The worry of growing older in China
Words by Lumao Luyan.
Sometimes I feel like my age is very relevant, other times I don't. I feel like I am 19 in the morning when I wake up but then back to 25
before I sleep. When I was in school I always felt I was 19 — a really funny age
for me and I don’t know why I am so obsessed with being 19. I do sometimes have those thoughts of ‘oh
I should do this or that before 30 or 28’, but also I like finding something that
I can do no matter what my age is. I would love to be 19 forever, although I can’t
stop my physical appearance changing.
Age is more of a social identity for me in China. It’s more like a label: you
have your certain obligations for certain ages. It’s like a default setting. Everyone in different ages has a certain role to play. To be honest I don’t like
that, and I also worried that I will become like that one day. Now I am
25 (turning 26 this year) everyone around me will start asking me about my relationship,
as they are expecting me to be married soon.
I recently just met some people from my new job, and it feels quite different with the people I know / knew me before this place. Now I am not in school anymore, people I meet are mostly from work, they are more experienced than me, and it really doesn't matter if they are younger or older than me.
think there will always be bigger stress which come up in my life from where I am now. So yeah, I do feel a
bit stressed at this moment. It’s mostly relevant to how old I am now. I
discussed this "problem" with a friend in few days ago. It’s like, I am still 25,
but everyone is worrying if I should get married now. Well, it’s like a common
thing in China that people should get married before 30, especially for women. Age is a critical situation for women around 26-30 who are still single, as
you are supposed to have a stable job, but also are expected to think about finding a partner to marry. I am not talking about just relationships, but marriage. This is the most important thing in terms of ageing, for me at the moment, here in China.
I am in a steady relationship at the moment, and that makes me happy. I think I am mature enough to be in a serious relationship now. None of us are thinking too much about the future, which seems to remove the pressure of the relationship, and it is even a long distance relationship.
"Age is more like a social identity for me in China. It’s more like a label: you have your certain obligations for certain ages. It’s like a default setting. Everyone in different ages has a certain role to play. To be honest I don’t like that, and I also worried if I will become like that one day."
If I have to think about the shared challenges across all ages, I guess it is to
find out what we really want to achieve. Like what kind of life we
want? We all live in a crazy information overloaded era, we have more
choices now, but we also seem to be getting more and more confused. I guess everyone will have
this kind of confusion occasionally in spite of their age. My challenge is that I am
confused and not sure about how do I make choice for myself. Sometimes
I am just telling myself, I’ll regret either way, so fuck it (lol).
Older people seem to be more calmer in a way. Not because they have more experience in life or anything, but they seem to be better at facing unexpected things (either good or bad things) in a more confident way. But some people who are younger than me actually act more like an adult than me?
If we had a society where age didn't define us, I think people would become more open minded.
"If we had a society where age didn't define us, I think people would become more open minded."
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