There are two types, broadly speaking. We plod on through life and there are those who settle for a warm patch of grass, their patch of grass. Then there those who muscle forward in search of something more. Hollywood glamorizes the more-seekers for their bravery, but what is bravery? Bravery comes hand in hand with risk, and risk means possibility of disaster. You’re brave because you teeter on the brink of disaster but of course, Hollywood presents to us the winners in all their glory while the rest of reality struggles to get back on their feet.
This word “settled” gets a really bad rap but there’s a problem in the definition, or should I say, the connotation. What do you think of when I say, “she settled”, or “he settled”? You think that there could have been more and they just didn’t have it in them to go and get it. Right? So she settled. Or so he settled. For the lesser, for the attainable.
I reject this definition, or should I say, connotation. I think what really happens is that we aim for something completely unrealistic and we beat ourselves silly for a something that was mismarked in the first place. When we were kids, we dreamed of being astronauts. Save a very small minority of us, that was a stupid dream to have. Well, take that notion, transplant it into our mid-20s, and you essentially have the same thing.
It’s not that the things we want are so unobtainable, it’s that there’s a lack of honest appraisal. Let’s be honest with ourselves. We live in a giant cost/benefit analysis, a universe of trade-offs. Trust me, if there is such a thing as the perfect thing, you can get in the perfect line…it wraps around block again and again. Our problem is that we want it all and we want it with the minimum amount of effort. I won’t get into why, or what’s to blame, just know that for most people in this world, a condo is a dream, not a starter-house. Our sense of entitlement, however cultivated, blinds us to the very inconvenient truth, which is to say that even the good things in life, the things we’ve so deified, carry with them serious flaws that can just as easily ruin us.
So when I hear the word “settle”, I hear the pleasant crinkling sound of the foggy glass being broken. You open your eyes to the surprisng news that what you have now is what you’ve been looking for all along in the murky horizon. When we better adjust our valuations and appraisals, our “life goggles” so to speak, we come to accept, no…understand that this pocked-faced, chubby man who snores next to you really is the Prince Charming you thought you were holding out for.
So that’s “settling”, and when you think about it this way, as I’ve come to see it, it’s not so bad is it? Woken up people who are ready…just ready, to start enjoying their lives, NOW, instead of looking for something better.
But we still admire those who look for more (it’s easy to admire the reckless), but what is more? More is undefined and necessarily so. For ‘more’ types like myself, black-and-white definitions are anathema, and so ‘more’ remains undefined. We know we want more, we just don’t know what it is. It’s become a motto for us, more-seekers: Charge forward in search of more, until the pleasant crinkling sound of a much stubborn glass ushers in the moment when we realize that we’ve had what we’ve been looking for all along, here and now.