A voice cut through the loud and chattering hullabaloo of the market.  “Aunty Tasha?” I looked across the table in surprise.  

“Oh, hey you…”  

“Wow, it’s been a long time since I saw you last.”  

She smiled, “how are you?”  

“Ah somewhere between blah and meh,” I laughed.  

“Afta, yu gat hamas bebe na, uncle blo wea?”  

Over and over, I am asked to answer the same question. And the thing is, it’s not even a  surprise, it’s such a common question. But why do we still hold such value in the belief that  women should be raised to marry and bear children? I don’t have an issue with marriage,  except for the increasing pressure that is placed on a woman when she reaches a certain  age to be married. As if her worth is somehow tied to wearing a wedding ring, and that  being single after a certain age is seen as a problem. 

But the truth is, there is no problem. There is nothing wrong with being single, strong and  independent. Your life is yours to be lived, even if that looks a little different to what a lot of  people consider to be ‘normal’. People will tell you all that yeng-yeng and see you as “old”  because you are moving past the age where a lot of people do get married. And yet here  you are, independent, smart and taking care of yourself. When you know exactly who you  are, enjoying what you have is a satisfied success. 

Growing up in a society that places great emphasis on marriage and children is a lot of  pressure and has engulfed many women into thinking they are not worthy, not good  enough, feeling unaccepted for their decisions of wanting something else. 

I remember at 24 I was told it was time to consider settling down. And at 25 I was told again  that I must have a child before 30. And I was like, really? Is that all people expect from  young women these days? Is that the only way to measure a woman’s worth? 

So now what? God forbid being single, getting married and bearing children at 30?  

Deciding on marriage is not as easy as picking an apple from a branch; it does not happen  overnight. Neither is deciding to have a child as simple as walking down the street, finding a  random guy and saying, “hey, I want you to give me a baby.” 

While everyone is telling you; you better find someone, you better get married, you better  have children. You hardly hear people telling you, this is how you’ll know if you are ready for  such a commitment. And most women today, we want to hear that. It is never about age or what society expects from you; but the question you must ask yourself; am I ready?  

And the moment you have your answer, you’ll experience this overwhelming peace with  every decision you make.