"Settling Down" in Your 20s

 

Before I even start, I feel the need to point out that I’m not even 20 yet. I’m still 19 and won’t be entering my second decade of life for another three months. Except, I feel as if this topic is something I need to address since I know that there might be some naysayers out there when I tell you that as of this past month I have officially moved in with my boyfriend. And maybe you support the decision I made, but don’t quite agree with me. I just wanted to address this as it has been something on my mind for a few weeks now.

The only reason I say that there are naysayers out there isn’t because anyone has said anything to me, but honestly because I probably would have been one of them a year ago had someone my age told me they were moving in with their significant other. Whenever people asked me what my living situation was for the summer and I told them that I was moving in with my boyfriend, I was confronted with two reactions: the “Aww that’s so cute!” and “Oh, that’s nice,” accompanied by a surprised look on their face.

Just the other day I told someone I was meeting for the first time that the two of us were living together, and although they were kind and supportive, I could tell they were surprised and a little hesitant in the way they reacted. And honestly, that’s okay. I don’t expect every person I meet to yell and cheer over every life decision I make – that’s not what I’m trying to say. What I want to tell everyone who might be a little taken aback to hear that I’ve moved in with my significant other at merely 19 years of age is that I’m happy. I know I’ve made the best decision I could have for myself.

I think a personal stigma that I might have had about this a year ago is that people who do this limit themselves. They’re at risk for missing out on life opportunities and adventures and crazy experiences. I am not someone who likes to party. I don’t like to go to clubs or extravagant bars. Give me a cheap bottle of wine and a night in with friends and I am the happiest person in the world. To me, spending ridiculous amounts of money on alcohol at a club, getting so drunk that I can’t remember the night before, and sleeping with random strangers do not add up to life experiences that I don’t want to miss out on. This is me just assuming those are the things that people are talking about. And who says I can’t do those things when I’m in a relationship anyways? I mean, my boyfriend might not like me sleeping with random strangers, but I could if I really wanted to. I don’t… but I could.

The things that I want to experience in life go beyond these. I want to start a blog (check), get involved in the Ryerson community (check, again), earn enough money to sustain myself and make those first moves towards financial independence, and be successful in my career. I want to travel the world, adopt a bunch of cats and dogs, and live in another country one day. All these things on my life “check-list” are also on my boyfriend’s. He has his own of course, but for the next five to ten years of our lives we pretty much have the same future envisioned for ourselves. Don’t you think those life experiences seem pretty amazing too?

Another stigma that might be running through your head is that I’ll neglect my friends. And it’s true – I believe that there are some friends I have lost 50% due to my relationship and 50% because of my actions in accordance to said relationship. I know that the actions I took outside of my relationship also played a hand in ending those friendships, but what I’m addressing is specifically the role having a boyfriend played in their endings. “Your friends are the most important people in this point of your life.” I’ve heard this from people and read this a bunch all over the internet. I know that some people reading this might be rolling your eyes right now because I’m “that girl.” The girl who chose her boyfriend over her friends, but honestly, whatever. The reason I lost those friends was because they didn’t understand what my relationship was like. A little disclaimer here; I was extremely unhappy last fall. My friends blamed part of my unhappiness on my relationship at a time when my relationship was the only thing giving me happiness and keeping me going. My boyfriend was my biggest support system. He was my haven. So yeah, at that point in my life I chose my boyfriend over my friends.

*The unhealthiness of relying on your relationship for happiness is the topic of another blog post, so please do not hate me for my previous statement. I do have other avenues of happiness, but I am addressing my relationship specifically.*

But the friends who did stick by my side knew all of this. They cared enough to hear what I needed. Alongside my boyfriend, they are my biggest cheerleaders and will always encourage me in the decisions that I make. Those friends and my family make up my support system outside of my relationship; which is something I believe is extremely important to have in place for all those times when your significant other isn’t someone you can turn to (i.e. those times when the bad fights happen). I know that they will always be there for me no matter what happens and in all those “what if” scenarios.

What I mean by “what if” scenarios are; What if something happens? What if you break up? What if it doesn’t work out? You can’t live your whole life according to “what if.” It doesn’t work that way. If you do, then you might miss out on so many incredible opportunities in your life. I know that moving in with my boyfriend so young might be off-putting to a lot of people. But I’m taking a chance here. I am in love and am so happy in my new apartment, and building a life with him. Taking this step and moving in together had so many more pros than it did cons. In the end I really and truly believe that this decision was the best one we could have made.

Thanks for listening.