Generation-NC: Are we the non-committal generation?

What do freelancers, apartment renters, and single people have in common?

People would say that it’s their lack of commitment. Be it with employers or life partners, these people aren’t tied down to just one person, one thing, one organization.

It’s very easy to criticize these individuals, especially if one belongs to an older generation for whom life paths are largely limited to the template. It’s very easy to brand these “noncommittal” individuals as unstable and fickle–to think of them as directionless drifters with no bright future ahead of them.

This is, of course, an unfair assessment. It doesn’t take into account that, for many of these individuals, they have arrived at this arrangement in their lives on purpose. It was a decision that they made after years of introspection and perhaps after experiencing the exact opposite.

The digital nomad working in that beach hut might have been a Wall Street banker for ten years. The person going on a date at the next table who’s looking for “nothing serious” may have just come off of a seven-year marriage to their high school sweetheart. Sometimes, what they have is not a lack of commitment but an intentional commitment to a lifestyle that goes against the norm.

Land of the free, home of the brave

Back in the day, a young professional’s goal was to be work for a company for four decades, rising through the ranks before finally retiring. That kind of loyalty may be a noble pursuit, but it’s no longer the only option available. Many young professionals are now seeing other alternatives for their careers.

First, you have the slashers or those who pursue two or more careers at a time. This includes people who keep day jobs in an office while pursuing a passion-based career on the side. You also have freelancers and digital nomads who can sustain themselves by working for different companies remotely. They secure multiple projects rather than enter into a fixed contract with just one entity.

It takes a certain kind of courage and risk to enter that kind of like, which is probably why they are misunderstood. But as we have seen, it’s a life choice that can be freeing and rewarding. 

Home is where you hang your hat

Compared to their Boomer parents, Millennials are experiencing life milestones later in life. Many of them currently can’t afford homes, for example. But even for those who have purchased homes, more than half of them have regrets about it.

The reasons for this regret are varied, ranging from having underestimated the costs to choosing the wrong size or location for the house. Given that, are those Millennials who chose to just rent out forever making the wiser decision? The answer, of course, is not necessarily.

The decision to buy a house or keep renting one out depends on one’s goals and plans in life, and going, either way, is okay. Perhaps the hesitation isn’t just because they can’t afford it at the moment but because of the fear that they can’t sustain it.

For people who have a clear picture of the kind of life they want, sitting down with a reputable mortgage lender and finding an arrangement that works is in order.

For those who are still finding their way through life, buying real estate can still be an option as a form of investment. And if it’s still a commitment that’s too big or too risky given how malleable life plans are, then renting an apartment would still be the wiser option.

Married to life

Another thing Millennials are said to be doing later than their parents is getting married and having kids. Much like buying a home, the reasons for this could be financial, but it could also be intentional.

What we’re seeing is that, similar to careers, they’re seeing other ways of finding happiness in life. Many of them are actually cohabiting with a romantic partner, only that they aren’t married. Many people are single by choice or happily single—shattering the notion that happiness can only be achieved with a partner.

We see in all of this that being committed to a linear trajectory is no longer accepted as the only path to success. The world has changed, and naturally, so have the lifestyles and opportunities available for young people.

Yes, we may be, in fact, living in a noncommittal generation, and it’s not exactly a bad thing.

 Meta title: Reflections on finding happiness without the commitment
meta desc: Owning a house, being married, and having a stable job are no longer the only paths to happiness and success.

Hemant Kumar
Hemant Kumar is a project manager at Tridindia with more than nine years of commendable experience in writing about LMS, translation, and IT. His unmatched talent and passion for digital marketing gave him the opportunity to work as a multi-tasking project manager at TridIndia’s sister company, Link Building Corp. Today, he contributes to the world by imparting knowledge on SEO, link building and internet marketing etc., that helps business owners grow their online business.