“This awkwardness comes from their expectation of you to be married with kids with a six figure by now.”
Thanksgiving is a wonderful time where you get to overeat and be lazy for an entire day. It is truly my favorite holiday because my inner fat girl gets to let her light shine. I have my loose jeans ready for the party and my workout schedule set up for next week to lose the ten pounds I’m about to gain in one day. Although Thanksgiving is a glorious time for binge eating and binge tv watching, it can be awkward if you spend it around family members you only see on that holiday. This awkwardness comes from their expectation of you to be married with kids with a six figure by now. I mean you are almost thirty with two degrees so something has to be wrong with you if you haven’t acquired the husband, family, and first home.
I always thought I was exempt from this conversation because I grew up with a warden for a mom. My mom was Madea on steroids. She was a nutcase. I couldn’t do my own hair until I was eleven, I couldn’t go to functions unrelated to school until I was sixteen, and I couldn’t date until I was seventeen. For a long time, my mom hated all men I dated because she felt no one was good enough for her baby girl. It wasn’t until this year, at 29, she actually offered to hook me up with someone. I was shocked! Bamboozeled! Smeckledorfed! (If you watched Spongebob back in the day, you feel me on my last two descriptions.) I was shocked for two reason: 1) My mom hated the idea of me dating so why would she ask me that. 2) She tried to hook me up with someone who was 40!!! Dang mom, you think I’m desperate out here in these streets?! On top of the dating comment, many family members have asked when I’m going to get a “real job” instead of me pursuing my calling in writing and speaking life into you lovely people. (It’s so funny how people interpret your life by your job title and relationship status instead of your level of happiness and fulfillment.) At that point, I realized that everyone has these secret assumptions about where they thought my life should be. They think I should be in a relationship that’s leading to marriage and at some “stable” desk job, completely ignoring the passion and drive I have and success attached to what I am pursuing.
The way our family thinks will prompt certain questions at the Thanksgiving gathering. These questions include but are not limited to:
- When are you getting married?
- Are you planning to have kids? You’re almost 30, you can’t wait too much longer.
- Are you still interested in men? (Old folks are shady.)
- Are you still single?
- Do you still have your little *insert your business you’re passionate about*?
- When are you going to put your degree to use?
- What happened to *insert trashy ex here*?
Depending on how close you are to your family, these questions can come from the heart or they can come from the shade, either way, you can be prepared to answer them honestly and without irritation. I can’t give you an answer to all the questions because everyone’s situation is different and we all will answer differently depending on who is asking, but I can prepare your mind so you’ll be in a better space going into these atmospheres.
Here’s what we must consider…
The generational differences: It seems like generations are changing quicker than ever before. I am a Millennial so my life looks a lot different than my 50 year old mom’s life. They grew up in “The American Dream” era. They went to school, graduated, got a great job and lived happily ever after. Well I came out of college during the recession so my life looked nothing like that. I had to claw my way into a job that had nothing to do with my major, just to pay bills. I had to create opportunities for myself. Women also have way more independence and freedom. We can get the same job as men and make more money than men. Women in the past needed a man to survive. They couldn’t get the same jobs so they were forced to stay with their parents until they were married off. Then when they were married, many had to deal with mistreatment because they didn’t have the option of divorce because how would they take care of themselves? Today, we don’t have to settle for a man or a career because our journey looks different. So when they ask why you aren’t married or why you’re still single, explain to them that your life doesn’t revolve around a man or a structured lifestyle because your focus is on happiness and that isn’t directly correlated to marriage or a stable career.
Understand what will make you happy: People get so caught up in the expectations of others that they forget what will actually make them happy. Family members and friends have a way of projecting their wants and needs unto you. They will tell you that you need a man because that’s what’ll make you a woman or that you need kids in order to be fulfilled when all the while, you’re happy where you are. Don’t get caught up in what other people deem as happiness. Make sure you’re constantly checking yourself and not letting their inner insecurities be projected unto you. Ask yourself questions like “Am I even ready for marriage or kids?” “Do I even want a big house, I hate cleaning?” Keep your life into perspective. Don’t allow the opinions of others to make you unhappy about your life.
“We all have stuff that’s “to be determined”. Don’t feel bad for not knowing because sometimes, you really just don’t know.”
You don’t have to have the answers: At a certain age, we have this false belief that we’re supposed to have it all together. That’s a whole lie. Everyday we wake up is another opportunity to get it right. God never said by 30 you’ll be whole or by 50 you’ll be ready to retire. Delete this detrimental mindset. Most of the people who ask you these questions didn’t even have it figured out at your age. That’s why they’re having midlife crisis and extremely depressed in their old age because they tried to force their puzzle pieces to fit when they never really did. Continue to give yourself time to figure it out. No one is perfect, not even your shady aunt with the expensive purse and shoes. We all have stuff that’s “to be determined”. Don’t feel bad for not knowing because sometimes, you really just don’t know. Give them a good Elmo shrug and keep it moving.
I hope this helps you get through the awkward family dinners this holiday season.Now you can get your Thanksgiving clapback on in peace. When they ask you how come you’re still single, ask them how come they still don’t have any edges. Jk jk, but seriously, have a happy Thanksgiving and save me a plate.
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