In some culture, turning 30 is huge life event, even more so if you are a woman. It’s on this age when we are pressured the most for not conforming to the standards of the society – that is, getting married and having children. Because of this, I have a handful of close friends and relatives who went into ‘hiding’ to escape the judgmental eyes of the very people they consider family, friends, and colleagues.
In some Asian culture, people would often make a passive-aggressive joke about going beyond number of the days in the calendar, or say, one more year to go. Either way, I still consider it an insensitive joke imposed upon those stepping into their 30s.
Is it suppose to imply that your time has run out?
Is there like a ticking time bomb that blows up if you haven’t achieved your life goals by then?
If I have a penny for every female friend who is pressured and bullied into finding a man before turning 30… I’d be able to travel the world, twice!
Social media is not helping either. Every other post is either about an old high school friend who is pregnant, a family friend celebrating their wedding anniversary or a colleague who just had another baby. I am not being bitter but this definitely adds up a ton of pressure into the shoulders of those that are otherwise. We can’t control what goes up on social media but sometimes, an innocent post is like adding salt to the injury. It takes a real woman to be genuinely happy for their friends and family in this context.
Some of my friends eventually resort to dating sites to find a potential husband however, more often than not, it doesn’t end up happily ever after. Instead, I would end up having another friend with a broken heart. Those who are already in a relationship are in some ways rushed to get married so the guy doesn’t ‘run away’ or because ‘the time is right’. Those who are already married are pounded to have children ‘while still young’. Yes, our biological clock is ticking but that shouldn’t be the basis for having a family. We will have a family when we are ready, not because we cracked under pressure.
I just wish the society would go easier on women. Regularly, I tell my husband it’s not easy to be a woman. Not only that we bear constant changes and pain in our body, we are also bounded by limitations and expected to blindly follow the unwritten rules of the society. If we do our way, we are judged, condemned and loathe.
My birthday wish is for the society to be kinder. Not only to women, but to everyone, of all ages. We all have our inner struggles and the external pressure brought by the society will only keep us out of balance.
Turning 30 should be a happy occasion, not a dreadful life event that we are scared to arrive. It is a milestone. It should be a celebration of life… for being alive, especially if you are healthy. With this year’s high fatality rate, the society should look more into nurturing stable-minded young adults instead of throwing them into a pressure cooker.