Okay, I know to date my blog has been very focused around inter-personal relationships, but I have to add this one to the collection because of what I just saw. Again. Those of us who are in the digital and social media spheres will know that social media ad targeting can be narrowed down quite a bit, to target interests and, among other things, gender and age groups. While checking out Facebook I noticed yet another ad, targeting single women. This one stated: “Love after 30? It IS possible!”
I’m just going to put this very straight-forward: What the hell, man? I wonder where this whole “you’re doomed if you’re not married and settled down by 30” notion came from. When I was younger I just accepted that 30 is the benchmark age where you should have all the above mentioned things, along with a solid career, in place. Then I arrived at this particular milestone in life and realized that still, nobody really knows what the heck they’re actually doing half the time and chances are, we’re all going to be spending the remainder of our days either trying to figure out what to do with our lives, or trying to abide by the lifestyle and or belief system we decided to dedicate ourselves to – and be happy with our choices.
I did things very much the “wrong” way around in my life. I got into a serious, long-term relationship just as I turned 19, shacked up and settled down as much as any person could and remained in this bubble for over a decade. Naturally, I had no idea who or what I really was at that tender age. I was barely able to figure out how I liked my eggs, so understanding my personal boundaries, strengths and weaknesses and how I fit into society, was still quite far from being established.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think there is a time restriction to anything that happens in our lives. Within reason, you’re never really too young or too old to try something new or reinvent yourself. Some people do actually fall in love at a crazy young age, marry and spend the rest of their lives together in perfect happiness, never even knowing the feeling of a breakup or understanding the concept of an argument that wasn’t settled with a hug soon afterwards.
You’re bound to get those people who would add to this debate that they aren’t interested in relationships at all. Maybe they’re just better off having their lives and their space all to themselves, and possibly a four-legged companion or two. For others, their career comes first and while they understand that, biologically speaking, maybe they are edging towards the reproductive deserts, they don’t feel ready to take on the hugely time-consuming feat of marriage and parenthood. Some have become so tainted by previous relationships that now they either don’t care to look for a new partner, or they’re just letting life do its thing while they do their thing and whatever happens, happens. It isn’t for everyone, let’s face it. But then, this encroaches on yet another topic I’ve seen floating around for as long as I can remember: the whole thing of family and society thinking there is something wrong with you if you show no interest in settling down. Conformity is what makes people feel like they belong and they become very uneasy when someone who is “different” comes along and spikes the family-friendly punch bowl.
I suppose the thing that bothered me most about these ads is that it points people out and classifies them as black sheep in an otherwise vanilla flock. It takes perfectly balanced, happy people who see no problem with how they’re living, and subjects them to a form of indirect scorn, a sort of curveball way of saying “you’re not doing this life thing by the book and we don’t approve of your rebellious ways”.
Personally I really couldn’t give a damn, but then I guess I gave enough of a damn to sit down blog about this. Damn.