Why I Won’t Settle Down, and That’s Okay

The title of this next installment is pretty self-explanatory: I refuse to settle down. I am aware that many 22 year old college graduates like me do not share this sentiment. Many just want to graduate college, get a “normal” job, get married,  and probably have children. Some may never leave their hometown, and many will never travel beyond the United States’ borders.  This kind of future is okay in its own right too, but I just can’t seem to get behind it myself.  I am a young, independent, and restless young woman with a dream to see the world, learn new languages, and explore all of the wonderful cultures and experiences that the world has to offer, but that I will never truly find in my hometown.  In fact, the idea of jumping straight into this future seems, honestly, suffocating. It feels like I wouldn’t just be setting down, I would also be settling. I’d be settling, and never reaching my full potential and achieving my dreams.

I have the opportunity to start to chase these dreams through the Teaching Assistant Program in France. I get to spend 7 months living in the country that holds another part of my heart, and I am so, unbelievably excited.  Not only to travel, but also for the simple things: Living on my own in France, meeting my co-workers and students, sipping coffee in outdoor cafes… And even now, before I have even left, I am not sure that I want it to end there, seven months later.  I’m not sure I want to leave, not for a while anyway. So I keep looking at what could be next, mapping out several different possible routes of how I could stay in France for longer if I choose, because that’s how I am. I am always looking toward the future, looking for what is next, and then making a Plan A, B, and C.

Yes, many may say, “You want to live in another country? And work? That’s weird.”  Or, “Are you sure you can do that? Is that a good idea? Won’t you be homesick?”  And actually, yes, there will be times that I am homesick for America; that is something I am sure every expat goes through. But the key is if all of the other good things outweigh those times.  So if you are someone like me, who is to restless and full of wanderlust to settle down, and just want to get out there, then do it. Do it, no matter if you are going alone, and no matter what others may say. After all, it’s your dream and your future, not theirs.

And who knows? Maybe I will stick around France for a while. Maybe I’ll meet someone, get married, and stay forever. Or maybe not, maybe I will eventually come back and finally want to settle down. Just not yet.

Do I know what life will be like when I leave the country? No. Do I know what I’ll do next, or how long I’ll stay? No. But do I want to give it a shot and find out? Definitely yes.

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