Facebook has this thing where it reminds you of how not so cool 16 year old you was (that’s if you are a 90s baby who started using Facebook in its earlier days). Facebook memories would humble you. On a day when you are feeling yourself, you’ll be reminded of how far you have come from short hand filled sentences and cringing poses to your 2017 self. But memories can also remind you of how much you have retrogressed as a person. Probably not the right word but retrogression might be apt depending on how you want to look at it.
16 year old me said some things that gets me worried today. From my opprobrious views on some issues to the quixotic ideals I held on to. But 16 years old me also said some things and believed strongly in some ideals that 23 year old me has lost touch with. 16 year old me strongly believed in love even though he was as single as the number 1. 16 year old me planned on getting married at age 24. So when 23 year old me hears the words “When are you getting married”, he panics. He might dispel it, but a part of him panics for a second.
The past few months have been a cornucopia of weddings. It seems like everyone I know got married over the period or is getting married sometime soon. I emceed two of these weddings and was a hungry guest at the rest. Beyond the joy, food and beautiful folks who grace all of these weddings, one other thing never fails to make an appearance. “When are we coming for yours” is the one question we all never fail to pose to friends and acquaintances at these weddings.
Like clockwork, you are asked this question the minute you make an appearance. It sometimes takes another variation. “Your friends are all getting married oo”. Sometimes it is harmless drubbing. I have personally been caught a tad too many times mocking friends with this question. But harmless or not, this question carries some amount of unspeakable weight to it. It is like a spear poking you from the back, urging you to jump off a cliff into a life of matrimony, blissful or otherwise.
23-year-old me might have lost touch with his younger self who was high and inebriated on hopeless romanticism and everything to do with matrimony. But 23-year-old me still wants to get married someday, eventually. I still want to jump off that cliff hand in hand with someone who swept my feet and will be comfortable with my early morning breath. But I want to do it without a spear poking me in the back. I want to find “The One”, I want to get to know her and do all the things people struck by cupid’s arrow do. But how can I find “The One” if I have not found myself?
It is probably coming off as philosophizing over my single life but if one thing is true about dating or pre-dating, then it is the fact that you cannot find “The One” if you have not found yourself. Our individual conceptions of “The One” are in a lot of ways rooted in a reflection of the values we cherish and material things we want. “The One” is a prototype we create in our minds to meet standards we have internalized over the years. “The One”, whoever it is we ideally want to end up with, is a summation of things we wish we had, features we see as necessary, values we want to live with eternally and mindset we think we cannot live with. “The One” is a balance of some proportions, of the things you’ve allowed to seep into your mind from your religious scriptures, Hollywood, peers and family. Or you could save yourself all the stress and just find Someone.
In my everyday lowkey journey of finding “The One”, I am learning more and more about the need to find myself first. I am setting standards for myself, questioning previous standards I have always held and re-standardizing as I go along. This “finding” process is bringing clarity on several things. Like why I act aloof a few minutes after being loud and all over the place. These little things go a long way in informing who “The One” is. It will shatter the ridiculous standards you have previously held because when you think about it, you will not meet them yourself if they were imposed on you.
So when will you be coming for my own? I really do not know. It might be soon or somewhere in the distant future. I cannot give an answer to that. My 16-year-old self is probably sad right now looking at all his teenage dreams vaporize into thin air. But sometime from now, he will be looking in on me happier I believe. He will see a man who has figured out more about himself than he previously knew and man who sees more in a wife beyond a sexual partner, cooking servant and a Fajr salat alarm clock. He will see a man who has found a wife in a best friend, I pray.
(image credit:armeyaw debrah)