Thursday, December 1, 2011

Settle down

More than ever before, the question is posed to me. I am 32 (ouch), have no place to call my own and no job, at least not one that provides me with a sense of security - since I just started my own consultancy. The question usually comes after a moment of hesitation and with a prelude like "No offense, but" or "I hope you won't be insulted, but". And then, there it is: "Don't you want to settle down?".

Some people refer to having a pied a terre somewhere or some savings in the bank, but most people talk about living in one place (preferably Amsterdam) and starting a family. Given my age that may be the obvious thing to do. In fact, when I was 25 I already bought an apartment in Amsterdam and was on the way to settling down. It was great in many ways. However, the scary thing about the settled life for me is that is has a tendency to suck you in. Before you know it, you ride the same train to work everyday and flip channels from America's Next Top Model to Boer zoekt Vrouw (a dating show for Dutch farners). At work, you then discuss these things (train was late, farmer was handsome). This was not my cup of tea. There had to be more to life than this, right? The great wide world kept on pulling my arm. So, for me it meant I needed to get off the couch. 

Now, years later, I still embrace this path I've chosen and I am grateful for everything that comes my way. Writing this, I sit in my friends' living room of their 70ties house in Jakarta, looking out on beautiful red flowers and a cat playing in the sun. While it's freezing in Holland, I am refreshed by the fan that softly blows fresh air my way. Today is the last day I spend at a great Indonesian human rights group, where in the past three weeks I have facilitated meetings, giving trainings and launched a manual on Monitoring and Evaluation. Tomorrow, I am off to Bali, to meet good friends and make my (yes, I am geeky) personal year plan for 2012. Of course I am scared by the insecurity of not knowing whether I'll have enough work next year, but strangely I see people that have everything (a house, a family, a contract) worry too. I guess the good thing of not having anything, is that you also have nothing to lose...


Jorgen said...

Please don't waste your radiant and life-enthusiastic youth in worrying about 'settling down'.

You are free to settle down or not settle down whereever and whenever it pleases you.

You are the captain of your own life and you are one Heck of a good captain!

Continue your good existence! Good Luck! And many creamy cafe lattes!

Susan Soesilowati said...

I agree with Jurgen!