Dear Lulu Jeh: I watched the “leftover woman” video that was circulating Facebook last week and it really hit home for me. I was crying throughout the whole thing, partly because I know how they feel as a “jing lui” and partly because I really want to fall in love. I am 29 years old, and I’m still alone. In Hong Kong it’s considered okay to get married a little older, but my parents and relatives are pressuring me every chance they get to settle for someone. I don’t know what to tell them. It just hurts. — Lonely Hearts Club
Dearest LHC, I think that video hit a nerve for a lot of women in Hong Kong, as well as China. It’s traditional to get married, move out, have kids, then take care of your parents when they age. Perhaps they’re worried you won’t be able to support yourself, or you won’t find happiness. So you need to show them that you can do both of those things, on your own first, before anyone else comes into the picture. That way no matter what happens, there’s no reason to worry.
Perhaps you can take a note from the inspiring women in the video and make a gesture to your parents and grandparents. Take them out to dinner or dim sum, and explain that you are looking for someone who meets your expectations. Show them that you are an independent, successful young woman and you aren’t just going to settle for some Joe Shmoe.
And walk the talk while you’re at it — perhaps that means saving up so you can move out or follow your creative pursuits if you haven’t already. Love might come eventually, but in the meantime, there’s no reason you can’t kick ass at the rest of your life and learn to love yourself. After all, that’s the only company you can count on forever.
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