They are only 23. They are coming back from India, becoming students and waitresses, living life step by step, vaguely thinking of plans for the future. They are still young.
I'm 23 already. I should be married, should be a mother; should have settled down, moved on. I shouldn't be in this position. I'm an older single.
You suggest evenings for single girls, events arranged specially for those left on the shelf. I tried them. I went to Shiurim, organized for girls "in my situation".
It felt like stepping back in time, back to my schooldays. I'm used to boardrooms and conferences now, not classrooms where we sit in rows, like good little girls, and are lectured to on why we should be brave, have faith, on how there is a light at the end of the tunnel.
It felt like a quasi support group, where all that united us was our unmarried status.
There's more to me, than being single. There's more to life, than waiting to get married.
So I'm 23. I'm not a spinster, of the Victorian era. I'm not an old maid, sitting on the shelf. So I'm not married, not a mother yet. I'd like to be, I'm not. But I am young, nontheless, all the same.
There's a world out there, there's a life ahead. There's more than being a hanger on, at the fringes of society, tagging on to couples and families. There's more than being an older single, seeking comfort with the others who struggle.
What I search for is acceptance as an adult, with an adult's life, despite not having the marital trappings, despite my flat stomach, and bare finger.
There is a different world, where I can be me. Where I can travel and study and experience. Where I don’t need to count the days, the months, the years that pass, while I'm in limbo.
I have one foot in it, already. Yet if I step out, into that world, I'm stepping further from my ideals, my life's ambitions, further away from what I truly want. The world outside is not what can fulfill my dreams, of a simple, focused, home, and a family, and a husband who learns Torah.
So I stay where I am. I don't become a student again, taste life on campus. I don't quit my job, and try out living in NY. I don't backpack across Europe, meeting strangers on the way.
I stay. I wait. I'm only 23.
4 days ago