It's time to settle down. Please help me.
November 9, 2009 5:45 PM   Subscribe

It's time to settle down. Please help me.

7 1/2 years ago, I graduated from college. Since then:

I've lived in five different states - DC/VA, NC, FL, IL, MI.
I've had leases with six different apartments.
I've worked full-time for two pro baseball teams and part time for another. (I love baseball.)
I've also worked in a few other industries, including fundraising, DJing, and mortgage banking.

I've been lucky for a lot of reasons. Life has been good.

I like movement. Motion. Exploring new passions and learning about others'.

And today I did something that will likely put an end to all of this: I applied for a mortgage. My wife, whom I love dearly, wants a house. She has figured out what she wants to do with her life. She wants to be here in Michigan, where we both grew up. She wants a few children. She's ready to settle and have the American Dream life we're all programmed to have.

I also want to settle. But it doesn't feel like the right time, even though I know that eventually I have to settle.

Thus, to everyone: How do you know/did you know it was the right time to settle? Were you okay with it? Does a point come when it really does feel right?
posted by st starseed to Society & Culture (12 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Just because you have a house and kids it doesn't mean you have to stop "exploring new passions and learning about others'." My husband and I took our kids, ages 12 and 9, to London for the summer. The whole summer. My husband telecommutes and still worked, we got a flat, we explored the hell out of London and other places in the UK. In 2008 we went to NYC and DC for two weeks. We'll be going West in the Spring, to Arizona and the Grand Canyon. Next year we're planning on going to the Philippines to visit my brother and his wife.

I went to culinary school a few years ago. My husband plays in bands. I'm thinking about going back to school to get my master's degree in psychology. We haven't stopped growing and living just because we have a house and a couple of kids (and some cats, too!).

Sure, we had to put some things on hold until the kids were old enough to tag along or appreciate the things we do. But some people don't even wait. That was our decision. I'm really happy with our life the way it is. And when the kids are both in college, my husband and I will expand our travels and passions.
posted by cooker girl at 6:07 PM on November 9, 2009 [5 favorites]

I knew I was ready to settle when I came home one night and realized that I hated my crappy, beat up furniture, I was tired of having to make new friends every year, I was tired of keeping my moving boxes because I knew I'd be needing them soon, and I wanted to own a couch for once.

Sometimes, having one thing that makes you happy and is meaningful in life (a spouse, kids, a home) means you have to sacrifice something else that might also make you happy (a footloose and fancy-free lifestyle).

Also, keep in mind that buying a home doesn't mean you have to live in it for the rest of your life. I know of people who bought homes, lived in them for a while, and then got amazing job opportunities overseas. So they packed up their stuff, leased out their homes, and hauled their entire families overseas for a few years for a new experience. This sort of thing requires an equally flexible and adventurous spouse, however.
posted by cleverevans at 6:08 PM on November 9, 2009

(oh, BTW, we didn't sell the house when we went to London. It's nice to have a "base" to come home to!)
posted by cooker girl at 6:15 PM on November 9, 2009

I settled down when I found out I was having a baby. At first it felt like my youth and freedom had suddenly evaporated ...too tired for dance parties? No drinking!? Daycare costs how much!? Now that babycakes is almost one and a half, I've settled into settling down. It feels cozy and satisfying to come home to my family, not my roommates, and to live in the same place for over a year. Sure, I'm in bed by ten most nights (kiddo needs us by seven no matter how late anyone was out) but I'd finally rather have friends over for dinner than go out drinking.
posted by debbie_ann at 6:37 PM on November 9, 2009

It sounds like settling down is your next adventure. There will be other adventures after this one, too.
posted by juliplease at 6:43 PM on November 9, 2009

How do you know/did you know it was the right time to settle?

I threw a party about 7 months into yet another one-year stay in a new city. Maybe 8 people showed, over the course of a few hours; none of them stayed long. I didn't feel like I really knew any of them. I realized I missed people I didn't even know yet. Real friends, people you know for years and who live nearby so they can come over now and then for dinner. I needed roots.

Anyway, now I have them, and I'm very happy about that; I personally feel that my life is enriched by human connections as much as, if not more than, by new experiences.

It is, however, important that you're settling somewhere you like to be.
posted by palliser at 6:47 PM on November 9, 2009

An end to all that movement, motion, sharing passions, baseball, music?

Imagine watching someone discover all those things for the first time. If you like adventure you'll love being a parent.
posted by infinitefloatingbrains at 7:15 PM on November 9, 2009

A house is a huge thing to have, if you're not sure what you want with your future. Wisdom of Mrs. flt: don't go along with your wife and get a home when it is only her wish, as it may become a point of bitterness for a long time.

cooker girl's solution sounds fantastic, if you and your wife can move that for that long. Otherwise, you could work out some balance of personal mobility with family stability. Again, don't leave home so often that your wife and family resent you. Everyone has their own thresholds for independence and collaboration, and I'm sure you two can find a balance.

If staying locally is necessary for being a supportive part of your family, you could find a job locally that has a lot of diversity. With your range of experiences, it sounds like you could adapt to a number of situations.
posted by filthy light thief at 8:03 PM on November 9, 2009

I think settling down is more a state of mind than a physical presence. Hell, I have a wife, 3 kids and an overpriced house with a mortgage in a NY suburb, but I still go to a lot of music shows around the country, have recently traveled to Amsterdam with friends for the weekend, spent a recent summer in a cabin in the woods and watch a lot of the travel channel.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 8:10 PM on November 9, 2009

There's a huge difference between "settling down" and "settling".

If you mean settle as in "settle for less" then I'd suggest you don't do that. There's no happiness in accepting something that doesn't satisfy or suit you.

If you mean settle and in "settle down with a family/home" then that can be a good thing. It was time for me to settle down when I felt rooted in my relationship and in my community.

It all comes down to what type of settling this is. If you're not ready to embrace settling down, then it's probably destined to be a bust. It'll be a shame if your wife needs something that can't make you happy, but sometimes two people aren't ready for the same adventure at the same time.
posted by 26.2 at 10:24 PM on November 9, 2009

Some people never settle, settle down, or anything of the sort. As for the house, apply and buy away - if you get it, then use it as a base for whatever else comes along. Heck I'm sure it'll be big enough to have someone trusted live in while contributing something to the mortgage (if not the whole thing). You'll still get a lot of the tax benefits (IANAL) but without the worries of being 'tied down'...
posted by chrisinseoul at 2:21 AM on November 10, 2009

I like movement. Motion. Exploring new passions and learning about others'.

The only thing that will keep you from exploring these things and having a house at the same time is your own belief that they are incompatible.

You seem to equate settling down with settling. Not the same thing. Pick a town to settle down in where you won't have to settle.
posted by yohko at 1:48 PM on November 27, 2009

« Older Any suggestions on a professional work bag?   |   I just wanna slappa da bass while people in clown... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.