I got married on the stroke of 30 and it wasn't planned. Growing up I thought I would be married at 23 for what reason I can't remember, then I moved the expiry date of my self -inflicted singleness to my 27th year because of something some girl I don't remember said that made 27 sound a cool age to get married. Although I put these ages down as expected times of arrival in the land of marital bliss, when I got to each milestone I didn't want to get married.
It had become less about when and more about when I felt ready. Then it became less about when I felt ready to who I would marry because I had adopted the commonly slung around ideology that when you meet the right person he will make you feel ready to take that step with him.
Let me back track a bit to age 17 when I looked around at the dating scene which was rife with girls of secondary school age professing to be kept women and girls playing house with university students for whom it was convenient, and I decided that it wasn't for me. I remember agreeing with myself that I wanted to get to know who I was for myself first before some guy defined me and maybe put a label on me that had nothing to do with me except to serve himself or justify his perception. I didn't want to be labelled a second opinion of myself without first getting to form my own opinion of myself, by myself.
And "by myself" meant exactly that so I didn't get into boys early and by the time I paired up it was at the over ripe age of 24! I hadn't planned on waiting that long and I blame it on encountering the small issue of being cast in the mold of "she can't be single, sure she has a boyfriend' for my looks and the even more sobering perception formed by one male friend - "you look like you have it all sorted, like you don't need a man" for my confidence. By the time I was ready, the guys around me had found other interests having made failed attempts, the interested ones didn't get it up to ask while some others who did, I found unsuitable.
Plus I was picky and picky girls, quick brides do not make. Thus I missed 23 and 27 non challantly but as 30 beckoned I certainly started laying wishes on shooting stars and birthday cake candles to be married at 30 and again not for any of the conventional reasons like biological clocks or passing time. It just felt like a tidy age to end one chapter and head into the next. It was also the age I fully accepted my maturity and felt more adult than child. Finally the confidence that I had been waiting for to handle marriage arrived like breasts programmed to manifest at puberty.
I now had an answer to all the "what ifs" that used to plagued a younger me -I was woman enough. Woman enough to handle in-laws, take care of a home, and navigate the dynamics of that much yoked a relationship. I had put faith in the fact that I could form any word the future would demand with the meagre 26 alphabets I had learned. And with words I could form sentences.
My filter for who to date or consider marriage material had also metamorphosed. I came to admit that although I often boasted about how I could instinctively tell the intentions of every male who came my way by some feminine super power which allowed me to see their soul, I realised that this was a presumptuously vain way of telling people apart and I needed to give people more of a chance. I admitted that my filter (the glasses with which I was seeing the world of males) could be faulty. For instance good was good, good didn't have to be saintly and nice was nice, nice didn't have to be subservient.
Maybe all these internal changes had something to do with it or did not but soon I was heading to the altar and by the time I arrived at my wedding day just months after celebrating the big three- o, it wasn't the giddy, starry-eyed 23 or 27 year old me with great expectations (another term for unrealistic expectations) that showed up.
All my disillusionment from my 20s about prince charming and knights in shiny armour had cleared. I knew what I was getting myself into and yes in that sense in which people use the phrase- I knew it wasn't an easy thing to be had- this happily married life.
I wasn't looking across at my groom with love blinded eyes neither did I have left any of those soul mate ideologies upon which people make statements like "we were meant to be". My eyes had been opened to the fact that we were both imperfect people capable of both hurting and loving each other and meaning to be would be a more helpful philosophy to get us through our journey than believing we would for the flimsy reason that we were meant to.
I couldn't be 20 about it knowing what 30 had taught me. Because of things like this and knowing there would be days like this. So I am happy with the way it turned out- I was a 30s bride. It was not too early or too late, it was just right- when I was ready!