Nowadays, what I find really odd is the attitude of young people in the West avoiding responsibilities in settling down, whether through marriage or having a family or both.
The idea of having a family, settling down or even marrying is seen as ‘boring’ or something to be avoided as long as possible, after all the ‘fun stuff’.
By fun stuff, it means traveling to every corner of the world literally all the time, buying everything you want, playing around with as many people as possible and going to every party and festival, sometimes even involving dangerous substances.
Look, to make it clear, I am not against people who want to do these things or people who, for a long time, just don’t think settling down is for them. Everyone is different. I’m questioning the idea behind family life/marriage/children now being juxtaposed with the adventurer/consumer/player life and automatically labelled as unsavoury and boring. How did it come to this?
Is it consumerism?
People want to just have as much technology, fashionable items and trendy things as possible and experience using them/owning them? Not having to share with anyone else?
Is it feminism/the social climate?
Women viewing family and settling down as a prison or maybe because of increased availability of women, men can now just ‘pump and dump’ without needing to commit themselves?
Is it the increased lifespan?
Compared to decades ago, people are now living longer than ever, so while there’s more time, people keep thinking that settling down can be put off as well, despite the biological clock?
There seems to be this pattern that I can see with my old coworkers and even now in the partners/friends of people I follow on social media. Basically every person my age is nowhere near marriage or family and every other month is up to camping in the middle of the Andes or even in some festival getting smashed off their face. People find it hard to believe when I say I am totally happy to settle down when they find out my age.
‘You are a baby!’
‘You have so much more time, be free and do what you want!’
‘This is the time for your career – don’t bother with thinking all this stuff! Marriage is far away.’
It’s getting a little tiring hearing all this spiel and having to keep repeating myself. I should really have a script or a card with my lines now to just hand out.
“I want to settle down because having a family makes me happy and I can’t wait to see my children. I find it so exciting to be starting a new chapter. I love being able to look after my family and I honestly enjoy both my domestic and outside work.”
I have been reading this book recently, The Time Traveller’s Guide To Medieval England and a section talks about the lifespans of medieval people (medieval men specifically), it was so low then. So low that young boys could be treated as adults at the age of 12 and start working even at the age of 7. They could have senior military positions by 16. Since back then, the lifespan of men were basically to their 50s so they had to start working, establishing themselves and having families much younger. Women married and had a couple of children before they were even 20. Now this is suitable for that time, it makes sense in context.
It also makes sense why now, with the lifespan in the 80s to 90s, sometimes past 100, young men and women are pushing their carefree single lives to the farthest they can, sometimes even up to their 40s and developing wrinkles. In that biological perspective, it makes sense- but other social and biological factors also contradict this other extreme. No matter the lifespan, women’s biological clocks are still the same and putting off having children increases risks and pregnancy and childbirth complications. Let alone fertility complications that are on the rise in the West.
There’s also that social point where it would be harder for you to relate with your children if there is a large age gap and in general, you have less energy when older to keep up with raising children. It won’t be impossible, just more difficult. My father and mother had me before they were 25 and this is why, like I’ve mentioned before, I feel like my father is my father though also my best friend at the same time. We are close in generation.
I won’t tell people what to choose for a lifestyle, though I just want to put that message out there- there is great joy and value in choosing to settle down and have a family earlier. It is not the boring ‘prison’ social conditioning and mainstream media would have you believe.
You still have the opportunity to experience plenty of things together as husband and wife before having children, despite marrying early.
You learn more about becoming responsible for others and arranging and working together with your family to organise your lives.
You have more energy and a strong connection with your children generation-wise and once they are older and also settled themselves, you are younger and have more time growing old together to experience things as a couple again.
You also have more help available from your parents and older relatives since you are younger, they will be too.
You get to enjoy family activities and adventures with the excitement (and sometimes hiccups, as many adventures do!) of having kids with you.
You have an easier time conceiving and having children, before all of that, your body is at its prime for this in your 20s.
Young people, it is an option there, don’t fall for the naysayers and the Negative Nellies, as long as you are responsible and determined.
It offers plenty of value in seeing your roots being sown, raising your own kin and experiencing adventures together as a family early.
You can choose it.