Cultural expectations at certain ages can cripple our growth, what do we do about them, and how should we handle them?
To every unmarried Khaleeji girl out there who has been programmed to believe that you must be married before you hit the big three zero, here is a little ray of light to let you know that yes, you are 30 and it’s okay not to be married. This is no declaration of spinsterhood.
While many young women in the UAE today continue to thrive in countless fields and are constantly changing the workforce dynamic, that little voice (which is no Jiminy cricket) in the back of your head keeps whispering “come on, it’s your turn next” tick tock, tick tock. And then, all of a sudden for no apparent reason you break out into a cold sweat and forget everything you have built for yourself up until this point of your life. You forget, that this sudden anxiety is the result of a culturally constructed mental checklist item that has been waiting to be ticked for so long.
It is at this point that you must stop, take a moment to get rid of all the noise in your head and remind yourself that if the Duchess of Cambridge married Prince William just before her 30th birthday, then you really have nothing to worry about! If a Duchess can do it, than you certainly can.
There is a common misconception that once you hit all your culturally expected milestones, you should give yourself a pat on the back and feel reassured that you’ve done it all correctly. But here, my jittery unmarried friends, is when it will dawn on you that you will never find happiness without giving yourself the chance to fully understand and value yourself as an individual being, before sharing it with someone else.
This constant need to get through the marriage bit of your life at the “correct” time is probably the reason so many women forget to appreciate themselves as first and foremost self-governing individuals and contributors of society.
Embracing your current situation, and allowing yourself to enjoy this period of self discovery is probably the best thing you can do for yourself. Lifestyles have changed so dramatically for Arab women, and feeling compelled to go through the same sequence of events your mother or grandmother went through at your age can have crippling self-growth consequences.
Continuously nurturing yourself as a being and working on your happiness as an individual is the best and most empowering thing one could do for themselves. Once you invest your time on living your current moment and bettering yourself everyday, you will fall into a haven of inner peace, where your preconceived ideologies about doing things at a certain age in your life will no longer matter. It becomes about gaining wisdom, realizing that you have a unique opportunity to be accountable only for yourself and going wherever your heart takes you. Everything eventually falls into place once you let out the right energy, and you will be happiest for it when you are happy with yourself.
Article written by Amal Al-Beiti (@AmalAlB)