When I get to the mall, I always drive around in the parking lot for at least 15 minutes looking for that perfect spot. What do I deem as the perfect parking space?
- as close to the door as I can get
- a spot I can see from the door of the store so that I don’t have to search for it
- not close to any big vehicles so that they can’t door ding me
- not close to cars that I feel may have children that may accidentally door ding me.. the list is really endless.
I’ll drive around- see a spot- eh, that’s not close enough. Keep driving. See another spot- nope, too close to a big vehicle- on to the next.
No matter what the parking spot looks like, I keep searching and searching until the closest one I had previously found is swooped up by someone far less picky and unrealistic than I. Then, I end up parking in the farthest parking spot in the lot and I’m a little upset with myself for it.
As I did this the other day, I realized that this is the exact same construct of modern dating. We’re always passing by those who may not have every need on our checklist, looking for someone better, and then they get scooped up by someone who honestly probably deserves them more, and then we feel validated in our upset- but why?
We are the generation of “don’t settle,” however, I think we’re taking that phrase a little too seriously.
When I first got my car, (shoutout to my brother & sister-in-law) and currently, I always tried to find the most perfect, pristine place to keep my car, no one with even a drop of water on their finger was allowed in it, no one could drive it or even look at it, I always parked in the most safe spot for my car. I was ridiculous and overbearing about it- I still am. But just because I have to park a little further, doesn’t mean that my car won’t start when I get back to it; just because I park by another person doesn’t mean they’re going to set my car on fire. Just because I settle for a different parking spot, that doesn’t mean my outcome with automatically be catastrophic, just different.
*Shameless picture plug of the exact day I got Margo can be found above. Don’t judge my hair. *
Originally, the phrase “don’t settle” was reserved for not settling for someone who doesn’t treat you like the beautiful, hand crafted creation of God that you are. Don’t settle for someone who is unmotivated, unchanged, and unreachable.
In this time and place, many people take this as “He doesn’t make enough money, I’m settling,” “she doesn’t wear a size 2, I’m settling,” “he’s a chubby dude, I’m settling.”
That is not what this phrase is intended for, and yet we date like we park. Always looking ahead, trying to find the next best thing- the thing that is perfectly tailored to our exact desires. And just like in the parking lot, we usually end up disappointed.
While you’re looking around for all of those “rockstar” parking spots, you miss the rising stars. You miss the ones that may be a little further away, but someone may be backing out of them at this exact moment- but you’re too busy looking at the rockstar.
It’s strange to compare people to parking spots, but it’s realistic. When you’re done with a parking spot, you leave; it’s that simple. You’ve done your business, you’re done, let’s go. How sad is that we treat people the exact same way and pick them apart like they aren’t something valuable.
Our unrealistic expectations of those we choose to pursue romantically have catastrophic impacts on our relationships- expecting this person to come to you in nothing less than perfect condition is like expecting a used car to not have any miles on it. Logic? I think not.
People are not parking spots. People are human; they have feelings, they are worth something, and sometimes you just have to give them time to blossom into the person they were meant to be. Growth is a part of our lives- a hard, endless, rewarding, fantastic- part of our lives.