Is the life cycle – “birth -> childhood -> education -> work -> marriage -> death” system that bad?
Last article was about the differences between China and other countries. Today, I would like to give my opinion – and in exchange hear about your views- regarding the “way of life”. By way of life I mean the cycle all of us go through in more or less the same order: being born, being a child, go to school, go to work, get married have kids and play with grandchildren and then die.
Whereas in Europe this “picture of life” is crumbling due to the high rate of divorce and re-marriage or people not wanting to marry at all or at least do not want kids, in other parts of the world this way is still normal and sometimes unquestioned or at least accepted.
For me, it was very weird, arriving to China and when telling my age (25-30), having Chinese asking me if I have a boyfriend or a husband and kids. For them, it was astonishing to hear that I do not have any of that. In China, the structure of your life is still clearer than I am used to it from Germany. Here, once you turn 20 you should start having a boy- or girlfriend and thinking of marriage. After that, the first (and sometimes only child) should arrive soon. My best Chinese friend just got married last December at the age of 25 and she told me that they are already trying to have a child now. She explained me once, that in China, the parents put a lot of pressure on their children to get married and have kids of their own. This is, according to her, due to the fact that Chinese grandparents did not get the chance to raise their own kids. Therefore, they are eager to spend as much time with their grandchildren.
Have you ever seen Chinese parents meeting in a park, maybe with their kids CV or picture in their hands, trying to find them a suitable boy- or girlfriend through his or her parents? These kind of “fairs” do exist and setting up his child is not uncommon. This is very disturbing to me, as my parents keep telling me to marry veeeeeeeeeeery late or not at all – story of men being only a disappointment.
Of course, one cannot generalize this, because not everyone is the same. My former Chinese teacher for example, is over 30 and not married – probably because of his sexual orientation though. My best German friend got married last year in October at the age of 24, because of her religious believes. But they are not trying to get pregnant.
The order of education and work might also differ in different cultures. In Germany, you can always continue studying even though you worked before. One of my friends finished school and started an apprenticeship, then went back to university to get a Bachelor degree. Or me, after my A-levels I worked one year as Au-pair in France, then went to university and currently I am working at MTA Network after which I want to pursue my studies. While my way of life might be regarded hazardous for previous generations or other cultures, I am perfectly fine with not starting to work in my twenties. But of course, I am not pressured to have kids any time soon ;).
So, this is my personal point of view, giving you information about the culture surrounding me. What are your opinion? What are your experiences on this topic?