The Pressure To Settle Down in ’35 and Single’

Argentine filmmaker Paula Schargorodsky isn’t concerned about criticism of her new documentary “35 and Single.”

As she chronicled her life as an unmarried 30-something, she learned it’s not about pleasing others, it’s about discovering yourself.

“It didn’t matter if I’m alone or I’m with someone at the end of the movie,” Schargorodsky said during a Skype interview with Fusion’s Alicia Menendez from her home in Buenos Aires. “The thing is that what I had to find was my own inner happiness and my own inner peace before I decided and I could really be with someone else. That was the message of the film.”

In the op-doc, which appeared on the New York Times this week, Schargorodsky describes what it’s like to be “the only single one left” as she watches her group of friends date, marry and have babies.

“I’m only there as a witness,” she says in the film, which touches on the pressure she feels from friends and family to “settle down.”

“It’s not nice to stay alone,” her grandmother tells her at one point.

Society is “very liberal” with you before you turn 30, she told Menendez, but afterward “very conservative.”

Part of her would like to get married and have children, but, she told Menendez, it is challenging to find freedom in a union. She doesn’t want to repeat the intense relationships of her 20s, but she also doesn’t want the “perfect” relationship “behind a picket fence,” she says during the film.

The trick, she discovered as she recorded her life, is to give relationships your best shot, have no regrets and live in the present.

“We cannot be in the present moment,” she told Menendez of society today. “We always want to anticipate.”

Young women want to get married when they are single, then they want to have babies when they are married, and then they want to send their babies to school for a moment of free time once they are mothers, she said.

But when you learn to “love and accept yourself totally,” Schargorodsky realizes in the documentary, “the world around you changes.”

“Happiness,” she muses, “is a choice, isn’t it?”