If someone told me that this is what I would want 5 years ago, I would've denied it, vehemently.
At that time “being settled” meant that I would have been giving up in a sense, because being “young” meant that you always had to be multi-tasking. Biting off more than I could chew was the only way I saw to achieve success, for people to take me seriously and for personal growth. Denying my weaknesses and being in a consistent spiral of activity summed up my early 20s..
This experience is not unique to me, as Millennials we grew up in a time where we were expected to always be multi-tasking - for the first time we had all the tools for it. So if you weren’t doing a million things at once… then what were you doing?
I remember a conversation I had with my parents while finishing up grad school. I had been offered a great job - I didn’t know it yet, but it was my dream job - and I was very excited about this. When I shared the news, they were happy I guess, but didn’t react in the way I thought they would. I has not yet graduated from the programme, my thesis wasn’t yet marked, and I had been offered a job that paid three times more than my previous job. Where was the excitement?
Then my father broke the smiling silence and said “so, what’s next?”…NEXT?! I was initially confused because I thought this news of this new good-paying job would be it. I didn’t allow him to see that he had stumped me, I said something about volunteering in other spheres so I can be more well-rounded - he nodded, so I guess he approved of the response. This is where my cycle of continuous motion began.
Can you recall yours? That first time you got that feeling that doing one thing, focusing on one thing was not enough?
It wasn’t until years later that I realized there had to be another way.
When I realized that I would appreciate being “settled” was when I had about 3 years of continuous change. Imagine changing jobs four times in 6 months (not because I wanted to). It was exhausting. Then it hit me.
Wanting to be “settled” doesn’t mean you’re settling. Again: Being settled, doesn’t mean you’re settling.
Settled means you have structure to your life, it doesn’t mean that you’ve stopped striving, that you’ve stopped thinking about the next, that you’ve stopped thinking about how you can level up. It simply means that you are doing it on your terms, in a more structured/ organized way. In a way where you don’t feel pressured into doing things. In a way where you’re not trying to keep up with your friends or other people in your age group (or even younger than you). In a way where you aren’t stifled by deadlines.
In my 20’s I felt like I was constantly holding my breath wondering whether I was good enough, working hard enough, achieving enough. Now, I guess I’m all out of breath, fatigued by everyone else’s expectations … and now I want to be settled. Working on my goals for me, in my own way, on my own terms.
I know, it’s difficult to feel accomplished when everyone is telling you that you need to have at least 7 streams of income and that a first degree is now basically a high school diploma, and that working 40 hours just won’t cut it, and the famous Steve Harvey video that says you can’t be in bed until 8 when Wall Street’s been up for 3 hours.
But all these are suggestions. It is up to us to manage how we interpret this information and apply it to our lives in specific ways to meet our goals, in a timeline we see as feasible. This is being settled.
Being swept in the wave of “you’re not doing enough” may end in you drowning in work. Work that you’re not particularly passionate about, work that you’re not really good at, work that’s not really related to your goals.