In the Philippines, when you are in your mid-20s, late 20s, 30s and STILL single or in a relationship but not yet married, you will be often asked with the most popular question in town, “When are you getting married?” Some people (including me) would just respond jokingly as they tease and ignore it afterwards but some seem to be pressured about it. Sadly, marriage and relationships have become a thing people like teasing with. All I could think of now is to draw an example just to illustrate why that millennial you know has been single for a while.
I come from middle-class family. In my country, you are in middle-class if you eat meal three times a day and you have a shelter. I have siblings mostly younger than me (we are 10 by the way and I love it!). After my graduation, I took upon myself to help my younger sisters and brothers next to me so that they can also help the younger ones next to them later on. In order to help my two sisters and one brother pay for tuition fees, I have two jobs in a day. I worked as an English teacher at an international academy during the day and worked as an online teacher at night for another company. Fortunately, none has been compromised. I was younger, stronger, and full of energy. On weekends, I attend postgraduate classes for my first master’s degree and evening classes for my PhD units. I chose to invest on these for my professional growth and career development. Some days are good, some days are not–it is normal. Between Fridays and Sundays after regular classes, I would attend my support youth group for social activities and some volunteer work. I have been happy. For more than 8 years, I have embarked myself into investing my time and resources for what I perceived to be ‘short-term pain for long-term gain’. Now that I think about it, I could not even imagine how I did all of those at the same time. I thank God for sustaining me.
During that same period, I also had my share of infatuation, love, and courtship at that but I would always choose to pause, think well and exit gracefully. While the world kept screaming “you should do this and do that,” I stayed calm, remained focused, and committed to my goals. It doesn’t mean I wanted to be single all my life that I ignored that particular episode of student life. Being single is a choice when you know your priorities. Nonetheless, I would not skip a day praying for ‘the man’ and that while I wait, I keep learning how to improve myself as a woman worthy of such great man. ‘Duty first before pleasure’ is what my dad always told me when I was a child.
Yes, I am 20-something and not yet married but during these years of my life, I have created many beautiful memories with a bunch of people that I would never regret about nor traded with anything or anyone else. Within 8 years after college, I managed to have a good professional record. I have travelled the North, East, West, South beyond my imagination. I have enjoyed my hobbies i.e. music, trekking/hiking, jogging, photography, blogging, planning, etc. I have learned new skills (and still working in-progress) i.e. data analysis, graphic design, WordPress, YouTube, videography, video editing, cooking (umm… m-maybe Filipino food haha), etc. I have learned more about financial literacy. Life is not perfect but the journey is beautiful. It took me a long time to get to where I am but just as my fellow singles out there, I am not even worried about getting married.
As a teenager, my thoughts to guard my heart were:
- Sometimes, it is better to be single and happy than to be double (in a relationship) and miserable.
- Study hard and work hard before you study heart. While love is very important, love alone does not pay bills.
- Instead of making that long list of your ideal Mr/Ms. Right, why not be the kind of person you want to have. If he/she is more than what you are.. that is the bonus.
..I may be wrong, I may be right.
Where I am now is the product of the previous small and big decisions I’ve made and the consequences of the courses of action that I’ve taken. Right now, I am enjoying my life learning and exploring various things as a Filipino scholar in New Zealand. Thankfully, I could still help at home and save up a portion while I can still study and explore this beautiful country. I am no longer that teenager anymore but I grew up thinking that being single (at 20-something) is still not a big deal at all. Being happy is.
In summary, people stay single because of priorities, preferences, and choices. If you think you are prepared to be married–including the challenges and responsibilities that go along with it, go ahead; If you’re happy being single, then embrace it; If you are in a relationship and have been waiting, be joyful always as you pray about it. Marry when you’re holistically ready. You deserve to be happy. Live life to the fullest.
👣The Official Traveler