Friday, January 16, 2009

Settling...

It seems to me that there is an awful lot of “settling” going on around me – both online and off. In my own limited sphere, I see several bloggers I know settling for what crumbs of time and attention they are accorded by men who have other lives. I see other bloggers settling for less than they desire in their primary relationships. I see people whose lives are far less than they envisioned and others who seem perplexed and confused as to how they ended up where they are ...

In real time life, I am conversant with various relationships, the sum of which is one partner has “settled” for what the other partner is willing to accord them. And I’m not exempt, of course, as witnessed by my recent whining, I’m settling myself for less than what will make me truly content. And truth be told, it is something I’ve looked at long and hard and realized in the end, that I’m settling because the history of my dynamic with him always has been and probably always will be, I take him on HIS terms. Making me, I suppose, weak-willed and ineffective....

I accept, however, that it is, ultimately, ALL about choice and ALL about compromise. The trick of course being that you have some self-awareness of what that compromise will cost – in terms of comfort, in terms of emotional equilibrium, in terms of what you will gain versus what you stand to lose.

I think in one sense, the nature of life is all about compromise. It is neither realistic nor possible to assume that each of us always gets our heart desire out of life. We whine, we cry, we shout and yell and demand and scream that we MUST have it this way or NO way ... and in the end, we have to make a choice – whether to compromise, accept, walk away or deny.

“Settling” has such negative connotations- as if we accept less than that to which we are entitled; as if by accepting that we can live with less than we really want, we are somehow diminished, weakened.

In the end, most of us settle for what we think, in the end, is the “lesser” evil (Christian dogma aside, I think the intent is clear). Ultimately, it comes down to the individual own sense of preservation, self-esteem and desire.

Yet....and yet.

There is for most people, however, the hard reality that time and experience have etched on lives; a knowledge that the grass is often NOT as green ...a comprehension that dalliances, short-term experiences, limited exchanges in the end are not indicative of what a full-time life would encompass.

There is also often the hard-won knowledge that desire does not equate need, that want does not equal must and that what works in the short-term may not survive the long haul. There are so many adages that preach the whole concept of `settling` ``a bird in the hand``, ``be careful what you wish for`` .. a myriad of home-grown preachy sayings about settling for what you do have rather than yearn for what you may not.

Should you or shouldn`t you? Hell, I don’t know.

What I do know is anyone with a modicum of intelligence will think long and hard before making a life-altering decision about anything. One must weigh the consequences not just on your own life, but on those whose lives are entwined with yours. For very few of us come without our own set of complications, our own Gordian knots of worries and confusions. The choices an individual makes impacts not just them but those with whom they are entwined. Further, no one comes to a new relationship unencumbered ... each of us brings our own baggage, some of it battered and torn, bearing history and hard-won lessons.

I think one of the most prevalent scenarios I see are online relationships where individuals equate reality with the stolen moments online; where pixels and visuals confuse fantasy with reality and where fulfilling what is ultimately a role is confused with living a life.

The bottom line is that living a real life is not the same as creating and maintaining an online one.

And if you are content with that, then more power to you. BUT, what i see more and more are people equating their fantastic twitterings with real living.

I would highly recommend reading some of the excellent blogs online that deal with the true realities of trying to live the BDSM lifestyle (simply as an example) day in and day out. Kaya’s Under His Hand (http://underhishand.com/), morningstar’s The Journey (http://wtsubbie.blogspot.com/index.html) or Swan’s always insightful The Heron Clan (http://theheronclan.blogspot.com/). You see, they deal with the realities of life as we ALL live it. The worries, the pressures and stressors, the realities of medical issues, bad moods, outside issues and the normal interaction of human beings in short.

In musing about this, I realize too that the online worlds created with the advent of the internet are really just Marshall Mcluhan’s vision brought into being ... for snatched moments online are really not all that different from the more cerebral and sometimes flesh on flesh “affairs” engaged in before electronic wizardry.

In fact, on a re-reading of some of his work, I realize what a visionary this man was!

All media work us over completely. They are so pervasive in their personal, political, economic, aesthetic, psychological, moral, ethical, and social consequences that they leave no part of us untouched, unaffected, unaltered.


And laptops, computers are most definitely ‘media’. And the “creations” which appear on our screens are – as often as not – simply a form of media.

And this is fodder and discussion for another blog ....coming soon to this space.

6 comments:

*sweet* said...

Love your blog and your writing! Glad I "found" you! I'll be back!

littleone said...

first - i feel truly honoured that you mentioned/linked my blog.. thank you !!

i think age has a big impact on how one views one relationship and the worth of that relationship (oh i can hear all the young'uns grinding their teeth) but it is true.. there comes a time in one's life (i hope) when one realizes that they really have found a "gem" a diamond in the rough if you prefer..... and are willing to work / compromise (never settle sorry selkie - never settle) to make the relationship the best it can be !!!

i want flesh and blood - not smoke and mirrors..... i have always said the internet is more smoke and mirrors than anything else...

ahhh well - it is 6am on a Saturday .. i have had no coffee yet.. and the mind just shut down..

i will wait for further discussion and fodder in the next entry... to spur on my writing........

morningstar (owned by Warren)

Buffalo said...

This paints a rather bleak assessment of life - or at least a part of life. I'm not saying it to be unfairly bleak, but bleak none the less.

Compromise is sometimes necessary in any personal relationship. One person wants it one way, the other wants it another way. They bargain and hopefully arrive at an amicable resolution.

Settling; settling has different connotations. We settle when we buy something of a lesser quality than what we want because we can't afford the item we want. Do we settle for a person because of our needs and/or our belief we can't get who we want?

I don't think it so much a matter of settling. I believe we weigh our overall gain against our overall loss. We remain in a situation because we believe, or convince ourselves that we believe, the gain exceeds the cost.

Probably overly cliche, but relationships are a lot like cars. To keep them running takes maintenance. To keep them in showroom condition takes a helluva lot more mainenance. At some point, if the maineance is substandard, the vehicle is beyond repair and you must replace it.

(That really is cliche, isn't it?)

I'm lucky. I have a great relationship. It began on the internet and blossomed. There have been costs associated, but in no way do I consider them to be compromising or settling. We both pay a price. So far it has been damned well worth it.

selkie said...

sweets, thanks and would love to see you back here ...and I am enjoying your writing too.

morningstar, I am a great admirer of your honesty, insight and integrity.... and I'm thinking I should have checked before linking- thank you for not being pissed! But yes, there are definite connotations and they'r enot good ones for "settling" versus "compromise" - I have to think on this further... but as you know, relationships are NEVER just a smooth ride, any relationship and with mine in flux, there is a lot of thinking going on ...

Buff - it stings what you say becuse god knows, truth can hurt. Your comparisions, cliche or not, are right on the mark. And after all, cliches arose BECAUSE of the truth of them...

O said...

Excellent post. It touches on many issues that I've been thinking about lately. I'll be sure to link you when (and if) i get around to writing about them.
Thanks again for the inspiration.

selkie said...

O, glad you dropped by and I will await with interest your musings along this line!