x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 January 2018

The women’s majlis: Too many options can prove too much

Manar Al Hanai considers how life used to be simpler in her parents' generation.

From time to time, my parents look at my siblings and I and comment how easy our lives are compared with when they were our age.

They explain to us how easy it is for our generation to hop on a plane and go somewhere for the weekend when we feel like it, when it used to take months of planning. They then open the social-media subject and say that we’re lucky to be able to stay in touch with people and make friends so easily.

Hearing them say that makes it seem like we live in Utopia and we have it all figured out. It’s true: we’re blessed and spoilt to an extent, but that’s not the same talk that comes out of my girlfriends’ mouths. They wish that they’d lived in our parents’ times, for people were simpler then.

One of the topics of discussion that my girlfriends and I engaged in a while back was how hard it is for people to hang on to people anymore and how easy it is for some to dispose of others.

An acquaintance recently met a young man who admired her personality, her spirit and wanted to propose to her parents for marriage. We were over the moon for her and thought that he was a perfect match. She was all smiles as well. We even discussed wedding venues and honeymoon destinations.

But that whole story took an interesting turn a week later. My acquaintance called me and told me that she refused the young man’s proposal because he was overly attentive and caring.

“But that’s a good thing, no?” I was confused. She agreed that it was, but quickly added that he was only 90 per cent perfect and that others will always come along.

Are we an overly complicated generation? Or is this how we should pick our spouses and friends, making sure that they are 200 per cent perfect and fit the criteria?

I would go with the first one. Perhaps we are spoilt too much; provided with so many options that we do not know what to pick anymore.

Take shopping, for instance. We have too many options. We can do it over the internet, via the phone or in person, when we have the energy. We then have way too many products to choose from ranging from high-end to high street. And if we don’t like what we receive, we can return or exchange it. It’s never been easier.

Banks, shopping destinations and hotels all assure us that if our products or experiences are anything less than perfect, then it will be replaced or we will be compensated. Perhaps we have heard this message so many times that it’s affected our judgement of people.

Some people will continue to complain when they don’t have someone in their lives and complain even more when they do.

Some of our generation need to re-evaluate matters. No one is 100 per cent perfect. Maybe it was easier in our parents’ times, but that’s only because they were raised to look beyond the imperfections and at the brighter side of things.

On our journey to explore more options, we could lose one of the best things that our lives could ever be blessed with.

Manar Al Hinai is an award-winning Emirati writer. Follow her blog at www.manaralhinai.com and Twitter @manar_alhinai


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