Family - is that all what matters?

„Families are like branches on a tree, we grow in different directions yet our roots remain as one.“

For Vietnamese people, family is probably the most important aspect of life. The family is much more tight-knit and closely connected than what many Western cultures are familiar with. The strong cohesiveness and loyalty within a Vietnamese family can hardly be described by a foreigner who didn't grew up in this culture. A well-known saying is „Blood is thicker than water“ which cannot be more accurate to describe Vietnamese family bonds.

The ideal imagination of Vietnamese parents of their children are shaped by the way of thinking that their grown-up children are well-educated by completing a university degree, gaining a well-paid job, then getting married and starting to have an own family. Ideally, all this happens in their 20’s. If not, you are blamed to have done something wrong.

So far, I’m at the end of my 20’s, born and grew up in Germany and neither married nor having any plans to do so in near future. The pressure and concern of my parents come by the growing age. According to them, a woman has to get married and start a family before she gets too „old“ for this, means 30+. This way of thinking is not only the perspective of my parents but as well of most other Vietnamese parents shaped by traditional values and expectations. No matter how successful I am in job and society, if I fail to sort out my family affairs, I am disqualified by my own family.

Listening to my parents questions and accusations why I’m not finally looking for a boyfriend and getting married over and over again, makes me feel equally upset and helpless. Why cannot they understand that the role of women in the society has changed nowadays? Women are today much more able to define themselves, prove their abilities and succeed in their jobs. This means, busier lives and better time management to balance their personal and professional lives. The desire to achieve more in life that „just“ starting a family and caring for them, makes the struggle between tradition and modernity for young Vietnamese women harder than ever.

Apart from the fact, that it is not that easy to find a potential partner or husband these days, it still is a personal issue of myself. More than once, I was wondering „What about happiness? What about self-realisation?“. Do my parents really know better what makes me happy? I would love to have a family one day but not at this stage of life as I am truly convinced that everything happens for a reason in life and everything comes at the right time. Why should I stress myself about getting married and becoming a mother right now when I can instead simply enjoy the life? Even if my parents’ wish will not come true, there are so many different lifestyles and none of them is wrong. As long as I am happy, what does it matter?

Lots of love,

Xuan x

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