Being an unmarried 32-year old woman in the Punjabi community sucks. Luckily, it’s not an issue for me though because I lie about my age; I usually say I’m 24 or 25. Sometimes I’ll say I’m 27! I feel no guilt about lying, I know I’m 32 and proud of it. I lie mostly because a lot of South Asians can’t handle a woman in her early thirties who shirks tradition by not getting married. I lie to protect other people from my disregard of their customs.

South Asian women are raised in the good girl tradition. As long we all do what we’re supposed to do we’ll be fine! Elders pressure women to get married as close to the age of 25 as possible. If we don’t marry by a certain age we’re told myths like munde saare mukh jaane (there will be no more boys left). I’ve even been told no one will want to marry me after I turn 29. So I lie. I pretend to be 25 and move on to more important things.

People badly want me to get hitched. I mostly think people want me to validate their life choices by making the same stupid mistakes they did. I swear some people’s desire to see me married is greater than my own. Some of these unwelcome advisors have the worst marriages themselves. One lady whose own husband pays zero attention to her cornered me at the Gurdwara: “It’s time puttar,” she encouraged. I politely walked away laughing at her under my breath. Why should I take advice from a lady whose husband ditched her for Ludhiana? Yeah, that’s right she got dumped for a geographic locale.

I’m not against marriage, in fact some day soon I’ll probably get married. But when that day comes it won’t be out of fear of dying single or unfulfilled. It will be out of self-love. I’ll get married because a man makes me laugh and let’s me be who I am. I’ll get married because it’s the right time for me. Living your life based on society’s timeline is a mistake. Society doesn’t know the narrative of your life. Society doesn’t differentiate its expectations based on what you need. A lot of the time society is wrong.

Being 32 and single is amazing. I am the woman today I dreamed of being as a little girl. Getting married won’t make that part of me better or worse. I will continue to lie about my age until I feel like it. I’ve also thought about forgetting about it all together and measuring my life by cups of cha consumed instead. Either way I am very encouraged by where my journey has brought me. I’m in a place beyond the pressure others put on women in my position. I’m in a place all those hastily married people probably wished they could be.