This particular post, discussing the reasons why settling down can wait, is inspired by one of my good friends. She has recently announced plans to get engaged - she's 22 and has never even lived with her potential fiancé. I know you can't tell someone how to live their life, and when it comes to matters as delicate as this, even giving them advice can backfire on you - you'll only end up the bad guy. So, because I can't say it to her, I'm going to say it here instead. Obviously, these are my personal reasons for why settling down can wait - everyone's different and maybe it is right for you.
1. Do Not Settle
This is my biggest and greatest reason for why settling down can wait, and I think it's the main reason why my friend is in such a hurry to do it - do not, do not, do not settle for someone you aren't happy with because you're afraid to be alone. She told me some weeks ago that she and her fiancé had nothing in common, she didn't enjoy the time she spent with him and she liked someone else. Guess what? That someone else got a girlfriend, now she's getting engaged.
2. Live Your Own Life First
When you're young, you can quite reasonably and understandably think about yourself and what you want. You're choosing a career, a place to live, a future. Don't you want a future to be your own, at least for a little while? Marriage comes with a whole lot of compromise, and there's years to do that. Right now, you need to be focusing on what you want - or risk spending the rest of life regretting an opportunity you missed.
Maybe I'm cynical because of my own personal experiences, and maybe this isn't true. However, in a lot of older couples, the most prevalent emotion I've seen is resentment. Going out, getting drunk, making stupid mistakes - don't you do that when you're young? But what if you miss out on it? Does that mean you never want to do it, or, as your friends are talking about the old times, do you start wishing you'd been a part of that? Then there's one person it'll be very easy to blame (and it’s not yourself).
I don't know about you, but there is no way that I'm mature enough for a husband and kids. Absolutely not a chance. I can barely look after myself! And okay, that may be a reflection on me, but really, how any people in their early twenties are actually mature enough for all that stuff? I think the genuine answer is very few.
5. Career Woman
Can women have everything? Probably not. I wish the answer to that question was yes, but it just isn't. We're trying to change that, obviously, but for now, if you have a child, particularly in the early stages of your career, there's a good chance it will hinder, or least affect, your progress, perhaps for the rest of your life. It shouldn't - but it does.
Think of all the wonderful experiences you can have when you're young - with friends, at university, travelling. Then think of all the wonderful experiences you'll have with a partner, with beautiful children. Now, do you want both sets of experiences, or just one? Because it’s completely up to you - but it might be easier to do the first lot, first.
7. What about the Child?
This is going to be blunt, so prepare yourselves. Unless you come from a very privileged background, chances are, at a young age, you simply will not be able to give a child the emotional and financial support it needs. Think about this little person - will you be able to give them everything you want to give them? Yes, there are a lot of governmental support structures in place to help out - but if you can't afford a child in the first place, then you should wait until you can. End of.
I realise this is a sensitive issue and some people will passionately disagree with me. I don't care - do what's right for you, and I'll do what's right for me. I wish I could tell my friend this, because she's told me she's unhappy, and I think she deserves to be happy every single day. So, what do you think - what stage in your life are you planning on settling down?