I am 33 this year. Typing this alone gives me a little bit of a shock. Admittedly I have not really liked to mention about my age because I feel that doing this is putting a lot of limitation and attracting unnecessary stereotype on myself.
There was once, during an influencer selection for a campaign, I had to tick “NO” at the “are you under 30” column and then I was immediately rejected from the job HAHAHAHAHA. Ouch.
If only the world operates without the label of age. Imagine that! You will no longer need to shop for age-appropriate clothing, answer to your relatives why you are not married at 28 during CNY reunion dinners, have awkward “how old do you think I look” guesses, and hesitate to buy all the Hello Kitty stuff lol.
If I am not bound by the label of age, what do I want to do?
Oh boy… lots and lots. .
FIRST I WANT TO WEAR A FURISODE AND DO A 成人式 PHOTOSHOOT. It was a chance I missed a dream that can never come true… 😢)
(Furisode is style of kimono worn by young unmarried women in Japan, particularly for the Coming Of Age ceremony – Seijinshiki (成人式) at the age of 20 for a girl. It usually has very bright colors like red and pink, with cute embellishment. I wore it for a tourism job last year and the kimono shop owner said that it is an exception only because I was doing it for PR purpose. It would be too weird for a married, let alone pregnant woman to be wearing Furisode lol. Usually married women in Japan can only wear very tone-down Kimono that’s simple and dull in color…😢)
(Age 32, pregnant. lolol)
And then, I want to tie twin tails and wear pastel gingham dresses, walk down Harajuku and queue up after all the teenagers for cotton candies. And then I’ll do a summer course in a Japanese high school. I’ll pick one with really cute seifuku (school uniform). And then go chase stars and fangirl over all the cute Japanese actors. And then I want to go dating with the danna in Disneyland wearing matching head gears like Bakkapuru (Baka Couple) lol.
All of these have become dreams of the distant past that is not gonna happen because I am aware of my own age. Of course I can pretend to be 22 (and I am quite confident that I can pass off if I try hard enough HAHAHHA), but… I guess this is how self-consciousness works haha.
People always have social expectations of what you can or cannot do at a certain age. How you should behave. What you should be wearing. What you should have achieved.
But why should they? They are not you. You are the only one in this world who should be in charged of who you want to be.
I just watched this video about how most Asian women are believed to have an “expiry date”, where she becomes less attractive and less desirable as she ages.
In Japan this is especially true, as unmarried women over 25 is referred to as “Christmas Cake” – nobody wants anymore after the 25th. Although the average age of Japanese women getting married is higher and higher nowadays so they changed the term to “Toshikoshi Soba” (年越しそば), a type of noodle that Japanese usually eat on the 31st of December. So now Japanese women’s expiry date is stretched up to 31 year old haha.
Can you imagine if we actually get an expiry stamp just like the women in this video? It indeed reflects the sad truth that “getting older” is really seen quite negatively by women especially in Asia.
In SK-II’s survey, apparently 1 out of 3 women in Asia feel that there’s a pre-decided timeline for how to live your life and when to do things (marriage, career, education, kids etc) that they are expected to follow. I too, was one of them who felt the pressure. No one particularly rushed me to find a partner or to get married, but I felt that I had to rush, for no particular reasons.
I am so unbelievably lucky to have met the danna, got married at 28 and had the first child by 30 (thank you Hakone!!). But had I been less lucky, I could have met any regular a-hole and settled down just because I felt the need to, and have an unhappy marriage just to regret it years later.
The survey also shows that only 2 out of 10 women in Asia describe themselves as comfortable with the idea of getting older. Am I worried about getting older? Yes, sometimes I am. But then I will ask myself this: Am I happier now than 10 years ago?
The answer is a resounding yes. So I guess getting older does not matter so much to me in this case. Staying happy does. Doing what I love does.
The society needs to change. It is a wonderful world with soooooo many things to pursue, and marriage is only one of them. You own your freedom. Seeing the world, doing what you are passionate about, falling in love… it doesn’t need a sequence.
Thank you SK-II for the inspiration, always. I still remember the Dream Again video by SK-II that made me so teary, because I can so so so relate to it. Thank you for reminding us women that we can always dream, whoever we have become, whenever we want.
Find out more with the hashtags #INeverExpire #changedestiny #inpartnershipwithskii #skii @ski . 🙂