So to answer the guy’s mother’s question; what am I waiting for?
Truth be told, I don’t think I am waiting around for anything really. I am just merely moving forward with my life with a profound trust that everything will happen the way it is supposed to be. Do I want to grow up and grow old with someone someday? Of course. John Mayer once sang that ‘it is such a waste to grow up lonely’. And I agree. It seems that he too faces the same predicament. But am I going to sit around and deem my life incomplete until that happens? What a preposterous way to live. Every second in your life is invaluable, whether it's with or without someone.
The mistake that most of us make is trying to prove that we’re happy to other people. Trust me, I myself have done that a few times in the past. Especially if you’re single, you tend to feel the need to prove to others that you are just fine. And you can see enough of this on social media. The hashtags ‘#idontneedaman’, ‘#singleandhappy’ or ‘#independantwoman’ are pretty appalling if you ask me. Don’t get me wrong. I am all for being your own woman and such. But having to shout it out aloud just proves how unconvinced you are yourself towards the whole concept.
It is observable that be content with life, you must first and foremost forget about trying to prove people wrong. I used to think about what people might think of me as I hauled a ten-foot mirror out of IKEA alone while everyone else seemed to be helped out by their own respective partners. I also cringed when I wondered how I must seem walking into of the movies alone at the theatre near my house. The truth was, I actually enjoyed doing these things alone, and yet worrying about how I might be perceived always ruins it. One day there might be a time when I can no longer afford a lot of time by myself, so I intend to enjoy it as much as possible. On a different perspective, if I am destined to have to do a lot of things on my own for the most part of my life, it is even more essential to learn to like my own company. I am proud of the fact that I am independent, that I know how plumbing works and what to ask my electrician, how to pay my bills and when to check my car. My parents raised me to be self-sufficient. A man should be cherished for his companionship in life, not so that he could solve all my problems. If I had found someone too soon in my life, perhaps I would have never learned all these valuable lessons. Mind you, I could easily recall a few married girlfriends who would sooner know nothing than what to do in an event where the water tap bursts.
But of course, as human beings go, there are times when I went to panic mode. There was a scene in ‘Sex and the City’ where Miranda, one of the main characters of the show who was single at the time, choked on her own food while alone in her apartment. She revived herself, but then went on a paranoid rant on how she would probably end up dead, alone in her apartment while her cat eats her dead face. I have those panicky moments too. As a precaution I have learned to eat slowly and carefully. I also don't own a cat. On the contrary, I once heard a friend say that she has not had time alone to think for a year, with three children and a husband. So you see, it is perfectly normal to want things from the other side where the grass always seem greener.
One day, I was trying to put together a table that I bought from IKEA. I had never assembled a furniture by myself before. As I was sweating profusely while managing the little tools my Dad got me in a toolbox, a thought suddenly occurred that it would have been so nice to have someone to help me with it. But there wasn't anyone. My parents lived miles away, my friends were unavailable and I was not seeing anyone special at the time. I sat on the floor and stared at the pile of wood panels, feeling sorry for myself. I even aborted my construction for a couple of hours. Eventually I got over it and carried on. It turned out to be one of those prominent moments in my life, looking at the fine desk I have assembled all on my own. It was a validation I needed that I was adequate. As much as I look forward to what may happen, I was just as happy with everything in my life so far. And for me, that is the essence one should ever need to keep in mind to ensure you enjoy your life being single.
A while after the failed matchmaking attempt, the mother of the guy whom I was set up with called me one fateful Saturday morning. She was a nice lady, but she demanded to know what was wrong with her son, and why I did not want to give it a shot. (Insider Tip: Never answer this question. It is a trap and will get you into bigger trouble)
After I wiggled my way out of answering this, she then proceeded to ask me how old I was. I told her I was turning 28. “You’re already 28,” she said. “What else are you waiting for?”
I laughed. But her question haunted me for days. What else am I waiting for?
Sometimes I find myself walking up to the doorstep of my apartment, particularly after meeting someone on a date, feeling slightly overwhelmed. Don’t get me wrong. I love dating and meeting new people. Humans are fascinating. Knowing them at a better depth, discovering their vulnerabilities, hopes and dreams is such a wonderful experience that makes my life so colourful. I love the getting-to-know-you phase, twinkles in the eye and the butterflies. In fact, some of the bigger lessons I have ever learned about life are through knowing someone else. But of course there are times when I end up at my doorstep in the quiet, wondering how many more times.
But then I open the door to my house and find myself strangely happy. There are the rows and boxes of my books that I spend hours reading at my own time. There is the kitchen bar where I would sit and have quiet morning breakfasts, one of my most favourite parts of life. There are picture frames showing the places I have been to and the world I have seen. I love my family. I love my friends. Contrary to popular belief, being single does not mean you spend your days feeling lonely. In fact, I seldom have enough idleness wallowing about what is not my life. I have a wonderful supportive family and a great group of friends who are always there for me despite their own busy lives. All my time is mine. Everything I own are truly mine. And I love it.
By my own standards, I am perfectly contempt where I am. But slowly, there will be these seeps of thoughts that spawn from someone else, telling you this is not enough. There will be two types of people who are interested in your life as a singleton. The first type are those who genuinely care for you and want for you to happy. The second type are those who are just interested to hear your stories of singlehood for their own amusement. The latter will immediately assign a term of reference made of their pre-assumptions about you. Lonely. Feminist. Desperate. Choosy. Trying too hard. Not trying hard enough. That small portion of what they know about you will be the backbone of what they think you are solely about. With time, I have identified these types and no longer tell them anything. They do not deserve to share my vulnerability.
A few days ago I attended an ‘Aqiqah’ (a small get-together to introduce a newborn baby) of a good friend of mine for her first born. Her baby was a precious one, and I was so happy to see her finally being a mother, something she has always wanted to do. But there I was sitting there, secretly grateful that I’m not a mother to anyone today. I always thought I never wanted to get married. I will live a free life and see the world and do whatever I like. But then I turned 27 and changed my mind. Similarly, I’ve never thought of myself as mother. But then, who knows what the future looks like? What I have come to learn is that we always think we know what we want, but our visions of our lives are so fluid and could change in an instant. In that spirit, it suffices to have faith that The Superior always knows exactly what we need and when. And everything will happen at a perfect timing. No more, no less.