We’re all back to school for the first full week, and I can guarantee that with all this academic tension in the air we will all settle at some point. Settle for the class we had to take because the one we truly wanted was full, settle for the professor we dislike because there are no other sections of that class, or settle for a life our parents have forced on us because they are footing the bill.
If we are willing to compromise our education for something as trivial as wanting to sleep in rather than having an instructor we can actually bear listening to, then what can be said of our love lives? All around me I see people who could do better on a looks-based level, and more often than not I am privy to the fact that so many people could do better on a personality level. What is it that has makes us want to settle so easily? The reality is that some people simply won’t settle for Mister or Miss Right Now, and are waiting around for the person they believe is out there who matches everything they want.
Do these perfect people exist? Where are these perfect people that the uncompromising wait around so patiently for? This is the question that can often make the situation a lot more uneasy. Doubt is a common affliction amongst those “waiters” for the perfect person, often thrown into bouts of uneasiness. The fear that the perfect person doesn’t exist is what, after all, made the settlers settle. Their fear that there is no such thing as the perfect person is only justified by making others fearful of the same thing, and they are only at peace when they successfully coerce a waiter to become a settler.
Even those of us who are cheerleaders for true love ask ourselves on occasion, is it really out there? Does it still exist? Did it ever? I’ve often found myself wondering if all those love stories that people’s grandparents told them were just the stories of a more discreet settling in a time when it was improper to be of a certain age and not married. Maybe all those marriages after WWII weren’t a result of everyone falling in love while far away, with countless battles between them, but people saying to themselves, “Well, everyone else is getting married I suppose I should, too.”
While I do believe in true love, myself, I am most likely one of the most doubtful people of its existence. Seen by even my closest friends as far too picky, no one can seem to understand that it is impossible for me to simply lower my expectations. My fear is that, should I settle for someone, the right person will walk past and see that the vacancy has been filled. I suppose this unrealistic expectation of love and of people comes from too much time spent reading the likes of Jane Austen and Emily Brontë. Equally, if not more of the time, I doubt that anyone can ever fit these rigid standards for a mate. When I say this I am told that it will turn out perfectly, the settlers seeming to either have faith in the fact that my standards will be met, or that they will one day successfully convert me.
Maybe all the settlers are right, and those who refuse to settle are doomed to live as Jane Austen did, writing novels like Pride and Prejudice about the true love she so desired, but ultimately a spinster herself. Her books have become a part of every generation since, with person after person falling in love with Mr. Darcy, and possibly instilling Jane’s possibly false belief that there is someone for everyone. But if we all settle for something less, and convince ourselves that nothing better exists, then how will we ever know if the truly perfect person ever comes along?