people seem to misuse, “kodrat” or in English “nature” (not really sure if that’s really the correct translation) – but basically the nature of a women is to follow men. Do what they say, obey what they tell you. Let me tell you what our nature is, our nature is to have boobs and have kids (as my friend pointed out), it is our privilege to be able to do so, but it is definitely NOT to be controlled by men. We, well, I certainly am not a puppet.

Cheers to being 25 and single!
Cheers to being 25 and single AND wanting a career!

Maybe some girls are OK with these kind of statements, maybe some don’t find it offensive at all but I really don’t like when people start judging me and telling me how I should have my life. All I know is that I have worked hard and I want to have something out of all my hard work. I know I am not the only one complaining, I have a few friends who have complained the same things as me and it is not pleasant to hear at all.

I am only doing what my parents taught me, being an independent person. I am not a pessimist in love either, I just know what qualities I want in a partner. So please, step back, yes I am a girl, 25 years old, unmarried and trying to pursue a career. So what?

Has anyone else experience this kind of annoyance before? What do you have to say about it?

(fiiuuh I do feel a little better now thank you)

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36 Comment

  1. You go girl ♥ 🙂
    It saddens me to hear that in this say and age, we still find ourselves in the path of chauvinist pigs’ comments such as that. But coming from experience, men who are confident and secure about themselves would have no reason whatsoever to judge single women and be so backwards. Don’t let anything discourage you EVER from being a liberated intellectual and life-traveler.

    1. I really hope open-minded men still exist! I believe that our opinion is neither self-centered nor big-headed, we just want our voice to be heard in a society where women are always in the shadow of men. Thanks dear for always supporting and listening to my rant 😉

  2. Read this twice, love it to bits every single time. The world needs more girls like you, like us! And we need to keep shouting our opinions at them!

    1. Like us, yes! Thanks Aiko, and I love that sentence from your about our nature of having boobs and children <3

  3. Oh girl, I completely understand about how most people think in our country. Let’s say, a successful woman should be married (preferably to a filthy rich man), having children (half a dozen) and great in taking care her family. Otherwise you will be treated like a loser. I’m 30 plus and single, believe me…I’ve been through very rough time dealing with those people. Specially when my sister (8 years younger than me)got married. Lot’s of people pity me for being left behind. So marriage is like a race here. The one who get married first, she’s the winner. And the most hurtfull comment I’ve ever had was “Girl, go find a husband because you will be expired soon”. I feel like a canned food with an expire date written on my forehead. DOH!

    1. I am so sorry Deb that you have to be a victim of our society, but I guess single girls in their 25+ are always a victim of our narrow-minded society. And it’s completely insane that people seem to think we have an expired date while men don’t.I wish I could tell you that it will go away, but we have to be the ones fighting and shouting for our rights. And you’ve got me to back up 🙂

  4. Great post, Aggy, and so necessary! Unfortunately the people who should read it probably won’t whereas the people who already know what you’re talking about anyway will be the ones who read it. I haven’t met the pressure you describe with as much force as you, but I do know the pitiful looks that say: “What, you STILL haven’t found anyone? Aww… poor dear… well I just hope you won’t die alone!” Horribly enough, in Western culture I often find these looks to come from women! We should stand together, darn it, not judge each other!! You are making such a great life for yourself. I hope you never feel anything less than proud of it. xx

    1. I know those people won’t even bother reading this, even if they do they probably think it’s another bull some single girl posted, but at least they know I have an opinion. I know some of my aunts who are also commenting on my status too. Annoying! Thank you hun for your words, they mean a lot to me xx

  5. I’m so sorry that you have to go through it Aggy! I understand you so well and feel your pain. I’m in even worse situation, I’m almost 29 yet I don’t plan to settle down and start a family anytime soon. I’m good with my life as it is now and I don’t think I’m gonna change it, not even in nearby future. I’ve heard such coments like described by you so many times I just stoped counting, but with time I just learnt to ignore them and do what I enjoy. After all it’s my life and it’s noone’s business how I decide to live it. It takes some time to work on that attitude but I believe you can do it too! Just don’t care about others opinions! People are masters of nasty comments about everyone else and they always judge according to their own standards but what works for them doesn’t have to work for us and the other way around!

