Thursday, February 11, 2010

I'm 23

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.

15 comments:

  1. this is another opportunity for me to tell you that you should try communicating these feeling to real life friends. I see that you are putting your heart and soul into expressing these opinions, but we the readers will probably never be able to break through the wall of the apparently necessary anonymity into your real world to help you. Cyber communications and blogging is not the best thing for you right now. It might work only for alleviating the daily stress and challenges, just like writing in a personal diary. I so wish I could help you...

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  2. One of my real life friends is reading this blog.

    *shout out to real life friend :) *

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  3. "I stay. I wait. I'm only 23."

    True 23 is still young, it's crazy that people make you feel old. Another way to look at it is that you've already made it 23 years doing what you think is right, why change now?

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  4. Yes, 23 is still young and flexible. At least do not settle in your ways and try to be that romantic young soul befitting of the early 20's. Get to know more women, and your romantic personality will make them want to find a romantic soul mate for you.

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  5. 1. I didn't start dating until I was 23.

    2a. I've gotten married and I hated it.
    2b. I've met a lot of agunas who are yearning to get divorced.
    2. Marriage isn't ideal for everyone. I don't think marriage shouldn't be a goal. It should just be a natural consequence of having a serious relationship with someone you already love.

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  6. No offense. I have been following your blog. i like your writing- I never imagined you were 23 I thought you were at least 28. wow you are young. take a chill.

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  7. To the anonymous commenter that told the author to "take a chill"

    While 23 is indeed young, it still is very difficult to be at an entirely different stage of life than all of your friends for about four years now. It's also an uneasy feeling being in a "limbo" place in society, not part of the young fresh daters, not part of the new mothers and wives...

    In any case, it is always wrong to invalidate someone's feelings, regardless of whether or not you feel like they are exaggerated. Have some heart, while something may not be a "big deal" to you, it may mean the world to someone else.

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  8. to Yocheved:
    I am actually a 24.5 yr old single girl. And know exactly what she is going through. I always thought the blogger was at least 30 the way she spoke. So it was just a shock to find out she is younger than me. Did not mean to be insentive.

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  9. and all my friends are married with children.....

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  10. I realy wish I could help you find someone. I do daven for you even though I dont know who you are. You sound like a great girl.

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  11. While 23 is indeed young, it still is very difficult to be at an entirely different stage of life than all of your friends for about four years now.

    While some friendships are lifelong, they are the exception. Friendships evolve and mutate. Marriage is not a magic pill that will get anyone "back together" with friends who got married first. You do need to be in situations where you make new friends with people you have things in common with. And after you are married and have children, your friendships will continue to evolve and change, because your life experiences will not mirror those of any other person.

    As to the chareidi/modern issue, chareidi society is very intolerant of anyone who is not following a very particular path, even if not by choice. Just something to consider.

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  12. I was also shocked to find out that you are 23. 23!!! That is very, very young! I am sure I am not the first one to tell you that you should enjoy this time (or any other time) of your life; it is probably easier said that done. But being miserable won't bring your bashert faster. There's more to you than your marital status and the number of children you bore. And being single is sooooo much more preferable than being in a bad marriage. Please, take a deep breath, have trust in Hashem that things will happen at the right time, and avoid thinking of yourself as an older single. (btw, I agree with tesyaa. all friendships evolve.)

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  13. For someone who is just about to turn 24, with quite a large number of my friends, both my own age and younger already engaged/married - not to mention graduated and moved on from YU - I can totally empathize. Though I will say that I actually prefer dating girls who are my own age (unlike the cradle-robbers) - so such guys do exist, if that's a concern.

    Feelings of defeat and continual sadness are enemies like no other. As hard as it is to stay positive (and believe me, I can understand this quite well), that is the key to maintaining a daily happiness, despite the loneliness that stems from being single.

    As Kohelet says, we should recognize everything good in our lives for what it is - matat Elokim, a gift from G-d, and be thankful for that which we have. Singlehood isn't doom, but a chance to better yourself and perfect your middos as best as you can - thereby becoming the best person you can be when you do enter marriage.

    While we may not understand the difficulties in our lives, G-d certainly has some greater plan in store... and the future is always in motion.

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  14. Sweet Heart, you are 23, not 32, 23 is VERY YOUNG!! don't get trapped in some unhappy marriage unless you know what you are doing. this is an advice from a gentile, so you don't have to take it.

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