Sometimes out of the blue usually when I’m hiking, biking or even driving a thought or word will pop into my head and stick there like glue until I take the time to figure out why this has suddenly become part of my consciousness. The other day, I was driving home from shopping and I had the radio off which sometimes I do just for the quiet when a particular word came out of nowhere and struck me. Settled.
I started thinking of a commercial I saw recently where this family of “settlers” were out plowing their land except their land was a suburban home plot. The neighbors were set in the modern-day, driving cars while the father was plowing up his land in old pioneer garments. The pun of the commercial was why “settle” for cable when you can get satellite tv or something of the sort. I can’t remember the company off-hand but I thought the commercial was cleverly comical. The father states to his son “We’re settlers.” But not in the traditional way, just in the manner that they settle for less in life and do things the hard way rather than reach out and take advantage of what is offered around them.
How many of us settle for good enough? Have you ever thought about it? You look at people like Donald Trump and they feel they are entitled to the very best. To me that type of attitude is strange and self-serving. But, I considered, do I settle for less when I could reach for more? Yes, actually I have most of my life. A good example is my first and second husbands. Settled for relationships that I wasn’t truly happy in but seemed “good enough”. Not that I even wanted to get married either time, it was the result of each one of them pushing and pushing me until I finally gave in and agreed to get married. Another time when my gut instincts were screaming “NO!” and I reasoned my way into unhappy marital unions. Stupid, really stupid. What if I had set my limits and said, no you’re not good enough to be my husband? My life would have been a lot different as my current marriage has proved.
In my younger years I settled for friends who didn’t have my best interests at heart just to have more friends and seem part of the crowd. I imagine we all do that but I think of the time and heartache I could have saved myself over the years. I settled for a life path that wasn’t really what I wanted. When my mom shot down my desire to attend the vocational school for floral design because my ultimate goal was to eventually go to college for business and horticulture, I let go of my dream to own a floral shop/plant nursery. Hindsight is always 20/20 and when I look back now, I think, well she didn’t have control over what I did in college, why didn’t I go? Because I settled for the path of least resistance. I went to school for medical assisting because at the time it was the up and coming career and paid fairly well for limited schooling. My plan was once I finished my Medical Assisting degree, I would transfer to a four-year college in Dayton to finish my education.
Except I let my plans become derailed when I met my future husband #1. I settled for allowing his goals and plans to overshadow mine and I didn’t follow through on my education until later in life when it was much tougher. Once children became involved in my life, my life became about supporting and raising them so little of it had to do with my goals and dreams. My life plan certainly wasn’t what I expected but I made the best of it and I have three amazing and successful daughters.
Settling isn’t always about major items in your life, it can be simple things like what clothes you buy, what food you eat, or whether or not you treat yourself well. Maybe you need a nap or a long bath or you just don’t feel like cooking dinner that night. Maybe it is asking for help, like I have while I finish my last semester of college. I’ve recruited my daughters to help with household cleaning chores that I normally do so it takes some pressure off of me.
So you’ve settled in life, now what? First make sure you actually settled. Sometimes we get ideas in our head based on what others are doing in life, peer pressure so to speak or what we see in media and television. If you’ve determined you have aspects of your life that you have settled in, then make a list of those things and brainstorm how you might take steps to remedy the situation.
For example, my youthful goal of owning my own floral/nursery business no longer applies today but maybe I could look at other options of entrepreneurship that may fulfill my desire to be more independent, my own boss. This could be as simple as starting a small side business to complement my current work hours or maybe at some point down the road, I may get inspired to take on my own business again in a full-fledged way. Or maybe I focus on finally writing that best-selling novel. The point is to start today, start noting the ways you settle and find ways to make your life better. After all this is the only life you have.
The key is, don’t stay mired in the past or regret. Move ahead. Make your own happiness.