There is an old Filipino saying “wala ka na sa kalendaryo” (you’re no longer on the calendar) typically referring to women (or sometimes men) who are beyond the age 31, which is the highest number you can reach for a calendar month. They usually use this phrase to make you panic if you’re still not married when you reach 31 – “nasa dulo ka na ng kalendaryo, wala ka pang asawa” (you’re already at the end of the calendar but you’re still single). It’s as if when you get beyond the calendar unmarried, you’re doomed.
So, I’m already 31 years old as of a few days ago… and not yet married. I don’t have a boyfriend at the moment. Does that bother me? Not really.
The use of this phrase had become more rare as the years of late, perhaps because most of the people in my generation have started getting married much later than the generations before us. Most of my friends started getting married from age 28 up. Only a very few started families before 25. A lot of my friends right now are still single.
Some older friends and colleagues (belonging to earlier generations) often ask why in this generation most are getting married much later. Maybe it’s because there is the greater desire and need to be financially stable before settling down. Or perhaps it’s because there are so many things to do in the world now besides starting a family. There are so many time- and attention-consuming activities around, like traveling, post-grad education, hobbies, etc. We are more entertained and distracted now with other things, so getting hitched is oftentimes a non-priority.
But that’s not to say we’re not interested in settling down. Personally, it is in my mind and plans for the future, hopefully once I find the right person to spend my life with and raise a family with. However, I am not pressured or panicking even if I’ve already reached the end of the calendar. I’ll let it happen in its own perfect time.
In the advent of the upcoming How I Met Your Mother finale , I actually attempted to binge-watch everything from the first season. I started it around mid-February, and was watching a few episodes each night, but somehow stopped close to the end of the 2nd season. I did not stop because I didn’t like it or out of boredom. I stopped because I liked it so much but it was starting to eat me up emotionally.
I therefore conclude that it’s not healthy for a chronically single, hopeless romantic like me to be binge watching HIMYM. My dreams of going through the entire series before the finale has gone up in smoke. But if I did continue watching it, it would be emotional suicide. I might combust with so much longing for my own Ted.
But where is my Ted? Where is my Tom? Where is my Jonathan? Where is my Matthew? Where is my Alex? When will I ever come face to face with Griffin?
Add to this my random urge to re-read the entire bi-trilogy (yes, two sets of trilogies) of Griffin and Sabine. I am close to the edge of embodying “hopeless” in the term “hopeless romantic”.
The HIMYM ending is coming, whether I like it or not. I’d still love to watch the ending, even if it “breaks my heart”. I may still have a long way to go in my search for the love of my life, perhaps as crazy and complicated as Ted’s search, but I do have to carry on.
One more dilemma is whether i should subject myself to watch “Starting Over Again” in the cinemas. It might be another self-torture decision, but I might consider… but that shall be a separate story on a different occasion.
This may be the first time after such a long time. It’s just a day and I could undoubtly say that I do not dread it any more. No more “Singles Awareness Day”. No more wearing of all black on the day of red. I might just actually wear red tomorrow. It’s not because I am un-single this time around. I’m still single, still waiting and searching (I wonder though which one is more effective). But I guess I’m ready to just enjoy this “holiday” for all it is.
Going out tomorrow night with friends. Nothing fancy. No dates. We’ll have fun. I do not dread going out on Valentines day this time around.
I’m not waiting for flowers or chocolates or romantic gestures from anyone. That will not define my valentines, at least for this year.
I’ve finally lost my antagonism against valentines, and whether there is a reason behind it or not, I welcome it. But in a way it feels so strange and new, but it does feel good. Perhaps I’m just in love with life. Perhaps I am no longer hopeless. Something tells me I’m going to find something good, whether it’s the near or not-so-near future. So maybe, it’s a good time to start enjoying Valentines again this year.
Because the past may be about the future that isn’t in the present yet…
September 7, 2011
Dear love of my life,
I am having breakfast and coffee by my own right now, and I just thought of writing you a letter. How very much I wish you were here with me because I know any morning started with you will just be a wonderful day no matter what. I know you can’t be here now. Not yet.
It would’ve been nice to tell you that I had a nice drive to work today, or maybe even how wonderful the ride was with you driving. I would’ve wanted to tell you about my plans for the day. Imagine all the funny, absurd, geeky, serious, and all other things we could talk about. Imagine how we couldn’t run out of things to talk about. I sweep off all the strawberry syrup and whipped cream I could with my waffle slices, and you don’t mind. We finish our waffles and coffee, and you tell me I could beat Starbucks belgian waffles and coffee anytime. I promise you I’ll cook for you tomorrow, and any other day you would crave for them. We know it’s time to part for the meantime, you walk me to my office and kiss me goodbye. I tell you how much I look forward to see you at the end of the day.
