1) Wander and adventure without any worry
I feel this stage of my life is the golden phase: where I have the freedom to explore, I am old enough to not make my family worry about me solo traveling, I have a decent steady income and I have more or less experienced a lot of bad friendships which instead of making me bitter has made me a lot more content with my own company.
There is a time for everything and some day I will get married and have lots of babies, but right now I feel so extremely free. Freedom tastes a lot better than safety/security and being obliged to put up a smile in front of people in a social gathering. Right now if I want to fall apart, I am free to fall apart. Right now I can spend my evenings with red wine watching When Harry Met Sally, I am free to postpone laundry or any social meet up because I am the only person I am obliged to please.
I feel so blessed and grateful for this extended freedom I have earned in my life.
2) Figuring yourself out
Being around a loving family and then a doting husband sounds sweet. I see most girls defining themselves as: a wife to the best husband, a daughter to the most amazing parents etc. But whom are they once all these loving people showering them with love, gifts, compliments, security, safety and a place in society are taken out of the equation? Who are these women? Not every woman needs to get out to become a professor or become a politician, but having a voice and personality is essential. There are several women who are proud to be entangled in these layers of societal securities.
I myself have been a very pampered daddy’s girl. But for years now I am a free woman with my own thoughts and voice. If I hadn’t worked for this transition, I would simply be handed over to another man to take care of me, because that’s what society teaches us, girls are to be taken care of.
I have figured a lot of things out about myself, my tipping points and my tolerance level and also how much I am willing to expand my thinking. I can compartmentalize different areas of my life; I can differentiate my identities from a protected sister and a pampered daughter to a hard-working fearless woman who works for every thing she has earned. I don’t expect people around me to treat me how I am treated at home; I know life is a lot more than being taken care of. I am glad I learnt the importance of shattering glass ceilings instead of fitting into glass slippers.
3) Girl to Woman Transition
We all need to change and grow and continuously rejuvenate our body and our mind. Our body usually does it automatically; our mind though often needs a conscious effort. Every cell in our body is replaced in a timely manner and each year we are a newer, more updated version of our physical self. Learning from this we could imply a continuous growth and rejuvenation in our mentality as well.
There was a time when I sort of believed views of everyone around me. I remember after high school ended, I went back with some friends. A teacher asked me what I am going to study at University and I answered “biotechnology”, a commerce (male) friend said, “What the hell does that even mean, what will you work as?” Before I could answer, another commerce (female) friend replied “she is pretty she will get married.” And my teacher added, “she will be a pretty and educated wife.”
As much as I hated everyone using that as an excuse for me not doing anything with my life or shit on my parade over the necessity of even trying to be ambitious, I kind of started believing in it. At some point, for a very brief moment, I told myself to not worry; if nothing works out I could always find a nice guy.
There have been several incidences where such a mentality or judgments were thrown at me, and that’s when I started associating marriage as a very negative belief, as a back up plan, as a safe way out.
I am glad after so many years I have changed viewpoint on this matter. I am now eager to be married in the near future because right now is my time, my selfish time which I will one day very proudly tell my kids about.
4) Get over Disney movies
As much as I loved Disney movies as a kid, I now look at a few of them with a completely different perspective. I will not mention all but let me share my view on Cinderella.
The message given is not about true love or cosmic attraction, rather the notion that all a girl needs is to be “seen by the right guy at the right time in the right outfit”, only then is her life ‘set’.
I have seen a lot of modern day Cinderella stories, where the beautiful gown is replaced by a skanky dress and a nightclub replaces the gorgeous dancing hall. I feel revolted by girls who are looking for validation based on their looks and girls who think getting married at a decent age with a rich/settled guy is the definition of a successful life. I feel sorry for them and also angry for letting down all the women who have retained or developed some self-respect. Marriage is a beautiful thing, but why be a clichéd-trophy wife when you can be the CEO of your own life, with no fake behavior to impress others. And honestly, this whole pampering, taking care of materialistic needs, fancy holidays, seems more like control than love to me. Every working woman will understand how valuable money is, if a woman feels entitled to wealth and luxury because of her “femininity”, she is a disgrace to all women in the world. Times have changed and a man doesn’t always have to be the breadwinner. A man should let a woman pay for meals if she wants to without letting it affect his ego. Any relationship should be all about equality and respect, not one person trying to win the other with money.
5) Become the CEO of your life
Quite recent encounters with men who are supposed to be of similar cultural background as me have made me realize how much I have evolved. I met a few men who make inappropriate comments about women and what is expected from them.
Instead of lecturing them about chauvinism, I just keep quiet, because unlike 7 years ago, I am not vulnerable. When I was 20 years old, there was a guy in my college and at some point when I had mentioned about my plan to go Europe for further studies he said, “you girls, you can be as ambitious as you want, at the age of 22-23 all of you will get married”. I really got very offended. Maybe at that point in my life it was my biggest fear and he was rubbing it in my face. The same guy is now married (arranged) and he is a year younger than me, so it amuses me to think that he is more of an ideal girl than I am.
Now though, I don’t get offended. It says more about them than me. I just smile and go my way and realize how far ahead I am of such people. I am slowly becoming the CEO of my life, where I teach people how to treat me, tell them what behavior I will not accept and at the same time respect the janitor as much as I respect the president, despite of all the hierarchical crap that has been fed to us by the society.