Settling – a simple word, with so much query. A word that sends shivers through my bones, reaching the core of my stomach.
When should you settle? How do you know the right time? How do you know with who? Should you ever settle?
It’s been a topic of discussion in my world through many mouths and over a lot of spilled wine.
Patients have asked me, being a hygienist, why I settled for just hygiene. Why I settled for just cleaning teeth. Why I didn’t go on to become a dentist. Why I stopped there. While I scrape tartar and pick some lunches out of their molars, my mind wanders. Why? Why didn’t I continue? Isn’t their more to this life? Did I feel like I wanted to stop? Did I settle for this job? Are they right?
Friends, spilling red wine on my freshly cleaned granite and my white ripped jeans, saying sorry while asking if I’m settled, asking if this is it, while dabbing a wet paper towel on my jeans to get rid of the stain, the one that will always remind me of the question they just asked me. If my boyfriend, who I love dearly, is the one. If, this life that I’m living, is nestled into it’s cocoon ready to stay put until my future has something else in store for it. Until, or if, something else comes along for us. Will something else come along for us? Settled, in my comfortable home with my dog and my boyfriend.
Readers of my blog, who I feel so in touch with, hit send on emails that contain a question I can not answer. One in particular:
How do you do it? How have you settled so nicely at such a young age? I envy it.
I didn’t have an answer to this question. I did have thoughts, but no answer. The first thing that came to my mind was “I wonder if they will let me use this question in a post.” Then “Envy? But why?”
How have you settled so nicely at such a young age?
I sat on the email for a few days, which is very unlike me. I like to get back to my readers as soon as I can, considering they are what make this blog a community, my favorite place to come. But I couldn’t answer this one right away, I couldn’t get myself to type anything back. My mind went blank the second I would hit reply, which I hit a few times before giving us some space from each other.
I looked around my home, at my life sitting in front of me like a piece of art in a museum. I looked at my dog, perfect in his own imperfect ways, flaunting his baby-blue and white striped bow. My apartment with its beautiful counters and the island I once called the perfect essential to any home, placed in the center of the kitchen that holds all of our favorite wines underneath so evenly and neatly. The mopped floors with only a few pieces of dog hair on them due to vacuuming like a mad-woman, the couch with the perfect white pillows, the white marble coasters floating on-top of the wooden coffee table I wanted so badly. The plants I continue to buy due to over-watering and vitamin D-less days. I looked around, trying to come up with an answer to this loyal readers question.
I looked at my boyfriend, who currently has no two front teeth due to playing professional hockey, sitting on the couch watching ESPN.
Your boyfriends a professional hockey player!
Those words. My boyfriend, a previous professional hockey player. That’s what he is to some people, that is his label. I am a blogger, and he was a hockey player. A dream couple, so I’ve heard. A settled couple.
To me, he is my boyfriend. My heart and soul. My toothless man who holds my hand when I need it, and when I don’t. Who hugs me a little tighter when the days were a little longer than usual. Who sits at the dog park on Friday nights with me, because that’s where the dog gets the most excited, where he has the most fun. Who asks me, because he wants to know, how I’m doing. Who tells me, when I need to know, that my crankiness is requiring a bedtime tonight, because my health is more important than my computer. My person. The one who doesn’t put a label on me. The one who fills so many roles in my world, not just one. Not just a label. Not just someone who ‘settled’.
I re-examined the apartment.
The second time around, it looked different. Like when you watch a movie and you see the parts you missed. It all makes sense the second time around.
I looked at the grass stains on the ‘you just got groomed’ dog. I looked at the broken coaster hidden under the others, from when BA dropped it, smashing to the floor like a rock. I looked at the island, the once perfect island, that has highlighter stains from grocery lists and permanent marker stains from – have a good day, I love you! – notes. The permanent stains that won’t come off, no matter how many times I spray and scrub. I looked at the plant – dead, hanging over it’s home with no hope. I looked underneath the couch, where the vacuum couldn’t reach. Dog hair – everywhere and anywhere. I looked at the white pillows, specifically at the one that now contains a very large light pink nail polish stain.
How have you settled so nicely at such a young age?
I replied to the email a week later.
If you google the definition of settled, here is what pops up:
past tense: settled; past participle: settled
1. resolve or reach an agreement about (an argument or problem).
2. adopt a more steady or secure style of life, especially in a permanent job and home.
Secure, in some ways. In others, not so much. Permanent, not at all, just the love part. Settled, not in the slightest. Just getting started, really.
I have found, at a young age, a wonderful life. I thank God nightly, and I continue with my days while struggling to get by at some points. I pretend, on some days, that everything is perfectly ok, then I cry to BA about making rent on time. I cry about my car bill I owe, my loan that won’t go away, my job that makes me money but just not enough sometimes. The home that is so not permanent. Just a start, just a base.
The pictures, the lifestyle, the traveling and the writing. It all brings this vision, this perfect picture, this way of life that is so called ‘envied’. They see it through blurred vision, I see it through magnifying glasses.
To answer your question, I have no answer. Settled would be the wrong word – I would go with unsettled instead. If you came to my apartment, you would get handed blueberry iced tea with a side of dog hair. You would see a life that we aren’t quite sure the direction it is leading us in. You would sit in my kitchen, that may very well not be my kitchen in a year or so. You would listen to me talk about my life as a hygienist, and then my other life as a writer, then you would hear me ask you where you think I’ll be in a few years. I like other peoples visions, sometimes. You would sip the tea and sense the feelings of confusion. We are very unsettled, in a good way, though.
Settled. A very common word, misused at times.
Have I settled? Have I let this life plant itself in this exact spot, forever?
The questions flood my mind on random days, days of confusion.
Sometimes, I even have to ask BA if we have settled, if I have settled, because the thoughts start to over-flood.
Yesterday you wanted to move to three different places in less than 24 hours, then we took down the pictures above the couch and re-arranged them, then your future wedding you already had planned since the day I met you, hopefully for us, changed from winter to summer, from the states to a destination. Settled isn’t in our vocabulary, cutie pie.
Settled would be the wrong word.
The red wine stain is still on my white jeans, very faint, barely visible. Not settled, just taking it’s time coming out.