“…We could walk through my list of accomplishments, and yes, I am proud of where I’ve been and where I am now, but that sense of purpose is largely lost. I check off a list that feeds a lifestyle that keeps risk just out of reach…I feel safe, and it is killing me…” - Rebecca Thorman
Safe. Comfortable. Content. Settled. Somewhere along the way, each of these became dirty words. Maybe I’m partially responsible, as in my writing here, I talk a lot about taking leaps, throwing caution to the wind, and living without restrictions.
I’m 26. And as a married homeowner with his own business, I’m more accomplished now that I ever would have imagined before 30, heck, even 40 or 50.
Maybe it’s a part of growing up. Maybe I can attribute it to having done a lot in my first 26 years of life. But now, more than ever, even after everything that I’ve crossed off my never-ending bucket list, I find myself wondering, “What’s next?”
Do I focus on continuing to build an empire with my business? Can I tell my wife to quit her job tomorrow so we can sell our stuff and travel the country in an RV? Am I terrified of having kids because it means a dramatic shift in lifestyle, or am I mostly just afraid of settling in? Should I just frickin’ relax? Stop DOING so much and just breathe a bit?
I don’t have an answer, to, well, any of these questions. Even through these great accomplishments I’ve had, I find myself wondering “what’s the point?” – Like Rebecca, Am I just checking items off a never-ending bucket list?
I guess I’m wondering, is this life? Is there something more? Or am I simply guilty of over-analyzing and over-complicating things? (Probably the latter)
The answer I’ve come up with, and what I’m reminding myself of daily of, is that “settling” isn’t a dirty word. Rather than being insecure in my comfort, I’m going to relish in it, and so should you.
A recent article on The Guardian listed the, “Top five regrets of the dying”. They are:
Notice that none of them have to do with making more money or achieving fame. They’re not focused on milestones – they’re focused on moments. The little things that happen today and that will happen tomorrow.
Comfort and security is something that is earned. It’s something you work hard to achieve. It’s an attitude. Once you have it, don’t take it for granted, and be proud of what you’ve done to achieve it.
The line we collectively toe is one between being content and being ambitious risk-takers. Risks can be rewarding, without question. But what can be and is equally rewarding is knowing that you’ve created a life for yourself that, dare I say, is comfortable.
You know what I think is next? Getting comfortable enough with where you are so your brain and heart gain the space they need to really appreciate and revel in the moments. The less you strive the more you laugh and live. I’m having a hell of a time doing this, but I really do believe it’s the key to quieting the voice in my mind that tells me my life is not enough and that “comfortable” and “safe” and “settled” are bad feelings.
Agreed. It’s ironic that the hardest work of all is NOT working on something. Just…being seems to be the most insanely impossible things to achieve.
I love what you said abut the fact that they are not focused on milestones, but moments. Brilliant. Matt, you’ve done some amazing things for somebody your age. I was at the mountains yesterday thinking about my life and how I’m not the person I thought I”d be by age 33 (34 in bout 15 days), but I also realized there’s no timeline for significance or success. If the race of life has a finish line, it’s the day you die. So whats’ the rush?
Thanks, Srini. I think we get caught up in the “race” because we don’t KNOW where the finish line is. If we all knew exactly when we would die (not that I want to know) – if we had a clear timeline and deadline, we’d be able to plan and work and organize based on that future milestone, but, since we don’t the tricky part is balancing being able to ENJOY the ride, and working to make the ride worthwhile, and, as I said above, comfortable. In summation, life’s a tricky thing to understand – but as they say, the unexamined life is not worth living…
I’ve had moments of “The world is about to collapse” because I’m not staying up in the middle of the night with stress-ridden nightmares. I’m strangely comfortable with where my life is, and where it’s headed but maybe that’s because I’m comfortable in chaos.
The beauty of hard work is the feeling of accomplishment, so yes, it’s OK to relish in that and enjoy it
You bring up a great point. I think MOST of us are comfortable in some form of chaos. At least, I think the most uncomfortable I am is when I feel TOO comfortable. I always need something to be working toward – a horizon to see. The challenging part is being able to focus on the TODAY in pursuit of TOMORROW, instead of neglecting the moments in front of me for the milestones ahead…
I agree. I was definitely like that, focused only on tomorrow and forgetting the beauty of the moments of today.
Not focused on milestones, but focused on moments. Love that.
Hey Matt. Great post. Agree with Srini too. Moments not milestones is such a great way to put it. The only challenge I face with this is keeping momentum. Sometimes setting the bar high and pushing yourself to elevate your creativity can challenge your comfort. Is that a good thing? or am I lost here?
I really like the angle of this article Matt and how it relates to your experience. You certainly have accomplished a lot and you should be very proud! I can’t help but ask though what you think or what you mean by “knowing that you’ve created a life for yourself…”, what does it really mean creating a life, and by whose standard? To me, it’s more about being and acting from our core values, sharing ourselves and our skills both professionally and personally.
Isn’t the ‘next step’ to be more and more ourselves, whether it be characterized as a risk taker, busy lifestyle, ‘relaxed’ one, or any other form of lifestyle, and essentially making sure we share what we know best, whatever that happens to be?
Again, thank you for your inspiring work and sharing it, it is very refreshing to read!
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