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.