So it comes as a nasty blow that the approval I seek is suddenly being (slowly) taken away from me on the family front. With the impending engagement of second baby cousin, this one just barely eighteen, it seems as if every achievement of the past ten years is being weighed against my single-status. And the scales are dipping squarely towards the latter. I can almost feel the mental judgement (bachelors degree, high GPA, good job, masters degree, good job, possible PhD), and the overwhelming conclusion is: not enough! Where is the doting husband? Where are the pesky in-laws? Where are the lovable children? And there you go. Approval takes a serious dip, to the point where family (as a whole) shakes its head in consternation and resolves that 'something' must be done.
But it's amazing how degrading commando action (by well-meaning family members) feels. Almost as if you're absolutely worthless without a ring on your finger. Without a sense of purpose, a legitimate reason for existence. And as much as it hurts to admit it, without familial approval I'm permanently unhappy with myself, wondering what I can do to alleviate their concerns. Conscious that perhaps the last refusal was one-too-many and I may not have too many more chances to settle. Wondering if I should just close my eyes and go for the next one, and let life show me what it's all about instead of speculating too much in advance. Terrified that there may not 'be' a next one, and I'll forever have to face my sometimes-lovable family and try to defend my life choices against the inevitable accusation: if all this studying/working/socializing was so good for you, why are you not married yet?