'The world is my oyster!,' I thought.
But it gets boring when there isn't a universal constant to share the oyster with.
'She's engaged so she doesn't have to work so hard anymore.' I wasn't supposed to hear it but I did. The news of my engagement brought great joy to everyone but it also brought about some sad misconceptions. The sentence that was blurted out probably stemmed from the belief that marriage is sort of like a dead end for one's ambitions and dreams, especially a woman's. For how can one bloom in her chosen career when she has a newborn baby to carry, children to raise, and a house to look after? Suddenly, the stereotype of a woman in a nightgown and curlers comes to mind. Why would a modern woman choose that when she can look successful, accomplished, secure?
When I heard that statement, the feminist in me winced a little. I've studied, worked, and dreamed so hard during my entire youth to end up with this reputation that just because I've said yes to marriage, I don't need to work anymore since I'll be taken care of by a stable man. Do I really want to be thought of that way? Am I digging my own grave? Now is the time to be honest. It was a great struggle, sometimes it still is. The man I've chosen to spend the rest of my life with is at an age where he's experienced enough to choose commitment. I, on the other hand, am just three years out of university. I've never been promoted. My bank account is collecting dust. I don't have a Master's Degree. It's a world away from where I thought I would be.
And then I look around me. My peers are getting recognized, there are articles about their accomplishments, they can afford trips abroad without any aid from their parents. My ego gets beaten down and its deflation causes a great crisis in me. 'What happened to all our plans?' it screams at me, disgusted at my betrayal. These misconceptions, these thoughts have deceived me many a times that I would turn against myself and question my choice. Even my future husband sometimes suffers from these panic attacks.
In great disdain, I would ask him, 'Why can't we work on our careers first together? Don't you care about my ambitions? Do you even know what it feels like?' So many questions thrown at him but he had only one answer. 'I want to go through life with you and start a family with you.' When he said that, it felt like getting the wind knocked out of me. Here's a man who has chosen me and here I am, kicking and screaming like a spoiled child. What else is there to want when I have found a man who wishes to give up his selfish ambitions and share real love with me instead?
So for once and for all, I had to find peace with my decision to prioritize my marriage over my possible career. I sat down with myself and asked Him to remove all the distractions and fears, the ambitions and plans that don't belong to Him. It took quite awhile but I can never forget the feeling of uncovering the truth. When all the impurities were removed, the only thing left at the bottom of my heart was the tiny dream that was just about to begin. Yes, it was the dream that I shared with my future husband. I cried when I realized it because I felt so free from all the pressures that were being thrown at me left and right, especially the ones from myself.
That's when I realized that not everything that glitters is gold. Some dreams look brighter than others but they're not always full on the inside. Most of the time, it's the plans that you never thought of that are meant to be yours. So yes, I'm engaged. And that means I have to work even harder because I have to jump into something I never thought about doing, at least not this soon. I won't be paid with money or recognition but my gut feeling tells me that my life will be more epic than I ever imagined it to be. Here we go.
(Beautiful painterly swimsuit from Coral Swimwear. More about that next time).