Adulting 101 · Tête-à-tête · Wri-therapy

Of Single shaming, Guilt Tripping, and Travelling

About a few months ago, a mom friend of mine volunteered me into an activity committee because I’m single and apparently she thinks I’ve got all the time in my hands. Same friend who quipped “don’t tease Kea into getting married, look how fun her life is“, during another event. I don’t know how she even got myself in the topic.

There is a tiny bit of panic in me whenever I see her, because I dont know what she’ll blurt out this time. It’s like, she’s single shaming me, unintentionally. I just cannot vouch if I will be in a pleasant mood to be obligatory pleasant next time because I might just snap. Honestly, a 5-min run in with her tires me out. She exhausts me and I try to keep the conversation going, you know for pleasantries as the unspoken rule of the suburban society, but I’m afraid my transparent face gives me away. It’s not my fault she got impregnated and got married at 21 and it’s definitely not my fault that I am single at 33. Every run in, or occassion where we both attend, creeps a little panic in me. Like I cannot be in the same room alone with her, because her negative energy is contagious. I don’t know if it’s her face, the tone of voice, her facial expression, her aura, body language, and so forth, but maintaining a conversation with her for 10 minutes felt like I’ve ran a whole round in an oval field.

Yesterday, while being a responsible adult (it has to be said), I received a phone call from a family friend who’s retiring from service at 65 years old. I helped her with her UK visa application and during the conversation, she said that she’s going to travel while she can, like most of the retired colleagues nowadays, because she said even though they got money, sometimes traveling is not possible anymore. Their bodies cant take it. The jetlag, all the walking, the culture immersion.

Which reminded me of a friend who flew alone to Japan. She told me “Kea, I’m telling you, I’ve seen these rich women who are in Kyoto and they can’t climb up because they’re already old. I don’t want to wait til I’m rich before I enjoy my travel because I might be too old and too tired to enjoy it!” The very next year, my sister and I were in Kyoto climbing up, enjoying the view, the cold weather, the tea tasting and every thing about it.

This year we’ve had a couple of unfortunate events such as the robbery and the intruder. This year I also cant seem to catch a promo ticket to a new destination when my counterpart colleague has been booking tickets left and right. It’s not like I did not see a promo ticket, it’s just that I’m eyeing a specific destination this year and it doesn’t seem to open up. I keep thinking, maybe this year is not meant for travel as I have spent a lot of money securing my peace of mind.

I look at my financial aspect and it’s not like I’m living recklessly. In fact I am aware that I am being a responsible adult. My financial goal slipped due to an unfortunate event but I’m trying my best to get it back. I guess that means I have to put my travel plans on hold.

I do get guilt-tripped sometimes. This year I’ve taken swimming lessons and stuck to it that I make time for practice after I have finished my beginner’s course. While as the eldest child and as an adult with responsibilities, for others it may seem like “Wow, she really has all the time in the world” as swimming takes a lot of effort such as driving myself to the training pool, changing into swim suit and showering after, then driving back. I mean, I could’ve chosen an easier, faster, and low maintenance fitness routine- slash-“Me Time” like jogging or brisk walking as the track and field oval is literally just 5 minutes from my office. But I fell in love with swimming, it’s one of my fears for the longest time that I was able to successfully face this year and I never thought I would still learn at 33 when kids have taken the lessons up when they were 7 years old.

And I see this certain friend on social media with financial loans here and there just to fund their travel. I don’t want to be that kind of person, who gets into debt just to fund a lifestyle. I keep thinking, this person does not really have adulting responsibilities (parents in the pink of health and in the height of their careers, single, lives with family, almost all siblings are now working) I’m pretty sure that this person doesn’t have much savings except for travel show money and the allowance the person gets from grandparents’ funding. I keep thinking “What will happen when this person settles down and they got no savings?” But then, who knows about the future?  I sure admire their courage to just go for it.

Anyway, I’ve been pondering on traveling. It was originally in the plan this year but certain events just tells me to put it on hold. I guess the only go signal I’m looking and waiting for are cheap airline tickets. The rest I will have the courage to just figure out.


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