Saying Goodbye to the Latina Stereotype and Reshaping My Future on My Terms

I'm a Latina who's about to turn 30, doesn't have kids, is single, lives with her dog, and actually loves her job. No, that's not something "rare." In fact, more and more Latinas in my generation — and the coming ones — are redefining their path, and making it about what suits them best. If I've learned a valuable lesson in my almost 30 years of life, it's that taking your time to do things is crucial to your own personal growth and development.

I know it's hard when your tías and abuelas are all on your case trying to get the inside scoop on your love life, mostly because they're afraid you're wasting your time when you could be someone's wife and chilling for the rest of your life (although if you end up having kids, it's going to be very difficult to relax for at least 18 years).

That was a different generation. Today's Latinas — and most women in general — are taking back our lives, our stories, and our independence, and we're doing things on our own terms and at our own time. Yes, sometimes this means that we'll have to smile and nod in our reuniones familiares when we don't agree with whatever idea of womanhood our parientes have, and instead of fighting with them, we'll have to find a way to explain why their arguments are outdated and do it nicely because no one can disrespect los mayores in a Latinx household.

It hasn't been easy, but every year that goes by, I actually feel less and less pressure to succumb to other people's ideas of how I should live my life. And with each moment, I am more certain of my decisions. They work for the lifestyle that I've built for myself, and make me happy. However, this doesn't mean that what I've chosen for myself might be the best option for others.

The beauty of this generation of empowered Latinas is that we're so comfortable doing the things that work best for us and knowing they don't have to look the same for everyone. I have all sorts of friends, from the ones who got married very young and are still married, to the divorced friends, the career-oriented ones, the ones who have turned motherhood into their career, the pet moms, the ones in long-term relationships who don't want to get married just yet, or at all. Artists, executives, businesswomen, entrepreneurs . . . some of them single, others in relationships, others with kids.

All these things have happened in the past 10 years, and to be honest, as long as my friends are happy, I'm happy for them. I celebrate the new relationships, the engagements, all the weddings — and even the divorces — all the babies and their milestones (after all, they're my sobrinos and sobrinas), the job promotions, the moves, the career changes, when they buy a house or rent an apartment. Whatever fills them with joy, fills me with joy too, because I see them making choices for them, and I see them shaping their lives how they want to.

So, cheers to Latinas continuing to change the narrative and erasing the stereotypes that have boxed us in for so long. Whatever decision you make is going to be the best one for you, and that's more than enough. If you want to be a mother, be one. If you want to be a wife, be one. If you want to be a career woman, be one. If you want to be all of those, do it. If you don't want to be any of that, don't. Nada es obligado, and however you choose to shape your future will be OK.