Why is it that society makes us feel that we should be settling down and have our life all sorted out already? I’m turning 24 this year and am nowhere near that point nor do I want to be. ‘Settling down’ is changing. It no longer about staying in one place, with one person, for a prolonged length of time.
I don’t think it’s realistic to be thinking about getting married before I’m 30 and spawning the UK average of 2.4 children and adopting a dog along the way, all whilst living in our perfect 3 bed semi detached. I mean, I’d like that one day, just not as fast as others think I should go.
In this instance, to ‘settle’ means to “adopt a more steady or secure style of life, especially in a permanent job and home”. What is it about that sentence that slightly draws me in, but also scares the shit out of me? I sometimes think to myself, ‘yeah it might be nice to have a solid relationship and career to build on in my twenties’, but then free-spirited Tiff rears her head and screams ‘You have so much left to do yet!’. Too right. I’m absolutely aware that there are benefits to having both routine and security and freedom and spontaneity. So this post isn’t about judging people for doing what they’re doing. We all want different things. It’s about accepting that there are different ways of living and we’re all entitled to do as we please. People are prolonging the ‘settling down’ period of their life in favour of travelling, career progression and personal growth – and it’s what should be happening!
So instead of aiming to settle, I am aiming to strive. I want to strive to achieve the best life I can, the happiest life I can. Striving is such a better word to live by. It’s time we start measuring our life on happiness and not on materialistic things or ‘mainstream’ milestones. Trying to break the ‘money means success’ mindset is difficult. Money does make lots of things a hell of a lot easier, I’m no idiot. But I want my life to mean more than that. I once read somewhere that when people on their deathbed were asked what they wish they had done more of in their life, the top two answers were spend more time with their loved ones and travel. Not have more money, not work more hours at their job, not have a nicer car. It was all about those they loved and things they had wish they’d seen. That has stuck with me. When you die, you don’t take any of your possessions with you. Memories, that feeling of contentment and happiness, that stays with us throughout our lives.
Everything is so much more accessible to us now. We can hop on a plane to a different country, climb that career ladder, get those qualifications and take hold of any opportunities that come our way. Things that wouldn’t have been on offer 50 odd years ago are there for us to grab with both hands now. Don’t feel insignificant because you aren’t fitting the norms of society, aren’t where your friends are in their lives, or where you parents were at your age. It’s not comparable, you are you. Striving is different for everyone. Travelling from country to country, getting promotion after promotion, having children, buying that house. They’re all people’s reasons to strive and that’s the beauty of it. None of us are the same.
I’m realising that my twenties are about accepting myself and being selfish. Do the things that make you happy, leave out the things you’re unsure of. Hang out with the people that make you laugh, be kind and don’t take it all too seriously, you’ll feel better for it.
With love and lots of positivity today…