    1. Hey Kami! Sometimes it’s so hard for me to ignore them and I get annoyed so easily. But I am trying to just block those negative comments and continue my life as it is. I love what I have now and you are so right! Thank you for the advice, will definitely be practicing on that attitude!

  6. Coming from a culture that stresses family and the importance of being married and having kids by a certain age puts a restriction on choices for women. It does get better. I would ignore the critical judgements and do whatever feels right but be aware that if you want kids, have kids. if you don’t, don’t have it but life is not all about the job or career since we all get old. But don’t be the person who regrets not having the husband and children. Choose what you feel is best for you and then ignore the rest.

    1. Hi Liz, thanks for stopping by!
      I am trying to ignore their comments. In the future I do want a partner and kids, but getting there is definitely not easy, and most people seem that it is. Thanks for the advice Liz!

  7. Oh my dear. I have the same problem, although I’m 24 :). You’ve read my latest post, huh? 🙂 We are still young and so adventurous, there is no need to worry about tomorrow. We can do whatever we want, let’s just carry on being awesome and keep on travelling the world to inspire others!

    1. Yes I have Agness! I didn’t know I would write an almost similar one, if not for that comment a friend of mine made a few days ago which made me rather mad. You are right, we just gotta keep being awesome 😉

  8. I think it’s getting worse nowadays. Because I’m 22 years old and I’ve received the same questions people asked you. Recently I went to my brother’s wedding and people actually went up to my mother asking her when will they be receiving invitations to my wedding?! And although they sort of asked in a joking manner, still it felt very weird. And when our family gathered, our aunts n uncles counted how many grandchildren there were.. And they calculated and made timeline on which grandchildren should marry next… So basically, each of us (including me) already has ‘nomor antrian’.

    I’m a fresh graduate. And same as you to be honest, although I have dreams, I still don’t know what to do next or how to do it. And i would like to pursue it. And being a student, traveling is so much easier. Visa documents are easier, no need to ask for work leave permit etc… I’d like to study and travel more at this age of mine. Should I find a man in between, I’d be thankful. If not, then there will come a time. So I just wish people would stop asking me questions that even my mother seldomly asks. Different people have different purpose n goals; no one should judge, put labels or even ‘expiry date’ on others. 🙂

    Anyway, point is.. I AGREE with you!
    Sorry for writing this long essay hahaha. I guess I needed to take it of my chest also. Might post in my own blog also haha

    1. Hi Chrisya! Thank you so much for your comment. I am really glad I’m not the only one out there feeling the same way. I totally understand how you feel about the deadline and “nomor antrian” – it’s all absurd really remembering that this is OUR life we’re talking about!
      I guess what we can do is put on a brave face and carrying on being who we are no matter what people say. Let me know if you write a post on this on your blog 🙂

  9. Tahun depan aja deh mikirnya..masih 24..:-)

    1. Santeee mass 🙂

  10. Hai Aggy, I’m also 25 and single. And yes, married life is something that I want in my life, but I believe there will be a time for that. Now, I just want to have fun and live my life to the fullest, like doing the job I love, travel often, enjoying freedom and knowing myself better. I also often feel annoyed with the pressure in our society that girls should be married young, take care of a family etc. And in medical opinion it is in our age that woman is at best to have child. But in my point of view, our life is ours, that we should make it best for us, finding passion and live as we want to, and happy with it. So, as long as single, 25, and pursuing career make you happy, why bother listening to everyone’s opinion? ^^ Thanks for the inspiring writing! 🙂

    1. Thanks so much Shella for your comment and input. Totally agree that what we decide in our life should be according to our pace and no one should tell us when or how to do it. Let’s block the negativity and focus on the happier things in life ey 😉

  11. Sante mbakee…santee…seloww…woleess.. 🙂

    1. Cuma menuliskan uneg2 gw aja kok 😉

      1. bagus..bagus..ga pernah cerita2 lagi nih.. sibuk yaa?

