July 12, 2010

Humans are funny creatures. At the end of the day no matter how much we tell ourselves otherwise, it's approval we fight for. At work, we fight for the boss's approval, going out of our way to make sure we get credit for what we've done (and if we're particularly nasty specimens, for things we haven't done also). Socially, we seek approval from our betters. Whoever they may be. We walk the walk, and talk the talk we're conditioned into mostly because we like the approval we crave. It feels good. It makes us feel strong. Makes us feel brave. The same way, we seek approval from our family. No matter how strongly (or not) we feel for our relatives, we crave those pats-on-the-backs, congratulations on a job well done, and just the feel-good of being celebrated.

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?

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

I wonder if you've already joined the SWOT club ;)

Anonymous said...

Z: I think I already sent you the link to this Kelly Clarkson song. But doesn't harm if you check it out again. Enjoy! :)

Kelly Clarkson - Miss Independent
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xSUeUCTuRKA

S said...

there WILL be a next one, Inshallah. All of us readers will pray (right readers?) :). and hopefully, Inshallah, he will be the prince charming you have been looking for :)

Saira said...

Head back to NYC. :).

Pesto Sauce said...

Guess being single hurts others more than us

Ali said...

my boss is 40 and still single and every one talks abt that behind her back...:( :(

Uni said...

You know. I stopped by this blog because I am procrastinating as usual :D and I'm not disappointed. I like it, really.

So even though I'm not entitled to it...just one suggestion for this predicament. Don't go for ANYTHING with your eyes closed. (next one, or next say next one..don't!). Im in the exact same mess.. even though I don't belong to a community that encourages real early marriages... but the societal norms are such that if you're in your mid 20s and still single, every achievement is MADE to seem like a failure.

It ain't.

Hope you keep on achieving, working hard and not going blindly for anything in life :)