The red man was pressed from this part of the West,
He’s likely no more to return
To the banks of Red River where seldom if ever
Their flickering campfires burn.
Home, home on the range,
Where the deer and the antelope play;
Where seldom is heard a discouraging word,
And the skies are not cloudy all day.
Traditional, Home on the Range
I was riding the car the other day with a friend of mine. We were having a casual conversation about life and I think I was talking about the fundamental reasons I left “my honey” a couple years ago. This prompted him to ask me when did I learn to stop settling. I giggled a little and then quite simply said that I didn’t know if I had even yet. But I was working on it. He breathed a sigh of relief and said that this was something he really needed to work on in his own life. I nodded and smiled and the conversation moved back into purely casual mode, once more.
So this morning I was thinking about that conversation. And then I was thinking about the word: Settle. Is it significant that the “pioneers of the old west” became “settlers”? Is that the point where they said “this is good enough.” Native Americans have never (to my knowledge) been referred to as “settlers” — although they were “re-settled” — ie, we told them “this is good enough.”
So what I am wondering is this. Is “settling” a fundamental part of the nature of the civilized worldview? Is it something we do because in our world it is perceived that we will never get everything we want, so the trick is to figure out what is “good enough”? Is it the absence of the sacred in our lives? Is it more than that? Or is this all a silly semantical game? Part of me says thats it… but then part of me says that I may be on to something. Not something technically useful, but perhaps personally useful as we go through our lives making our choices and seeking out what we want. Is settling always the wrong choice and is there any good way to know when one is “settling” and when one has found exactly what they need?