I’m the kind of person who doesn’t want to settle down. We all know someone like that, or maybe you are that person: young, unattached, totally free to follow every whim and desire that comes to mind. It’s a certain type of adventurous spirit who lives this way, something that is both envied and judged.
Take myself, for example, I am 25 years old and have never had a real grownup job. Why? Because I went from university back home in Texas, to culinary school in Italy, to working as an Au Pair in Germany (I realize many people work in childcare, and for them it is a grownup permanent job. For me, however, it was simply a way to live abroad a little longer without having to pay rent, since I lived with the family I worked for). The longest job I’ve had is this one as an Au Pair, a total of 5 months. Mostly I’ve spent my life studying, traveling, and experiencing life.
But my time here is almost up. So now?
Now I return to Texas, to get a real job and start down the career path I’ve chosen. Now I get a home of my own, create stability for myself and leave the nomadic life behind. I’ve been talking for years about what I want to do (you guessed it: cook!) and at last it is time for “someday in the future” to become “now”.
It is time to tone down the adventures, accept that I cannot just wander the world forever and have fun. I am, after all, 25. I am no longer a child free to roam the earth, I am a grownup and the time has come for me to set down roots and begin the next stage of my life. It’s hard to think about that, hard to admit that the fun whimsical adventures are at an end. I’ve done so much and been to so many places, part of me doesn’t ever want to stop, wants to continue along this exploratory path that takes me wherever the wind blows.
And yet, part of me longs for stability, security, and a sense of home. It’s awkward, to be pulled in two directions. But at some point you have to choose which way to go.
I never expected to do this forever, and yet I don’t exactly feel ready to settle down yet, or rather I don’t want to give up what it costs to settle down. And yet, the time is right. The time is now. It’s a weird feeling, when you transition from one stage of life to another. Solemn. Like you know that you’re about to leave the known and go into the unknown, and regardless of whether it’s a good or bad move, it still unsettles you just a little bit, because you don’t really know what your’e getting yourself into.
You don’t quite know if it’s a smart decision or a stupid one, don’t know if that doorway you’re about to walk through will lead to the magical land of success or the cold darkness of failure. But whatever the case, you have to move on, one foot in front of the other, closing this phase of your life and embarking on a new. It’s exciting, daunting, and nobody really is prepared for what happens after they take that first step. I think everyone can relate to this daunting stage in life, transitioning from one thing to the next.
It’s not easy to close the door on your present and step through the doorway to your future, to reach the point where the talking and planning is over and it’s time for action.
Whether it’s going from one job to the next, getting married, having kids, buying a house, or moving to a new city, everyone has been there. And the thing is, at 25 this is really the first time I’ve had to make a life decision like this.
But in reality, life is full of big hard decisions, and this is only the first of many for me. They say the things people regret most in life are the things they did not do, the risks they didn’t take or the opportunities they didn’t follow.
So even though the move from one way of life to another is difficult, even though I’m having to say good-bye to a life of carefree exploration, I know that if I don’t go now, I will indeed regret not starting at 25. And however much it hurts, however sad it is for me to accept that everything will change now, the time is ripe. So here I go!