Are We Really Settling When We Settle Down?

01/05/2017 18:06 BST | Updated 01/05/2017 18:06 BST
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I'm tired of seeing endless posts about travelling, of ads constantly telling me that I'm not living unless I'm exploring the world, of blogs discussing how glamourous our generation is because we no longer want to "settle down". Not sure what I'm talking about? Read Unwritten's "This Is Why Our Generation Doesn't Believe in Settling Down".

There seems to be an accepted norm by our generation that "settling down" is something negative, something undesirable, something we have to sacrifice. We're surrounded by media telling us that we aren't living unless we are travelling, experiencing or exploring the exotic. It's a feeling that we have to give up our lives, our experiences and our hopes if we decide to marry and have families. Children involve sacrifice and sometimes regret. We see settling as "giving up" and sacrificing the fun, wild youth we so glorify.

And to be honest, it's the biggest, most harmful lie we've started to accept.

There's a growing fear of settling down amongst my peers. Marriage involves shackles, children involve sacrifice and growing old involves constraining responsibilities. But why?

As immigrants, my parents taught me one important lesson: life is an utter adventure at every stage. Every stage brings challenges and surprises. Having lived and worked in over six countries, I was taught that there are no limits (money aside!) and "settling down" does not mean groaning restraints. We marry who we want, work where we want to, and live wherever our hearts (and wallets) take us. Getting married and having children are only part of that adventure.

As to our parents' generation, they have paved our way. We often speak of our parents as restricting and limiting. On the contrary, many have demonstrated to their families that "settling down" is hardly what we expect. My parents married young and had children, but family hardly dampened their desires to explore the world. I can't imagine the barriers they broke to move across the world from India to Oman to Canada but they've ingrained in me and my siblings that the possibilities in life are countless and that marriage and children are all part of the adventure. Nothing was more awe-inspiring than watching my Indian-born Canadian sister, who now lives in Stuttgart as an architect with her Indian husband, navigate through her first ultrasound with her gynaecologist in fluent German. And I'll never forget having to explain to confused English onlookers why my Indian brother who lives in Dubai was marrying an English girl in a small village in Oxfordshire while my parents flew in from Canada, my sister from Germany, and me from London. What is more surprising is that my global family is hardly unique. We are fortunate. Our parents strove to give us every opportunity - they've given us roots to ground us and wings to explore the world.

In brief, our generation has adopted a general sense of fear towards settling down - that white picket fence, spouses and children - when really, we should be changing the concept entirely. "Settling" and "settling down" are not the same. We should be celebrating globalisation because it means it has blown open the possibilities. It means that those who want to build a home in one place can, and those who want to be nomadic can. To choose to live in one place and to not travel is not a choice any less worthy than to choose to trot around the globe. And let's be honest, finances are a huge part of our decision-making. No one ought to be shamed for whatever lifestyle they choose - there is much to be learnt from each and every one. What's important is that we have luxury to decide what works best for us.