Settling.

It occurred to me the other day that the evolution of the English language has a few particular anomalies that make very little since. Chief among these is the word “settle.” I didn’t bother looking up the Webster’s definition, but consider this:

A few hundred years ago, a number of brave folks left the safety of their homelands to journey by boat for weeks to a new world where they had very little idea what would await them. They also had it on pretty good authority that most of them would never be able to return to the place from which they left. They showed up, got off the boat, and immediately had to deal with a slew of difficult situations. They had to find food, build shelter, figure out how to get along with (or defend themselves from) the indigenous population and figure out how to make a life. And what did we call these people?

Settlers.

Now, the concept of settling is thought of as “stopping short” in many cases. Instead of starting a business or going back to school, people “settle” with the security of a job. Instead of holding out for Mr. Perfect or Mrs. Right, people sometimes “settle” on a mate.

I find it interesting that in a historical context, “settling” something is about as difficult an activity as there imaginably is. And in a contemporary context, “settling” is sometimes thought of as a decision to NOT try and get the most out of oneself, one’s abilities, or one’s opportunities.

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