“We decide what we can settle for in life and then we do just that.”
A few weeks ago someone said this to me and I haven’t been able to stop thinking it since. It’s so true.
As a kid I was 100% sure that I was going to be the most amazing adult in the history of EVER (quoted from my five year old self). I was going to be a singing, dancing, superhero, fire(wo)man, spy. Yep, I’ve always been a multi-tasker.
My “most amazing adult in the history of ever” momentum significantly slowed down in middle school when my focus shifted to “keep my dad alive.” Any children of alcoholics out there are probably nodding right now because they know exactly what I’m talking about.
For most people the moment of shifting from chasing dreams to limping with reality happens much later.
I learned what I could settle for and then I did.
In weight loss I’ve recently done the same thing. I can live with myself at this weight. I’m able to do almost everything I want to, I can fit pretty much anywhere, people find me attractive, I’m starting to think that I’m authentically pretty and not just “pretty for a fat girl,” and I’m not in nearly as much pain as I once was. You’d think that this would be good enough for me. Unfortunately, you’d be right.
I’ve been settling for what I can live with. Complacency has beat out my drive for better things.
Last night I laid in bed thinking about what I want life to look like, imaging what that firecracker of a five year old would have to say about what I should be doing. She still wants to play dress up and sing. She’s still writing stories on scraps of paper just because her imagination is bursting with ideas. She’s still waiting for her prince charming and would settle for nothing less. If there’s no tiara, no deal!
After that I fell asleep and dreamt of Fearless Leader. The short story of the dream (without all the WTF details that are present in all of my dreams) was that she was reminding me that I have choices. Those choices create a trajectory and that trajectory determines what my life looks like.
Touché, my subconscious masquerading as Fearless Leader, touché.
In weight loss, relationships, career, and every other aspect of my life I have to decide where to set the bar. Sure, I could keep doing things exactly as I have been but can I settle for this? No, I can’t.
I won’t settle for hovering around 250lbs, I won’t settle for a web of “it’s complicated” relationships, I won’t settle (permanently) for working somewhere just because a job is a job and it pays (most of) my bills.
In the last few years I’ve gone from being too afraid to go out and be in public, weighing almost 300lbs, not having a job, living in pain, and just plain failing at life to being out and about, losing 50lbs, having both a job and multiple side projects (hello blog), and starting to feel like I might have an idea of what life could and should look like. It may have taken going to hell and back but I think it’s worth it.
If I can do this in just a few years, maybe I can still please my petulant five year old self. Above and beyond the tangible things, I’ve changed. As I’ve learned to deal with past trauma and present emotional issues I’ve become a whole different kind of Kendra. I’ve become a Kendra who has decided that she can’t settle.
So maybe people who achieve great things are just the people who decided that they couldn’t settle. Maybe that’s the only difference.
Thanks for this post. I've considered thinking about this – about what I wanted as a child, and why I've settled for less than that. I know that if I really thought back, and connected with what my biggest dreams were, it would be good for me. Problem is, it would also be hard — I'd have to confront the fact that I'm not where I want to be :-/ Sometimes, I'd rather limp along…
But you're RIGHT! I don't want to settle… thanks for the inspiration. I hope to get up the courage to confront the ways in which I am settling.