There’s an itch for change that I get every year around this time, and every year for the last 20, it’s been scratched. Not this time. For the first time in 20 years, I am not moving into a new home, applying for jobs, interviewing, or changing my position. For the first time, I’m staying in the same house and the same job for the 2nd year in a row. I recognize that most people read that and think I’m either insane or have something else seriously wrong with me because why would someone choose to live like that? But me…
I feel lost.
All the change has been a defining characteristic of my entire life, particularly of my adult life, and now in an instant, it’s not. So, the change is that there is no change. What do you do with something like that?
I’ve been trying to figure out why I’ve moved so much and changed my life every year, and a couple of things come up:
- I enjoy the thrill of new experiences: trying new things, exploring new places, meeting new people. It keeps me from getting too settled in my existence. Keeps me on my toes.
- It keeps me from getting too settled.
Same sentence but two very different things.
The first is about the excitement that comes from uprooting and going to a new place– not being complacent. The second is about the fear that comes from allowing people to really know you. People that have lived in the same place their whole lives, or even just for decades, don’t really understand this. They’ve always known the people they know. There was no period of exploration trying to find their tribe or having to start new figuring out who they are in this new place with these new people. There was no real point of vulnerability having to put themselves out there to see, not only if they belong, but if those people who are set in their tribes will let them in. More often than not, people seem to decide that they don’t really need new friends; they have plenty. It becomes incredibly difficult to break in. On top of that, for those that move a lot, they know that when you settle into a community, a job, a life- inevitably someone will let you into their group, and you will have to let them into what can be for someone like me a very private world. That’s terrifying.
Because if they really knew you, if they knew your stories, would they stick around?
These people don’t know how far you’ve come, how much you’ve grown. They just get who you are at this point. You haven’t grown together through hardship or experiences. You’re just dropped into the pool and left to sink or swim. Being part of a place requires a certain level of vulnerability unless you intend to be a hermit (which I have definitely considered and finally reached the conclusion that it wouldn’t be the healthiest option–it’s still up for consideration though).
As long as I was only in a place for a year, I could keep people at arm’s reach without a problem. I could develop great friendships and leave before I felt like I’ve outstayed my welcome (aka got too close to people). Not to mention, I never had idle time to ever truly feel any of the emotions that would be normal in such cases: sadness, loneliness, depression (though I haven’t always escaped this one). But as a result of not feeling any of those things, I have also rarely had the chance to experience the true joy that comes from having a place you belong with people that really know you and love you. It’s a catch-22 for sure.
So now I’m here, and I’m not going anywhere anytime soon. For all intents and purposes, this is home for the foreseeable future. I haven’t the faintest idea what to do. I’ve had to process a lot of emotions and baggage as I continue to settle into this place and try to focus on taking the time to figure out what I really want and need. It isn’t an easy thing to do. I’ve lived in such a way that has kept me consistently looking to what’s next; even when I thought I was ‘being present” I realize now I wasn’t. Now I have to be and that’s forcing me to address some hard truths about my journey to this point in my life. I guess that is what’s next- reevaluating all the things. Learning how to truly be present and open myself up to other people to build a fuller life. Sounds so simple, doesn’t it? Why do the simplest sounding things have to be so damn hard?
So, I suppose I’m beginning a new chapter of evaluating my life and seeing where I want to make changes. Challenging myself to see what I’m capable of and to see what I really want and need. Should be a fun journey, but definitely not without its struggles. I’m excited to see who I am even 6 months from now and all the ways I grow (as long as it’s not physically outward lol).
It’s a journey of a million steps, starting with one.
Off I go…