The storm before the calm

Often in life there are things we go through in order to reap the rewards later on.

To study for a degree because you’ve been convinced that having one will make things easier in the future.

To stay in a relationship that isn’t great but you hope that it’ll all be for the best once you’re married with kids.

We rationalise it as short term pain for long term gain but sometimes it’s a lack faith.

Maybe you don’t believe there’s better out there so you settle for what you can get.

You say ‘I’m willing to brave the storm’ in the hopes that the calm will follow (and that the storm won’t totally rip you to shreds).

And that’s cool because it’s an option that you can take if you want but maybe there’s more out there for you.

Maybe you could also choose the calm without the storm because you don’t have to settle and you don’t have to go through ‘hard times’ in order for ‘good things’ to happen.

In search of stability (don’t settle)

I think that in searching for stability you don’t give yourself enough room to explore and take risks. You align yourself in things that feel safe and reliable then convince yourself that it’s what you truly desire.

The pursuit of stability is often about fear and control. As human beings one of our core needs is survival which is linked to staying safe.

But in pursing something that doesn’t have outcome certainty it brings up risk of jeopardising safety and therefore survival.

Perhaps you wanted to make art for a living, but you chose to be a HR assistant instead. The idea of making and selling your work for a living has risk because it might not work. What if you don’t make enough money, you can’t pay your bills, you have to move back with your parents or move with friends, you get evicted, you have to sell all your possessions blah, blah blah

The inner monologue is amazing at getting carried away. You can go from one small inconvenience to thinking your entire life is over. And I think that there is a string need for an awareness for that so that we don’t end up listening to that voice.

You don’t want to end up wishing you’d taken a chance in your twenties, thirties or forties because you decided to live your life in search of stability.

But you don’t have to go in the opposite direction either. Go for what brings you joy, what you care about or what interests you.

Settlers and explorers

Some people choose to settle because they want a life of comfort, stability and familiarity. Or maybe it’s that they’ve figured out what they want from life or what they want to pursue.

Some people choose to explore because they have trust in the part of them that is curious to experience more in life and enjoy they the constant newness that comes with the explorers way of life.

Sometimes settlers become explorers when they realise how little they have experienced or when they gain this hunger for more.

Sometimes explorers become settlers when they grow tired of going from place to place or thing to thing and they feel fulfilled by what they have experienced.

Fear might hold you back from branching out and trying something new. But, as good as life might seem, you may find that it is just the sense of comfort that you crave not the life you’re currently living.

Or perhaps you choose the life of a wanderer because you crave the feeling of freedom. But you might just be running from something and it’s easy to make excuses when live your life in a way so that you’re constantly unsettled.

I think for me a mix of the 2 is necessary because you can gain so much from both ways of living.

This isn’t a post about cars

Imagine that you want to buy a pink car so you go to the dealership and they show you this amazing range of cars including pink ones which you express your interest in and now you’re super excited.

But when they later present a car to you, it’s not pink.

You feel a little disappointed but then wonder if maybe you were expecting too much afterall ‘do you really need a car that’s pink?’, blue is okay too.

You decide to accept the blue car because you really wanted a car and it’s what the dealership offered you.

But when you’re driving around, something feels off because you know that this car isn’t what you wanted, you settled.

We settle for all kinds of reasons:

  • We allow people convince us that our wants/expectations are too much
  • We don’t want to offend people
  • We don’t believe that we deserve the things we want

This isn’t a post about cars (of which I know next to nothing about), it’s a post about settling and for a lot of us if we do it (even in small ways) much more than we realise.

What space taught me

I’ve been thinking about how when you give yourself space from people you can end up realising that actually you’re quite content without that person being in your life.

And then days or weeks later when the space is no longer there you find yourself holding back because in that time of space you realised that what you have with this person is nothing more than familiarity.

The old things that would draw you in don’t have the effect that they used to. The things that you ignored even though they bothered you are no longer things you’re willing to over look.

Space taught me to remember the things that I have learnt.  For it is in moments of solitude that I am reminded of how much I love myself and all the things I want for myself and it’s okay to settle but it’s not okay to settle for other people.