The South Asian “now it’s time to settle down” statement after graduation has become infamous.
For the most part, the statement has become a joke amongst a younger generation that doesn’t buy into the same notion of there being a Right Time, but that doesn’t change how earnestly the statement is said.
Here’s why it doesn’t make sense that the Right Time to get married or even start looking would be straight after graduation.
The logic that is often utilized during these conversations is that the first twenty-odd years of your life weren’t the right time to be on the lookout for a significant other because education had to be your priority. “Getting friendly” with someone during your school days or having “special friends” were largely frowned upon, and involved a web of deceit in order to pull it off (shoutout to the many relationships that flourished and died without any parent knowing who their offspring was pledging their undying love to).
The focus on education will last right up until you graduate university and get handed your diploma and that’s when suddenly the stars align and It. Is. Time.
Aunties go from asking you about school and your career plans to rooting out prospective husbands. Rising up out of the cracks to tell you about these nice boys (men) that they know of that have no other compatibility besides….existing at the same time?
While education does need to be a priority for many of the early years of any individual’s life, education isn’t a dead-end that can be ticked off a bucket-list as soon as your diploma gets handed to you. It’s not a title you can stick in the matrimonial section of the Sunday newspapers.
If anything, life post-graduation is when you really need to be focusing on yourself. Figuring out what you want to do and where you want the education you worked for to take you.
The part of your life where you’re working towards your goals isn’t over once you take off the cap and gown. There’s no way to overstay your welcome or reach a limit on your own personal goals. What the Right Time is ignoring is that none of us are going to university for 3, 4, 6(!) years just to make our exit and go straight down the aisle.
Even the many people who don’t actually believe that marriage is an immediate priority still perpetuate the notion that post-graduation is The Time to Start Looking.
Aunties please, we had more time and opportunity to interact with people our own age back in the education stage. Post-grad, we just want to be employed. So thank you for the heads up about prospective SO’s being around every corner just waiting to be discovered, but now is not the time.
The whole concept seems to belittle the career trajectory a woman may aspire to, and subscribe to a reality that was valid just a few generations ago when there was no way a woman could support herself or be economically independent without being married, but this is simply not the case anymore. Now, more than ever, young people can choose to be equal partners in life. A step in the right direction for all genders, and rendering the Right Time to be married a myth.
There is no doubt in my mind that there are good intentions behind the preaching of the Right Time. It’s based on their own experiences and a belief that life isn’t truly complete without being married and producing offspring. But times have changed and there’s more than one way to find independence and fulfilment in life.
There’s also no better time than post-graduation to figure out exactly who you are as an individual, and how you want your life to be before you consider conscientiously stepping out to find someone to complement that (or discover that you don’t want that at all).
There’s no Right Time, the time is right when you want it to be.