I’ve never understood it. Even in childhood, I’ve very much disliked the concept. Gives me this idea that you stop doing cool stuff.
Maybe it’s because I’m at the beginning of my life and feel like I haven’t experienced anything yet. A lot of my old high school classmates have essentially “settled down” since they were about 19 years old. Many of them have been married with kids since that age.
Settling down seems to refer to a specific set of behaviors performed after marriage: producing offspring, investing in personal possessions (a house, car), and deviating from more risky activities. For many people, risky looks like traveling or starting a business. Settling down isn’t just defined by “getting married”, on the surface it looks to be a separate load of expectations reinforced by social norms.
There’s a real underplayed financial element to it as well. I’m reminded of that one quote: what you own, owns you. People are getting tied down by their own possessions and debt. Makes great for consumerism. I’m certain it’s because culture tells them that it’s what they should do. Just like they “should” spend thousands on overpriced diamonds for their bride-to-be despite them not being rare, valuable, or precious.
The last thing we all want: to not only feel stuck, but actually be stuck. Because we do have a lot of freedom in our country and that includes the freedom to get as stuck as you never intended to be.
But I’m going to give myself a way out here: I’m young and my opinion on the concept of “settling down” could change further down the line.