  12. Ga seberapa sih kalo yang nanya-nanya temen, lah akuuuuuu 🙁 orang tua yang demen banget nanyain “Mana pacar?” “Kamu udah cukup umur buat menikah loh” “jangan jalan-jalan mulu nanti ga punya tabungan buat nikah” dan sebagainya :((

    Hey i’m 24, dan masih banyak baru yang masih aku mau tau dan masih banyak tempat yang aku masih lihat. Selalu bingung ngelaknya dari mama papa *nangis dipojokan*

    kalo udah ditanya-tanya begitum, rasanya beneran mau S2 diluar aja dan sekalian nomadic kesana kemari, hahahahaha

    1. Wah kalau orang tua mungkin harus gimana kitanya mencoba untuk explain ke mereka yah. Cari cara yg gimana mereka bisa paham. Tetep berjuang ya Mei, ga harus pacara/menikah kalo memang belum sreg hatinya ya ga 🙂
      Hihihi…S2 bukan solusi loh, buktinya gw S2 masih aja ditanyain sama temen2 disini nah lho..:P

      1. yaudah kalo gitu mau kerja diluar aja *pokoknyaa diluarrr* #luarrumah :))

        perbanyak pengalaman seru dulu kak *joget joget*

  13. What a lot of people forget is that women are human beings. Each person is different. Some want marriage, some want careers. Some want children, some are happy with pets or plants. I am lucky to have a boyfriend, but it took years of learning to finally realize the kind of life I want. Learn yours, and don’t forget to have fun. Lots of it 🙂

    1. Interesting point kak! I do know what kind of life I want, I just wish people would back off and accept it…and yes meanwhile I am having lots of fun 😉

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    1. LOL! Kalo bukan elo uda gw mark as spam hahaha!
      Hayo tapi bener toooo curcol-ku 😛

  15. *HIGH FIVE*

    Maaan, I’m really tired of these people. They’re everywhere! And what makes me really annoyed is in our society back home this kind of talk is considered as common, while in my head it screams “YOU’RE MEDDLING WITH SOMEONE ELSE’S PRIVATE LIFE, DUDE! BACK OFF!”

    We’re on the same page, kinda. I’m 25 and single. Just few days back, one of my male friend said pretty much the same thing as yours told you, “don’t be so immersed in studying, remember to live life and be happy” as a comment to my decision in pursuing a PhD. Now that was offensive in sooo many levels. First, I am happy! Second, I am living my life. Third, pursuing an academic career is my freaking dream, how dare he telling me as if this dream I’m struggling to get is a pure torture and meaningless effort? Remember to live life and be happy? Pfft.

    Anyway, have you ever been told to not be that successful or, in my case, to not pursue study higher than master level, so as to not make these men afraid of you and feel inferior? This is what ticks me the most. Why should I lessen myself in order to make some poor and insecure chaps pay attention to me?

    *phew, sorry I just rant myself :p

    1. Hi Hilda!
      I think you doing a PhD is an awesome achievement in which you should be proud of!
      Yes I do get a lot of those comments about not to pursue the highest you can in education just for the sake of this inferiority issue. Well, I don’t think that’s our problem, respectable men should acknowledge our achievements no?
      Besides, if they don’t like us just because of that, well what can I say, it’s their loss 😉

  16. hahaha…
    i’m agree with you, but i think these “old minded” people are just wanting the best for you and encouraging you to do what is good based on their experiences. But still, they don’t have rights to tell what should you do.

    1. I understand the “wanting the best for you” part but it wouldn’t hurt if they said it without insulting me. However, I have to point out that some of these comments were made by people more or less the same age as me.

  17. I’ve heard similar stories when I worked in China. A lot of the young women in my classes were worried about careers and marriage. I really don’t see why they can’t have both. I’d rather be with a woman who wants a career.

    1. Exactly! That’s what I’ve been trying to explain, obviously some people fail to understand. But then again it all comes back to yourself, what you want in life and try to block the negativity around you 🙂

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