Dreamers v Settlers

There are two types of people in this world, the dreamers and the settlers.

“I was more at ease with you going to Europe than LA… anywhere in the world is potentially unsafe but at least in Europe you had an itinerary.” These are the words of a settler. They are the words of my concerned but supportive father. A settler has a low appetite for risk and likes a clear itinerary in life. The settler settles for comfort over risk and therefore usually takes a stable career in industries with a lot of job security and financial comfort.

This is not to disparage the settler types. Settlers are happy in their decision to hold onto a secure job which gives them guaranteed benefits and a solid understanding of how their life will play out. All my dad had to do was move up in rank while inching closer to retirement. Granted his job as a NYC fireman was hard from guarantees in one respect- safety. He was a 9/11 first responder and I am supremely proud of his heroism. Still, a government employee now enjoying a secure retirement, he is very much a settler.

My mother too is a settler. For a while she wouldn’t talk to me due to my decision to move. She is a nurse manager who worked at the same hospital for 35 years as a nurse manager. She’s done well and will be traveling to France for an entire month in May. She settled for a secure job, a good salary and certain guarantees.

But I am a dreamer. I have already seen France in my 20s because I want to see the world young – not in my retiree years. In fact I don’t want to wait to enjoy my life in retirement. While I think my dad enjoyed the FDNY I’m not sure my mom was always very happy at work. It was very much just a job to her. A dreamer like me reasons that if we have one life to live and most of it will be spent working, we may as well love what we do.

So I am taking a huge risk in moving to LA without a job and savings to get me through the summer at most. Dreamers will take risks that a settler would be terrified of – naturally my parents are terrified for me. But I’m not scared. Dreamers can’t waste time being afraid of failure for they must only concern themselves with the prospect of success. Dreamers are the people who change the world because they are the unconventional, the risk takers – the ones who won’t just settle for ‘that’s the way it is.’

“So you may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one.” – John Lennon

Lennon was a dreamer too. Some of us dreamers will fall short of the stars he reached. If you shoot for the stars, you might still end up on the moon. And I’ll take that over the same boring place on earth until my 60s. Life is an adventure – go live without any regrets.
Side note: I shared this piece with my parents and for the first time I believe they understand the differences and why what made them happy won’t make me happy – and vice-versa why taking huge risk wouldn’t make them happy. Finally I believe they respect who I am and that this is how I must live my life. I think now I finally have their support, even if in addition to their concerns.


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