Every now and again on my scrolls through Twitter or Instagram, I come across the same image. It talks about why you shouldn’t settle, in case you’re giving up on the opportunity of something amazing happening.
The truth is, every time I’ve seen it, I’ve reacted in the same way… with a general purpose eye roll and a shrug.
Every time I speak with certain people, I get the age old question of, “got a boyfriend yet?” or I’m told, “you shouldn’t go away so much, you won’t meet anyone if you’re in the hills” (ahaha that’s the plan). When I went for a job recently which involved a longer commute, I was told, when weighing it up that I “need to prioritise whether I want a career or a family”. Don’t get me wrong, I want a family one day, but the question is now tiresome and just irritates me.
Why should getting married and having kids be the alternative?
Why should it mean giving up what I love?
I’m 28 years old…
Life is for living, it’s one grand adventure. However, like all grand adventures, at some point it must come to an end. Do you want to have lived a life where you’ve made mistakes, suffered, learned lessons or do you want to sit and think life is ok, but I gave up xyz hobby for xyz reason and I’m bored.
I know which one I’m picking.
I’ve had my fair share of settling… into a job that paid the bills, but that destroyed my soul on a daily basis, settling in a relationship that makes you miserable almost every day for another year in case by some miracle it changes (spoiler alert, it never does), settling for friends who are only there when they need something from you…
Now? I spend my spare time doing what I love, I surround myself with people who inspire me or add value to my life and I’m thankful to be working in a job which I adore.
Life isn’t stable, it’s not predictable. The notion of settling is false. Life has no permanence and the sooner we realise that the better. You may give up an amazing opportunity, in favour of stability, only for that stability to come crashing down around you one day.
You’re expected to finish university and have this grand plan of where your life is heading. When I finished university, I was intent on running away to sea and joining the Royal Navy, which is definitely not what I’m doing now, though predominantly because a mountain ruined my knee… I digress.
Even if we think we know where we’re going, we will always look back on our lives and find moments and experiences that we never expected.
The truth? We never really ‘settle down’ and if we did, our lives would be dull.
To me those two words signify the end of adventures as I know them. It conjures up images of spending every weekend indoors, of going to work, coming home from work and sitting doing nothing. The ability to sod off and climb a mountain is somewhat lessened if your partner says they don’t want you to, or that you’re away too often, and, honestly? I am not about that life.
Life is an adventure, it should keep you on your toes. It shouldn’t be a case of settling, it should be a case of embracing a new part of the master plan and storming at it head first, together if need be. If you’re not able to do that, then you need to evaluate why.
For now I am more than happy to continue to be the cause of stress to family members who want a wedding (thankfully my cousin just got engaged, pressure is off for a bit, phew!), I will continue to be the solo person at parties, but with cool photos of mountains, or plans for the summer or stories of sheep encroaching on wild camps. I will continue to hustle inside and outside of work and I will continue to make a life I absolutely love until I find someone who will only add extra adventure to it.
Then? I may settle for the night in a bivvy bag on a hill with an extra person, but that’s the only settling I have planned.
If we ‘settle’ and by doing so are forced to give up what we love, what are we showing younger generations?
That it’s fine to give up on your dreams?
I’m not buying it.