Laughing It Off

by jdeena

This past weekend I attended my good friend’s son’s wedding. It was such a fun wedding and we had a blast dancing and seeing some old friends. It was a traditional Palestinian wedding, so I knew that being single would be cause for conversation with some of the older crowd.

I was sitting at the table with my friends, a young couple, and the husband had brought his mother. She was the typical older Palestinian mom, and I loved hearing her accent because it reminded me of my own family. She had a woman about her age sitting next to her (I assume a lady she knew). After we all had settled in at our table, she asked her son who my friend and I were. He introduced us, and right after that she asked me “Are you married?” I told her no, I wasn’t, and she said that I “looked like” I was married. I asked her if that meant I looked older or what, and she said no, she just thought I was married. I told her no, I wasn’t, and so she asked me how old I was. I told her 33 (I will be in a few weeks anyways), and she jumped. She was so shocked I said that, but not because she thought I looked younger than that.

No….she proceeded to say “no, no, we don’t want someone that old, we want five kids!” I was confused at first, but then it dawned on me: she thought that because I was single, that meant automatically that I wanted to get married. LOL….I literally laughed out loud. I died. I looked at her and told her, no, I actually don’t want to get married, but thank you anyways. She asked me why, and I told her I was happy in my life and had a good job, and it wasn’t something I wanted right now.

She seemed to think I was lying, but the woman next to her told her that it was perfectly okay for me to want that and to be happily single. THANK YOU strange woman sitting at our table!

It wasn’t until I told my mom that story later on (and she laughed until she had tears in her eyes) that I realized something: usually a comment like that would have had me feeling offended. I’d have felt inadequate somehow, like it was my fault to be this old and still single. But I didn’t care. I laughed…and it felt good to not be bound by those thoughts or expectations. For the first time that I can remember, I felt free and happy, even with that comment directed at me.

That made me feel even more confident about the decision I made just 4 years ago. The promise I made to myself after my last major relationship ended was to work on myself and to become confident and independent. There is no validation that feels better than knowing that I am happy with being alone. It doesn’t mean I want to stay that way forever, but in the meantime, I can enjoy my own company and not feel like something is missing.

So that’s today’s lesson, ladies. Get to the point in your life where- as a single woman- you can laugh it off when people call you old, or tell you that you will not be able to have so many kids at your age. Honestly, it is the only way to deal with a situation like that. Besides, who wants to be miserable all time anyways? Laughter really is the best medicine.

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