It would’ve been wonderful to spend the morning with you, but I understand why you can’t be here now. You probably are somewhere driving to work alone and just having brewed coffee from the office pantry. You don’t know me yet. You still haven’t found me. I don’t know who you are yet. You could be anywhere.
But don’t mind me yet. I am happily having breakfast by my own at a corner starbucks near the office. Happy, because I know how blessed I already am, even on my own. Happy thinking of a wonderful morning in the future spent with you.
I’m done with my waffles already, but will probably walk back to the office with a half-full cup of latte. I look forward to seeing you when the time comes. 🙂
Every time I go on Facebook, I find around 50% of my friends’ posts are about their babies/kids and/or husbands/wives, and a lot of these coming from my own generation. I can barely relate to most of this now. I’m not quite there yet. There is no boyfriend or husband-to-be, and no babies-in-the-making for the next few. I am honestly enjoying my awesome single life, and a family life is very far from my mind right now.
Am I out of place? I do hope not. I know of a lot of other friends still in the same stage as I, but possibly we’re just being out-posted by those with lovely babies and hubbies/wives. What interesting things can single, child-less people like me contribute to the social media circle? Perhaps a narrative of travels and adventures, but I don’t think its manageable to do that every day. Maybe I can post about food, movies, books, yoga, an what-nots. But for some reason, I know it will all be trumped by the cuteness of all those babies and sweetness of all those lovely partners.
It’s all good. It’s lovely to see all those, and I’m not complaining. I don’t feel envy, I just feel different. I’m still far from being in a similar situation, and I really don’t know how it feels to be starting one’s own family. I still feel so normal and comfortable with who I am and what I have right now, and yet I seem to be approaching and going after very different things compared to most people from my own generation. I hope I don’t seem weird or immature. But this is my reality, and my reality is different. I’ll live with what I have.
At 28, and much more often than before, almost everyone is wondering why am I still single (and uncommitted). It’s a very interesting question, because there really is no particular answer. It’s like asking about the meaning of life, or searching for one’s purpose. Interesting to think up possible answers too, and the following may be the usual retort:
- I just haven’t found him yet…
- I’m focusing on my career first…
- The last one was too horrible…
- I really don’t see the point of being in a relationship…
- I’m non-committal…
- I haven’t found anyone who fits my standards…
- I’m still waiting for that “spark”…
- The one’s I like are as nimble and adventurous as me, and it’s so hard to catch them still…
- I don’t think I’ll still be able to find one in this country…
- It’s none of your business…
Which one do you think is the best answer?
To say the least, I actually would rather not think about it. I don’t want to look at being single as a problem to be solved. I don’t want to spend even the tiniest effort worrying about it. It’s my current state, and as far as I am concerned, it does not limit me from doing or achieving anything. So, why bother? It will come when it should, if it should. If it doesn’t, then there is always another way of living one’s life. 🙂
I may have been standing at that crossroad, unmoving, for the past few months. I’ve spent four years of my life toward one single goal, and after that goal was achieved, I was not quite sure what the next move was. Hence, I remained in my comfort zone, in what is already familiar. I stood at that crossroad for the longest time, until something hard hit me in the head and I was brought back to sense. It was time to move on.
Everyone is asking and wondering why I am leaving. Everyone thought I was happy where I was and I loved being there. They were NOT wrong. I loved the project with all my heart. I don’t think I can ever point to one single reason why I have decided to leave. Perhaps the best explanation I have is that everything in life has a beginning and an end. The stage of my life has brought more than four exciting, challenging, and fruitful years to my quarter-life, but now I have come to its end and it’s time for me to move on to my next adventures.
What do I do now? I can’t jump into specific details yet. I am cherishing the time for myself, and re-experiencing the outside world that I have almost forgotten of these past few years. I have two travels scheduled in the next few weeks to two new destinations, and will definitely immerse myself in that. Christmas season is also approaching, and I do have the option to get into some money-making schemes like I used to back in college. There’s a chance to revive the entrepreneur in me.
I have a new ultimate goal for next year, and I have sworn to give all the needed efforts for that. I’m crossing my fingers and praying to the highest powers to grant me that.
Maybe love too? They may have been joking or serious or both, but everyone’s wishing for me to find a lovelife now that I have moved on (from work). I’ve been single for the last five years, and everyone around me is dying to see me finally be with someone. I am ok by it, but I am in no rush. We’ll get there in time. 🙂
All I can say is, these are exciting times. I am brought back to life again. Wish me luck. 🙂