When the news of my acceptance into medical school was relayed to my extensive family network, the reaction was , for the most part, excellent and incredibly supportive. My family , despite being so large, is very close and we keep in regular contact with each other. We have numerous Whats app and Facebook groups. One of my relatives even went as far as following me on Twitter but that was where I drew the line ( what is re- tweeted on Twitter shall remain on Twitter and Twitter only). I did, however, say” for the most part “because there is always that one auntie . . . And to think it all started out so well. Here is an excerpt of my “enlightening” conversation with my wise auntie.
A = Auntie , L=Lily (Me)
A: Congratulations my dear ! You have done me so proud !
L: Mashuma Tete ! ( That means “thank you auntie” in Shona)
A: So how long is this degree of yours?
L: 6 years .
A: Dios Mio !( My aunt is not Spanish but this is something she likes to say to express shock and surprise. I personally ( tautology , yes i know) think that she watches too many Spanish dramas on CBS .)
L: That’s just the degree tete, I have to do one more year to complete my community service and then another two years of internship. If I want to specialise after all of that, it will be at least another 4-5 years. So at least 14 years.
A: So you will be in your mid-thirties when you are completely done studying?
L: Most likely. ( Where is she going with this ?)
A: So how on earth will you have the time to get married and have children?
L: I- ( she cut me off)
A: Are you one those eh eh?
L: Wha – ( she cut me off again)
A: Do you have a serious boyfriend?
L: No , I-
A: There is no hope for you mwana wangu. ( There is no hope for you my child)
I had nothing to say from that point on. The manner in which the conversation had escalated shook me so badly that I had to uncharacteristically down a stiff drink. I went from being a source of pride to a case of utter hopelessness in the space of five mere minutes. She then went on to point out that she had never heard of me having a boyfriend and how that worried her immensely. I think that the remarkable restraint I had at that moment should be ardently praised. The temptation to give her a solid high five, in the face , was strong but I, resisted it . I just gave her a polite smile and joined my more appreciative family members.
Here is a brief synopsis of my love life :
It’s non-existent ! There is nothing ! Nada ! Zilch
When you’re single, all you see are “couples everywhere”. Lurking in the corners , flitting past in the shadows and making a mockery of your forever lonesomeness. During first semester, it was quite clear that many girls were “marking their territory” and gunning ( I am an anti-gunner) for who they deemed the dateable guys in the class.
Some were blatantly obvious regarding their intentions but most of them operated in discreet and subtle ways. My goal for the first semester , however, was to simply pass it. I was still waiting for the catch in my acceptance and was incredibly paranoid about being unceremoniously kicked out . I literally had no space left in my brain to worry about being in a relationship .
Second semester is exponentially more tiresome and difficult than first semester. I simply cannot imagine how some people still have the time to be actively involved in their relationships. How would I slot in romantic trysts and heartfelt conversations between studying for anatomical pathology and doing microbiology practicals ? My boyfriend would probably feel neglected and break things off. So that is the first of many reasons why i do not have a significant other : I don’t have the time ! ( To be honest, I am still learning how to manage my time effectively and my mind would go into complete disarray if I had to worry about yet another commitment.)
Reason number two : my family. My family, because of our closeness , is the type of family that will analyse and dissect every single thing that is presented as evidence. Take a simple Facebook status such as : “Lily is now in a relationship with Damon Salvatore”
Lily : Yes we know who that is, that’s our daughter.
is now : This means it’s recent and is ongoing.
In : she is involved
A relationship: Is that a commitment ? He must marry her !
With: She’s not dating herself.
Damon Salvatore : Has he paid lobola yet ?We must find him and interrogate him to death. What are his intentions? What future does he see with our daughter ? How did this relationship happen?
The comments would be absolutely disparaging ! Some uncle would make mention of his shotgun that he keeps in a room in his house and my auntie ( the fore mentioned one) would write a comment the length of a short story to express her gratitude and thanks to “Damon” for choosing me as his girlfriend and how glad she is that I will not end up all alone and sad.
Reason number three: How does one plan to fall in love ? Some people have the maps of their lives laid out in front of them and all they have to do is navigate through them.
1.Get a boyfriend (2014)
2. Become serious with boyfriend (2016)
3.Finish medical school (2019)
4. Marry boyfriend (2020)
5. Buy a house and car (2021)
6. Have twins (2022)
I am incredibly superstitious. I don’t like to presume that things will happen a certain way , especially things like love. Medical school has a curriculum with guided aims and objectives that state that after six years , I will be a qualified doctor.There is no emotion in that. What if I plan to get married at the age of twenty three but I only meet the love of my life when i’m thirty ? What do I do for those seven years ? Do I sit around and cry because things did not go according to my plan? What more if I plan to have set of perfect children by the time I turn forty but I’m not even in a committed relationship by that time? I am of the opinion that some things should just happen by themselves. People shouldn’t feel the need to orchestrate every single detail of their life. There are parts of our lives that we should have control over but as for the rest, just let it go !
The last reason ( It’s not really the last but if I had to list all my reasons for singlehoodism this would become a novel ) : I’m still finding Lily :). I feel that before I can be with someone , I need to find out who I am. It’s clichèd and totally predictable but it’s the truth ! I would like to enjoy the person that I am when I don’t have any added strings or attachments of some sort. I want to enjoy my solitude .
There is no boyfriend in the picture , and it will probably be a long time before there is one. I am not in a hurry. I have years before being married and having children will even begin to start being relevant to me. Medicine is a demanding career choice but that does not mean that having a relationship will be impossible.
I’m happy being single and yeah, I celebrate every night with my bottle of Jack Daniels and pathology notes .
Lots Of Lily Love ❤ (LOLL)