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For whatever reason, as I work with clients themes tend to pop up. Lately the theme has been settling, and selling out. Clients from all ages are worrying about that idea or that ideal. Whether they are in their 20s or their 50s they are worrying about:
- have I settled?
- is it possible to not settle?
- can I get unsettled?
Many of us in our 20s had big dreams and visions for our lives, maybe writing a book or traveling the world, doing photography or being CEO of our own company. And then we entered ‘the real world’ where those around and older then us listened politely to our dreams and the quickly responded with
“but you need to get a real job” “you need to be responsible, get benefits, buy a house and settle down”
in other words
“you need to join us”.
And so we do, we get the job with benefits we convince ourselves we will keep up the dream but eventually we get tired, and beaten down and so we just join the masses. And for awhile that is enough we know we aren’t ‘living our dream’ but we say to ourselves ‘who is really?’. And then one day we hear ourselves say to the next generation as they share their big dreams:
“get a real job” “be responsible, get benefits, buy a house and settled down”
and we say
“WHOA! Did I just say that?” “Did I just spread the propaganda?” “Did I just shame their dreams?
We start to wonder, is this all there is? Did I sell out? Can I get back my dreams?
I have written before how settling doesn’t have to be a bad thing. But for some people that feeling of settling is not a good one (which is usually a reason they come in to see me). For whatever reason they are not happy. They have done ‘everything they were told to do’ and yet they are still unhappy.
The reason settling becomes a problem is because you are living from someone else’s definition of success. You are living someone else’s dream. I believe not settling takes time, intention and vision. Not settling means patience, tradeoffs and a life lived from your values.
You can get back your dreams. There is hope. The reason it is called the road less traveled is because it is. The reason many of us love that phrase is because it sounds adventurous and fun. It sounds romantic and mysterious. But you know what?
The road less traveled is less traveled for a REASON it is hard, and full of thorny bushes and overgrown brush. But every now and then you reach a clearing where you can see for miles and the view is incredible. And you say, “This was worth it.”
Whereas the road more often traveled may be green and well worn the whole time but there aren’t as many surprise vistas or views. The roads are different. There isn’t a right or wrong. There is nothing wrong with having a job with benefits, a house and a stable life–unless you don’t choose that life.
The choice is yours.
The challenge is making YOUR choice.
Choosing YOUR path.
The theme is you can always make a new choice. If you find you have picked the wrong path–pick again–make a new path–forge a new trail or take a side path. There are consequences and challenges to either choice. Just remember, life is much happier when it is YOUR path.
What about you? Can you relate to the story? What does settling mean to you?