Ellooo friends. Welcome to a new featured series of Beaming Vegan that falls in line with my original intentions for the blog. The “Beaming” aspect of the title came from feeling like the happiest vegan in the world, but also to fill a desire to _____ <- (Insert verb here) on a variety of topics. So, I’ll be beaming on these topics. Starting with settling down.
While reading this I intend for you to keep in mind I’m not referring to getting married and having children. The things we commonly refer to as “settling down”.
I’m talking about something beyond that. You can have a spouse, five kids, and exclude yourself from late nights with the girls, and still not be settled down. The type of settling down I’m referring to is a strange thing society teaches us from a young age to do. Some people who are unable to settle down in this way even aspire to, as it’s what they were taught is the equivalent of success, or an accomplished life. And that’s just not true. Some people are natural born wanderers and get sucked into the path of modern-day “settling down” by accident. It’s a fragile thing, and a conscious decision we choose to make, to avoid doing so.
I met Griffin when I was 16 years old. He was 18 and living in a house of his own, with his own career, vehicles, goals, and food in his fridge. Aside from wondering about that food in his fridge, I also had some major starry eyes over his goals not having anything to do with the common society “settling down”, even when they did tend to fall along the lines of building a house, forever living up the road from our childhood home, getting married a couple years down the line and maybe even having babies. There was always a sense that this was not the equivalent of success. Reaching these goals was not where we would stop dreaming, and that’s what I loved most. There’s an eternity of paths to take in life, and picking one and sticking to it was never the plan. Shaking the world up was our true underlying plan whether we recognized it or not.
When I was as young as a freshman in college, we were in the market for a different house. Or, so we thought. We looked in all the surrounding small towns for something welcoming with acreage and a pond. We almost accepted a near $100,000 loan for a house that fell short of what we wanted and was way more than what we needed. (Who the heck would give two kids this kind of loan?) We tried for the house, but eventually (against my burning desire to nest here) followed our gut instinct that this would hinder our plans to not settle down.
This was absolutely the most wonderful possible outcome of that situation. I wouldn’t be tied to a job I didn’t even get yet with a degree I didn’t earn yet because of my need to finance a house that didn’t really turn out to be what I wanted in a place I didn’t want to live forever (Ha!). The best thing that could have happened to us was what came next (actually a few years later), and it taught me everything I need to know about settling down.
Griffin’s then-dream-career-path took an unexpected turn, and when we rolled with the tides, all of our other plans and goals started falling into place so naturally. We got the privilege of living in a house that had everything we wanted and more, without having to own it, which was perfect because it helped us move across the country at the drop of a hat. If it weren’t for the job change and having nothing to lose (besides way too many belongings), we wouldn’t have felt comfortable hopping over to live in our next stop on the map, the Pacific Northwest.
We came here with the knowledge that we still want to be married, own our next dream home: a cabin in the mountains, and still not settle down. We knew we wanted to explore new career paths, get entrepreneurial with our ever-flowing creativity, travel the world, meet exciting humans and let our future roll out in front of us as smooth as red carpet. Even since that point, we’ve decided to establish residency in other countries, other parts of the world, and the things we wish to accomplish have nothing to do with an income being put to use keeping up with the Jones’s.
Being willing to change plans when it works out in our favor to do so, looking past materialistic things, never reaching a point and saying “We’ve worked long enough. This is where we’ll stop and sit back”. That, to me, is not settling down. Even if society tends to frown upon it, even if it’s exhausting, unsettling at times, whatever may come our way. I think I’ll look back at the end and be more satisfied that I never stopped dreaming and wandering than I would be if I had reached a point I was satisfied with. I’ll keep rolling with the tides, and being forever thrilled by aspirations I never knew I had falling into my lap and piecing themselves together without resistance.