Okay, so I’ve turned 40 since November 4, 2021. How does it feel? Not so surprisingly, I feel like. I admit that, back in my twenties and thirties, I was a bit anxious imagining this moment. You know why.
Being 40 and single for women in Indonesia requires some serious courage. Most of my people here are still so crazy about getting married A.S.A.P. and having kids as many as possible, no matter what. No joke here.
Before anyone gets the wrong idea about me, here’s the thing:
I’m not anti-marriage. I have nothing against the idea of having kids, as long as you know damn well how to look after them and are fully committed to it. I love kids myself. Although I’ve only got a chance to have babysat my nephews and niece when they were still babies – and I don’t know if I’ll ever have my own one day – I still love them.
Sometimes I hate that I (feel like I) have to explain this again and again. I’m bored with the same damn questions, given by this society I’m still stuck with. Typical, old-school Indonesians. (Mind you, I’m also aware that I’m not that young anymore myself!)
Why are you still single? Why aren’t you married? Don’t you get kind of lonely? If you marry late, you’ll never get to have any children. You won’t be happy. You’ll be lonely.
You’ll die alone …
News flash: we all die alone, okay? It doesn’t matter if you’re happily married, surrounded by your own kids, or aging gracefully while having your kids and grandkids with you. You can’t take any of them with you to your grave. You can’t ask them to come with you too. They don’t want to anyway, so why would you?
It’s funny how people who claim to be religious can also act like such annoying know-it-alls. They think they know what I want, what I need, and how I feel. They act as if they can predict my (dark) future.
Don’t be surprised that I’ve cut some really toxic people off. Don’t be surprised too that I choose to stay quiet and pretend to be deaf and dumb most of the time to stupid questions and rude comments. Honestly? I’m fed up with such people. They’re so stuck-up, judgmental, and unbearably annoying.
Were You In A Coma Before Turning 40?
I also find this phrase rather problematic:
“Life begins at 40.”
Why? What does that even mean? Were you in a coma before turning 40? What?
So I did a little bit of fun searching online. I found a self-help book with the same title by Walter B.Pitkin. “Life Begins at 40”. Originally published in 1932 – and I’ve never read it yet. Honestly, I’m not even sure I’m interested in it. Maybe it’s my cultural background – or that I just don’t find it relevant to my life.
Then, there are other sources with different interpretations. Some say it means “life becomes better after 40 since one usually has already got enough skills and experiences to go through life”. What skills and experiences? How relevant are they, since there are also new skills many of us are expected to possess – especially in such a short time, thanks to this digital era?
I’ve known some women who choose not to reveal their real age online once they turn 35+. They hide their age on their social media profiles for many reasons:
“I want them to guess my age.”
“I don’t want them to know my real age.”
“My age is irrelevant for anyone to know.”
“I’m single and from (insert an Asian country here). I hate it when people ask me about my marital status or assume this and that about me.”
I understand them all. Been there, done that myself. I’ve always loved the idea of letting people guess my real age. It is kind of fun at first. I love their shocked expressions when they learn that I’m actually much older than they think I am.
Sometimes that little game bores me too. I also try to stay away from people who ask such intrusive questions, especially when they give me no clear reasons why. It’s still my choice not to answer, after all.
There are exceptions, though. For example: if you’re interested in me and would like confirmation regarding my availability, you’re welcome to ask. Still, whether you’ll receive a ‘yes’ or a ‘no’ is entirely up to me. Hehehe …
Age Is Just A Number
“Age is just a number. It doesn’t always define one’s maturity.”
I had a talk with one of my best friends about this. I’ve also said something similar – especially to myself – a few times before.
Yes, I completely agree with that statement. Maturity is definitely a personal choice. It’s when you realize that not everything in life is all about you.
For me, life doesn’t begin at/after 40. It continues. Every second of your life matters.