The views expressed in this article are those of the individual contributor and do not necessarily reflect TamilCulture’s editorial policy.
TC recently published an article by a guest contributor entitled “How To Find A Husband” which understandably angered many readers, including myself. I applaud TC for the diverse opinions that they cover in order to bring light to the good, the bad and the ugly ideals and beliefs that exist in the Tamil community. My issue is not that TC published this article. My issue is with the guest contributor, the aunties and uncles, the strangers and even fellow peers who, despite all that a woman is capable of achieving in this day and age, determine her worth based on whether or not she has found herself a significant other.
Here’s a shocker to those people – not all women want to be married with 2.5 kids and a house in the suburbs by the time they’re 30! That’s not to say that they never want these things. But here’s another shocker – either way, that’s really no one’s business but their own. If your priority in life is to get married and raise kids because that’s what gives you fulfillment, that’s your prerogative and no one should judge you for that. Similarly, if women choose to not follow that path, they should not be made to feel like they are somehow lacking something.
While you may be constantly encouraged to find a man, here are six things you could be doing instead:
1. Create your future
It’s imperative for women (and men for that matter) to have financial independence. In the absence of that, you will always be at the mercy of someone else’s wallet and as a result, their control. With divorce on the rise (yes even the Tamil community is not impervious to this), there’s a possibility that you could end up without the support of a spouse’s income – then what? When we encourage young women (and men) to fulfill roles they are supposedly meant to fulfill without balancing the message with the importance of maintaining their independence and growth, we’re setting them up for financial instability.
I spent my 20’s getting a great education from a well recognized university, added a professional designation to that and progressed within the Corporate world, while running my start-up on the side. I would never trade these experiences and accomplishments for anything.
2. Build a strong support system
Having people around us who care about our success and well-being is crucial to being a happy person. This however, does not have to be in the form of a spouse. If you take the time to invest in the lives of your family and friends, in return they will do the same for you. Love comes in many forms. Rather than telling young people to chase after romantic love, why not focus on and nurture the other types of love that also help them grow as a person?
Boyfriends have come and gone (bring on the slut shaming), but my family, friends and mentors have lasted years. Without their support and encouragement, I would not have the positive outlook that I have on life.
3. Make an impact
Individual growth is important, but it’s equally important to focus on the growth of the communities that allow us to flourish. We are but a tiny speck in this great big world. But through our individual actions and contributions, we are capable of driving positive change.
Through my entrepreneurial initiatives and charitable work, I have had the opportunity to make an impact on the community in my own way. Regardless of scale, this has allowed me to feel connected with others and care about the impact of my individual actions.
4. See the world
There are so many places to see, people to meet and foods to eat! If you are fortunate enough to have the financial means, the advancement of technology has made it quite easy to see the world with ease and comfort. Your next trip is literally a click away. And if you can’t get away by plane, head out by car, public transit or whatever means you have available. Traveling provides excitement but it also allows you to grow an appreciation for other cultures and ways of living. There is no one race better than another, and there is no one culture better than another. There are simply differences, which you truly appreciate by seeing the world with your own eyes.
I have been fortunate enough to gaze up at the sparkling night sky from the Saharan desert, drink local beer from Nicaragua and drive through the narrowest of streets in Southern Spain. And every trip has opened my eyes and left me inspired.
5. Enjoy life
Someone will always judge you for something you’re doing. Period. Naalu payar naalu vithama kathaika thaan papar. You can live your life trying to appease others, or you can LIVE your life! Live responsibly and treat others with kindness. Beyond that, you can pretty much try whatever your heart desires. If you happen to fall in love, love away. It’s utterly ridiculous in this day and age to create segregation. If you enjoy a glass of wine here and there, drink responsibly, but go for it. Don’t succumb to the pressures of the double standards that some members of the Tamil community try to impose on you.
I drink occasionally. I love bar hopping with my friends. I have tried smoking out of curiosity and I have dated outside of my race and culture. And I’ve enjoyed all of these experiences!
6. Define your timelines
There is no hard coded rule that says women must marry by 25 and bear children by 30. While there are biological impacts to delaying childbirth, you will have other options. There’s science. There’s adoption. But if having children naturally is important to you, that’s where you will need to make a choice about what timelines your life will follow. Yours, not others.
I’m almost 31 and I have yet to feel any ticking from the biological clock that people speak of. I’m also not in any rush to find a man and ‘settle’ down. If I ever do desire to have children, and science and nature cannot help me, I will happily explore adoption. As an orphan, my growth and development were made possible by family members who pitched in to raise me and my sister. Taking care of children who are not naturally yours can be equally rewarding.
So, Tamil women (and men), whether it’s getting married, raising children, becoming a CEO, being a globetrotter or all of the above that suit your fancy, if you are lucky to be living in a country that allows you the freedom of choice- exercise it! Live your life according to your own aspirations and timelines.
- 30, Single, Childless and, brace yourselves, Happy!
*Featured image courtesy of Fastcompany.com.
Part 1: Help! I’m 30, Tamil… and Not Married
Part 2: So You’re 30 and Still Single? Don’t Blame Tamil Women
Part 3: Single, Tamil, Female… And I’m Divorced
Part 4: Self-Arranged Marriage: The New Tamil Trend
Part 5: How to Find a Husband
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