Saturday, December 27, 2014

Vulnerable at 24

24 is usually an age when the youth are prospering, seizing new opportunities, and blossoming as adults. It is an age where one has numerous friends, attends plenty of parties, and meets lots of new people. At this age, many are taking their own decisions and are empowered by the feeling of independence.

All of the above may apply to you except if your an Arab female, which in your case you will either already have been married off and have children crying at your feet every second of the day, or you will be living with your family who still treat you as if you are not a day older than 13. If you are one of the lucky ones who are given more freedom, this is not a post for you; go book your vacation tickets to Ibiza and let us wallow alone in our misfortune.

At 24, I thought, I would be independent;  I am financially independent, but that does not mean I can move out by any means because as Arabs, we have this crazy idea that women should not move out of their parent's house unless they are married. I am lucky that my parents even let me leave for grad school in the summer. Last year, I was going to move out for a job, and my parents were excited ( weird). This year, I want to move out for a job, and they are not very happy about that. It might not be for the concept of moving out itself, but whatever it is, my ambitions are being drained every time I have to ask for their approval for decisions that affect my future (and their reputation as Arab parents between relatives and the community).

At 24, I did not think that I would be anti-social and have friends that could be counted on my fingers in the country I live. When I leave Saudi Arabia, I become a social butterfly, but here, I prefer to keep to myself. I never thought that two of my closest friends would no longer be close friends and that I would have to share my secrets in journals rather than with them. Never did I expect that most of my friends would become wrapped up in their own lives and no longer have time for their childhood friends. I did not expect that they would be too busy with their fiances, husbands, and children to dial my 10 digits or to answer my calls. I never expected to be so lonely at 24.

At 24, I thought that I would have more to my life than I do now; a career and grad school (and grad school will only get me further in my career). Sadly, apart from that, I do not have much to look forward to. I do not know whether to blame myself or to blame the capitalist society that gives teachers work to keep them busy throughout the week including weekends. I never thought, that during the weekends, I would constantly feel depressed, and only feel better when I went back to work on Sundays. As my contract is coming to an end, and I am searching for new opportunities, I never thought I feel so vulnerable at 24, but I do, for if I do not have a career, what do I have?