I wonder when it’s time to settle. You see, I’ve always been a ‘grass is greener’ kinda human and the truth is it’s served me well — I value growth, experiences, adventure, and the occasional shiny thing.
The challenge is to know when to stop searching for what’s next — whether that be a job opportunity, an improved relationship, travel, a place to live, the next adventure and experience — and simply be present to what is.
When does this pursuit become a distraction from the present moment and is there such thing as balance?
Get business news first
Sign up to SmartCompany’s daily newsletter
Grass Is Greener.
~ ~ ~
Dear Grass Is Greener,
Hmmm. I’ve been sitting here staring at my screen for about 10 minutes now. Pondering. This is the question, isn’t it? The big question in life.
I have a feeling the answer is simpler than we both might think, and lies in your opening sentence: “I wonder when it is time to settle.”
Let’s talk about that word ‘settle’. Because I think you mean two things, and I think at the moment, you’re thinking those two things are linked.
You’re a searcher. It’s in your spirit, right? ‘When is it time to settle down?’ is a reasonable question for an adventurer. Hang up the swag, light the fire and warm your toes.
But you asked when is it time to settle. And that’s not feeling right.
What’s driving the question, Greener? Are you feeling like, with all your travels and the experiences you’ve had, you don’t have much to show for it? Are you feeling the need to build? To raise? Crops? Kids?
Tell me something. Honestly. Are you searching because you’re running away from something? Or are you searching because you’re trying to find something?
Because I want to say that the simple answer to everything is ‘when it feels right’. Which means that settling down won’t feel like settling, because it’ll be what your soul is craving. And feed your soul. Always.
But sometimes I make it hard to hear my soul, because I build all these expectations around it. Are you doing that?
Do you need to settle because it’s expected? By you, or by the world around you?
Or are you losing faith that what you’re searching for might not be out there?
I feel like that’s it. That’s the heart of it.
When is it time to settle, to let go of the dream of what might be? Because maybe you’re ignoring some perfectly good stuff right here and now.
I’m just going to say it: I don’t think so.
I think if you can do some soul searching and be sure that what you’re searching for is real, even if it’s lofty and idealistic and not particularly practical, and it really is what you yearn for, not just a distraction, then it’s right.
And it’s what you need. And it’s what you deserve.
I think a life spent searching for something truly wonderful is a life well-lived, so long as you understand that the searching is not your life. Not the thing you’re searching for. All the adventures and all the experiences that come along the way — that’s your life.
Imagine you never find it, this thing. But you don’t settle. You keep searching. If you get to the end and it’s your time to die, would you look back and regret that you didn’t stop searching, or would you smile at the memories?
Now imagine you settle. What does that feel like, for starters? Will this dream burn inside you, restless, taunting, so that you start to resent your life and punish the people around you? Or will you wake up one day and realise that all you needed was right here all along?
I think you’ll feel the truth, even now. And I know you’ve been pondering. Agonising, probably.
A very wise friend of mine would slap me in the head and say: ‘No! You can have it all, you dummy! Just stop searching. Plant your feet and let it come.’
You’ll know, I think, when it’s time to settle, because it won’t be. It’ll be just as you dreamed.
You do deserve it, you know.
We all do.
~ ~ ~
One of the most important things in business is to be human, and this is exactly what old-school advice column Dear Human aspires to encourage. If you have a question for Good Empire founder André Eikmeier, please email him at [email protected]