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#everydaysexism

written by Joanne November 6, 2017

I was asked on the weekend why I moved to New Zealand on my own, that “most” Irish girls my age are settled down and having kids by now. For the record I don’t think this entirely is true and I am a testament to that. I also don’t think the person who said it meant to offend, he was just saying exactly what he thought, minus the usual filter most tactful people use on a daily basis. Maybe he articulated what a lot of people would think, but for me that is a totally bogan mindset for the following reasons:

 

  1. I felt judged and I even started to question and analyse my own reasons for moving abroad when in actual fact it wasn’t something I gave much thought. I just applied for a VISA and booked a flight because why not?
  2. It is not the first time since I’ve been in New Zealand, where someone has asked me that question and I have found myself searching for some kind of reason or justification. Because “I just felt like it” doesn’t seem to cut it & people can’t make sense of it.
  3. This usually happens when they find out my age  (I’m 31) because apparently I look about 24 –  #winning!
  4. Would an Irish guy or a guy of any other nationality for that matter be asked the same question?
  5. Why is it considered strange that on a whim I decided to move half way across the world? Why would I ever want to stop experiencing new things, travelling and meeting new people?
  6. Why would anyone make the assumption that I ever want to settle down and have kids? I do want to have kids btw, but it’s just not an assumption people should make.
  7. Why should I have to justify all of the above to anyone let alone a complete stranger?

 

Rant done! Remember you are exactly where you are supposed to be right now even if sometimes it doesn’t feel like it. More than once while living here I have asked myself, should I be somewhere else or doing something else? Am I in the right country? But is this nagging feeling really self doubt or is it just pressure to conform to some sort of stereotype? The feeling goes away when I remember that New Zealand has offered me experiences and opportunities that I would never have gotten if I’d stayed at home – like (trying to play) tag rugby with some huge Samoans, catching a sunrise while pounding tarmac in Taranaki, learning some Maori and working in roles/industries that don’t even exist in Ireland.

The best advice someone ever gave me was trust your gut because it’s never wrong. Sometimes this is hard to do so we look outside ourselves for answers and give too much importance to other people’s opinions. The phrase one size doesn’t fit all comes to mind, what’s right for you isn’t necessarily right for another. Being outside of your comfort zone (that niggling feeling) isn’t a bad thing, it’s actually a good thing! I’ve experienced it 18,000 miles from home, but you don’t have to leave home to feel it. I would say do whatever feels right, there’s nothing stopping you from going outside of your comfort zone, challenging your own & other people’s assumptions and doing whatever you need to do to be happy and/or fulfilled.

 

 

 

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