That social expectation
This article is a tribute to those things that we cannot control but we choose to be in content with them.
You know when you were younger, you’d be perplexed why some older people just don’t get married?
Now I am older, and hopefully wiser, I gain some perspective on this matter.
It is all what we look up to, we look up to our parents ultimately who had us (by choice or not), to our grandparents who had our parents, our aunts, our uncles — whom all had some and had been begotten. Then by the time our cousins whom we knew from growing up, found their soulmates and continue this seemingly natural pursuit, almost dutifully, to grow up, have some education, get married, have children, and the children will follow suit. It is the cycle of life, they say
But if we look hard enough, there are exceptions to this rule. If we look hard enough there are people around us who chose, or in the end, be content, of their situation and live their lives the way they would.
Of course, it is very easy to fall back to societal expectation, religiously sliding into depth of insecurities for we haven’t found our other half, or haven’t produced the legacy that we long for. Please know words like legacy and other half are a conception we created to justify, and to romanticize, albeit justly, the struggles of building a nucleus family on our own. They are an achievement of their own; they invite serenity and certain stability to our collective lives, mutually or exclusively.
But those words like legacy and other half, on the other hand, imply that being alone is a bad thing, a sad, sad thing. It demands action so our lives are liberated from being alone and lonely.
But we are never alone, aren’t we? The world is big, but never big enough for us to be completely alone. We are still surrounded by people, and hopefully, people who love us for us. While other half is as important, taking in bits and pieces from others to make us whole is as important too. While having a legacy is undeniably fulfilling, nobody says it should be biological. Our legacy could be whatever we say, wrote, or anything that left our mark on this temporal earth. Our legacy could be a memory that we leave. Our legacy doesn’t have to live long, it just has to exist, apart from us.
Then it is true what they say, the best of people is those who benefit others.
A scholar who wrote books and generate knowledge that is still quoted and referred to for centuries;
An uncle who chose to be single to help raising his single-mother sister with six kids;
A pair of husband-and-wife who teaches generations of kids;
Or one who tries to live day by day, touching other people’s lives as one goes by;
The key of being content with life is to be kind to yourself and others. And this is always being easier said that done, especially when our evolutionary biological nature kicked in, being selfish is sometimes more rewarding — and it does reward with happiness.
But being happy is overrated because life has its ups and down. Let us strive to make peace with ourselves and with our circumstances. Whether we are married, or single, from a content family, or a broken one, let us embrace ourselves, the good and the bad, just like the words of Shang-Chi’s Mom (which I just only recently watched) or probably some old adage that the writers inserted. These kind of things are hardly original.
And so are our lives. Within the 7 billion souls on earth at the moment and hundreds of years of others who trodded the world before us, our lives are hardly original and it could be some stories of many others had faced.
That is the reason that we may never live in a vacuum unless we actively choose it and it is not a default struggle.
That is why we learn. That is how we live.