The 3 Year Itch Or Why Millennials Find It Hard To Settle Down

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It’s been almost 10 years since I’ve been staying away from home (although I did stay at home for a year or so, in the middle). And the longest I’ve stayed in one place since then has been 3.5 years (here, in Hyderabad).
And now, in the typical can’t-settle-down fashion that seems to characterize my generation, I feel the three-year itch.

The urge to travel. To see more things. To move to a different city, a different country, maybe even a different continent.

Oh, how I miss the thrill of landing with my bags in a new place. The thought of meeting new people I know nothing about (yes, I’m a complete extrovert), making new friends, and most of all – learning new ways to adapt myself.

I want to experience it all over again. The anticipation of moving. The eagerness of starting a new chapter in life. The frustration of not finding a flat good enough for me. The triumph of finally finding one I absolutely love. The comfort of giving the word “home” a new meaning. The excitement of putting up fairy lights around a new window overlooking a new scenery. The rush of setting up my very own reading nook in a new corner.

The irritation of dealing with a new set of nosy neighbours. The enthusiasm of that first “hello”, that first introduction to a new face. The delight of choosing the ones that give off a positive vibe. The adrenaline pump of starting from scratch – making a first impression on hundreds of new people – the ability to be anyone I want. The jubilation of finding more people to have life altering keeps-me-up-all-night intellectual discussions with. The familiarity of getting used to a new “daily routine”. The struggle of memorizing a new set of routes around the city. The anticipation of trying out a whole new set of places to chill in. The thrill of chalking out new weekend trips. The titillation of travelling to new places never visited before. The tingle of taking a new set of pictures in vibrant shades. The pleasure of putting them up on social media (oh, of course I would!). The euphoria of having more stamps on my passport. The elation of hearing my camera click. The sound of my feet on cobbled stones in some quaint European village. The hesitation of trying out a weirdly named dish in a new cuisine. The apprehension of taking a new road – not knowing where it will lead.

The heart-thumping sensation of being all alone, miles away from home.  The sounds, the sights, the smells – the intensity of life in technicolor. I want it all.

“And how could I forget the deliciously sweet pain of picking out your most prized possessions that will be carried with you to your new home, ‘coz life, honey, needs to fit into 32kg of baggage allowed on a flight”

Not to mention, the temporary contentment of believing that this is home and that I’ve finally arrived. Well, at least for the next three years, when life seems to get a bit dull around the edges, once again. Or rather, the lightness of knowing there is no one “home” – home is wherever you are, at that moment in time. A word that morphs into a feeling, no longer defined by spatial dimensions.

No, I am not ready to settle down. Not in one place. Not yet. Maybe the next city will make me feel that way. Maybe it won’t. Maybe I’m not meant to stay put in one city. Maybe I’m meant to travel. Maybe I will. Maybe this wanderlust is meant to be. And guess what? I’m not complaining.

I’d like to believe I am not the only one who feels this way. Our generation – the first to step out of home and be completely independent, has, somewhere along the line, imbibed a habit of never settling down. From our jobs, to our relationships. to our homes – everything seems to have a quality of transience, an impermanence if you will.

The sheen of a new beginning is simply too bright for us to ignore.
How will this pan out in the long run? Only time will tell.

For now, here’s hoping our restlessness will lead us to dream big and achieve bigger. TC mark

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