Our parents said never to settle. Find your soul mate. Find the love of your life. There's only one out there for you: your knight in shining armor, your prince charming, the man who will love you more at 99 than he did at 19 and will be a loving father and an even more loving husband. It sounded nice as they tucked you into bed. You were wondering where he was, what he was doing right now. You were wondering when you would find him and as you grew older sometimes you feared you never would. You didn't want to settle for anyone less than him. You loved him already. But honestly, I'm not sure this person or these people exist.
There are billions of people in this world. I think most of us are compatible with not one, but many. The idea of a soul mate almost implies to me that these two people were so perfectly and exactly made for each other, that they would know upon the first glance that they were in love and that their love would never know a cold day. But in reality, even couples I know who I might dare say are soul mates fight. They argue. They may have even taken a break or two in their time dating. Real relationships require work, and if you're willing to put the work in, there are probably a lot of partners you could be happy with.
Our grandparents were happy not to have arranged marriages (I'm not a history major, that could be an exaggeration), and so they eagerly sought relationships with love. Our parents followed that example, wanting a true love. We want that too. We deserve that too. But I think that what our parents think of as settling and what we think of as settling is quite different. Our parents wanted partners who would love them in sickness and in health, who would raise children with them and try to give their children more than what they had, who would simply be honest and faithful and try. But we live in a different age.
Unlike our parents, when we all wake up, we reach lazily for our phones and open Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter. The posts that we're seeing are filtered, found online, forced. In other words, they're fake, yet we consume them as gospel truth. We wish that our boyfriends took us on trips to Hawaii or filled our bed with rose petals or took pictures worthy of the hashtag #relationshipgoals. We mistakenly think that everyone else's on-screen relationships are so much better than our real ones, so we assume what we have must be shit. We leave because we're comparing ourselves to everyone else, even though everyone else is only displaying a very specific angle of their relationships.
So my definition of settling is turning off Instagram and saying hey, I fight with this person, he cracks his knuckles and chews loudly and he ignores me when football is on even though it pisses me off. But he makes me happy. And I could imagine him running around with our children. They would be attractive children. And some days I have doubts. I wonder if there is a person out there who really is my soul mate, who really might be better suited for me. But he makes me happy. And I know that we both want this to work, so if we fight but we both want this to work, we will get through it.
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