Early marriage and lifelong wondering
AUG 27 — “Wah, so young already married?”
That was basically my new colleagues’ reaction when they found out last month that I’m married, barely past my mid-20s, with a baby on the way. I smiled and changed the subject — I get that a lot from most people I meet these days.
What most people don’t know is that I made up my mind about marriage near the end of primary school so many years ago. I decided then that if I could afford to, and if circumstances permit, I would marry as young as I could. And not because Malays generally do marry young.
Like most of my generation I was an avid reader of Japanese comics back then, and one of the personal effects of my reading preferences is a decidedly romantic view on marriage. Here was a concept that enthralled my young mind: the idea that two people who were born strangers, perhaps growing up strangers, would by chance meet, fall in love and commit the rest of their lives to each other. It amazed me.
How could there be someone out there that matches you so perfectly, so beautifully, that being together makes you more than who you are? How can you grow to have such a strong connection with, affection and love for someone who was once a stranger, whom you were once blissfully unaware of but having met now cannot live without? How can it be possible?
I didn’t know the answer then, nor do I now. It’s one of life’s many miracles, and looking around then and now I saw nothing to refute its happening. Strangers find each other every day and fall in love. I accepted it for what it is — God’s gift to mankind.
And having accepted that I will someday meet someone so perfect for me (and vice versa), I decided that I would spend as much of my life as possible with this person when I do meet her. I was greedy. I understood simply that being together means happiness — why not maximise it? If I were to die at 60, why settle for 30 years together when we can have 35?
Life is fragile, and I would not waste what years I have without this wonderful person (whom I have obviously met and married by now). You never know when your life — or your significant other’s — might end (may that day be decades away!).
Indeed, that same truth applies to all, parents included. Life can be short. As we grow into adulthood our parents pass into old age. And unfortunately some parents don’t even see old age. And it was from this realisation that I decided — around the time I hit puberty — that I will not wait longer than I have to.
My mother’s father died when I was too little to remember him; my other grandfather was lost well before my father was even married. I grew up without ever knowing either. So too my siblings.
And sometimes I wonder, what sort of men were they? When I see something of my father in myself, I wonder if it was the same for him... with his own father. Have I unknowingly seen some of who they were in my father, mother, uncles or aunts? Perhaps I have something in common with them, inherited traits of which I am unaware but bind us across generations?
What did I miss out on?
Alas, past is past and such thoughts turn into poison if dwelled upon too much. I was not fortunate enough to have any sort of memory of my grandfathers. And I’ll keep wondering, despite the anecdotes and stories my family can share about them, because I’ll never know them personally.
But at least — I hope — my children would not have to wonder about theirs.
* The views expressed here are the personal opinion of the columnist.