How to settle down without actually settling

Throughout our lives, we are continuously told that we should never settle for anything or anyone less than what we deserve. We have the world at our fingertips. We can do anything – so it seems like we can have everything. However, if twenty-somethings really do have the whole world at our disposal, how are we supposed know when we have reached contentment?

tumblr_n49k5jT83N1qdwrx1o1_400Recently, Donald Glover aka Childish Gambino aka Troy from Community was asked in an interview whether he defines himself as a ‘rapper’. Glover then threw a powerful statement into the mix. He said, “I just don’t want to be okay with where I’m at. I never want to settle. I never want to be just…happy with where I’m at. I always want to be going for better.” This statement is far more powerful than it first appears.

By holding our cards close to our chests, it can become difficult to know if we should value the hand we have when we don’t know if a better one lies close to our fingertips. Our younger years soon become an intense game, with each person unsure of whether we should fold and reveal our cards to the world, or bluff our way through our cards until we get the best combination. But we’re all aware of the consequences. Eventually, the deck of cards runs out and we could be left high and dry. If we settled for our original hand, we may always wonder if a full house had been waiting a few cards away and we just didn’t dare to take the risk.

So often in life, twenty-somethings are given the impression that one day, our lives will miraculously sort themselves out. There will be a time where we want for nothing major because the good things in life will be stagnant. It is assumed that after we follow our dreams, get an ideal job, are married and start raising children, we will have made it. Sure, we may aspire to go on a family vacation or get a raise to afford that new backyard deck, but the bigger, selfish dreams are gone.

It would seem that when faced with this scary crossroad in life, people become one of the following; a reacher or a settler.

imagesThe settlers are inclined to avoid the discomfort and anxiety that comes with change. They fear that if they try to move forward, they will fall to a point lower spot than where they originally began. Sometimes they just lack the passion to believe that the climb is worth the splinters. Settlers are less inclined to question if they are truly happy. They would rather live in the soft breeze of moderate happiness and moderate sadness.


The reachers are more dramatic. The reachers force themselves to feel discomfort in order to effectuate change. These people try to actively pay their dues so that they can experience life, hoping desperately that they are progressing and growing. Reachers are less inclined to believe they are actually happy. They would rather swing between the dramatic highs and lows of life to be certain that when they find something they love, it is real.

Maybe it’s not selfish to always want more for yourself as long as you’re still giving more to other people. Perhaps it is true for both the reachers and the settlers that once we find the people, places and things that make us immeasurably happy, we will continue growing, even if we are no longer physically mobile. It could be possible that when we settle down, we can choose to experience the breeze or we can continue to ride those waves and our constant pieces of happiness will still be there.

Maybe we can settle down without settling when we finally discover the people and places that we love honestly enough to finally become stationary, and we grow with what we love instead of growing through it.

WORDS BY CYNDALL MCINERNEY a self confessed reacher, willing to stretch higher and farther than anyone else for a giant jar of Nutella. Follow her on Twitter here, and check out her other articles here.


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