Photo Credit: Asher Schwartz

It’s been four weeks since my last vacation abroad and it’s now one week until my next one. Come on, that’s living!

Whilst I’ve watched most of my childhood friends meet, marry and breed with their husbands, I chose the path of touring the world before my next stage of life begins. As soon as I left seminary, the phone started ringing off-the-hook with’ bubbas’ trying to set me up with their grandsons. Not that I wasn’t flattered but learning how to politely decline the offers became my new niche.

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Not long ago, I walked into the wedding of a distant friend and, as if rehearsed, everyone with a ring on their finger tilted their head in sympathy at their clear disappointment that there were no crying children following closely behind. Honestly, I burst out laughing. Sitting down, they asked how life was treating me; “Grand! I’m off to travel Europe in the morning.” A flurry of “That’s great Selena,”  “make the most of not having a husband,” “you’ll find the one soon” and “don’t worry, we’re here for you” filled the air.

Now, bearing in mind, I’m TWENTY ONE years old, why is the pressure of marriage so prominent? I look at my friends and find it difficult to comprehend why they want to spend their time chasing after running noses when the only thing I chase is plane tickets. Being young, 20-something, single and in employment means you have the opportunity to do anything your heart desires. If I fancied seeing China, there’s nothing stopping me (bank manager permitting).

From infancy, we’re taught in the religious system that our responsibility as women is to settle down, give birth, cook meals, keep our partners happy and enhance our children’s religious education. I am not disagreeing with the importance of these duties but what they seem to forget to teach is that girls have a life between education and marriage. Why this concept is missing amongst my friends and acquaintances, I am yet to fathom.

As time goes on, it seems the age at which girls announce their intention to wed is dropping at a rapid rate. 17-year-olds are children themselves; it still shocks me every time I see a photo of their engagement come up on my Instagram or Facebook feed. I know this is how the religious world operates but even though I am a part of it, I cannot support teenage matrimony. I want to go up to them, shake them from side-to-side and yell, “Really?!”

It makes me sad that they’ll never experience true freedom or adventure. G-d made the world to see, appreciate, respect and marvel at; don’t discard the opportunity to have your breath taken away by such natural beauty time and time again.

In no way am I insinuating the idea to want to settle down is wrong or absurd. If someone truly feels they are ready for bills, mops, wine stains and vacuuming so young, go ahead. But I know for certain that a lot of people around me have a sheitl on their head because they felt the pressure from either family or friends. In fact, dare I say it; maybe this is the reason why divorce between such young couples is so high. Do they really know what they want for the rest of their life when they aren’t even legal to buy alcohol?

If you’re young, single and feeling pressure, take my advice and keep this one rule wholeheartedly:

Do what makes you, irrelevant of anyone else, ridiculously happy.

Malta and Italy – HERE I COME.

 

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4 COMMENTS

  1. I'd like to shake you from side to side and scream "Really?". You have a VERY superficial grasp of Torah, and will probably end up, like a lot of over educated females I know, as a childless single for life, in other words, a "old maid". You need to understand that knowing Torah makes your priorities. But your priorities are being set by your "yetzer hara", the "animalistic" soul, the pleasure seeker. And it will derail your life.

  2. There is nothing wrong with her knowledge of Torah. She didn't say she wants to stay single for all eternity, she only said she wished females were given a couple of years to live a little, and grow up, instead of rushing into marriage at 17. Don't you know that a single woman has much more time to devote to doing good and Torah study, compared to a married woman who must attend to her husband and children, and doesn't have time or energy left to think of higher things? And doesn't it say in the Tanya, that to study Torah is equal to fulfilling all the Mitzvahs?

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