I may have a psychological disorder. In the brief time I’ve spent searching the web, Google has burped up a couple of interesting articles but no official terms. I like labels. I wanted to be able to say, “I’m a _____” to use as a crutch at every turn. But, it looks like I have a not-so-uncommon compulsion that may have roots in psychological troubles, but more likely it’s a quirky curiosity rather than a concern.
I need to move. Not my body, as in I have to walk from one area to another, or my leg must always be in motion even while sitting, or I can’t control my need to express myself through the art of dance. I mean that I need to move house. Recently, we had the opportunity present itself to us – there was a house, newly vacated, available for rent. I immediately had a rush of creative energy. Paint samples danced in my head. Floor plans swam before my eyes. Furniture placement took over at the forefront of my mind. Charlie was excited because this new house has three floors. “I’ve always wanted stairs in my house. I want to run up and down the stairs,” he dreamed. Lola looked forward to a new room. I looked forward to having a separate classroom, rather than cramming everything into Charlie’s bedroom. It all seemed so perfect, and I couldn’t wait to get started on the process of moving.
Where my love or need or compulsion for moving came from, I’m not sure. From the ages of 0 to 18, I only moved once. At the tender age of nearly 4, I moved with my parents clear across the country to a new house, new neighbourhood, and new city. After settling in, a moving truck wasn’t a part of my life experience until I begrudgingly moved to the dorms at college, and then, later, moved out on my own for good at the tender age of 19. Then I quickly began a downward spiral of short-lived term rentals that run down as follows:
6 months – basement suite on my own (affectionately referred to as The Hole)
6 months – basement suite with a friend
3 months – room at the future in-laws before the wedding to save a little money
10 months – apartment with new husband
1 year – basement suite with husband
6 months – condo of our very own
1 year of moving in and out of various short term living situations until finally settling in Europe.
1.5 years – apartment
56 months – house in Europe that I had to build fires to keep warm
18 months – townhouse back in the motherland
50 months – current living situation in the desert.
As you can see, the longest that I’ve lived in one location since the tender age of 19 is 56 months. My adulthood has been peppered with many changes, transitions, and locales. No wonder I’m feeling the itch to move. I’m 6 months out from the longest stretch of time I’ve ever lived in one place as an eligible voter!
I do feel a bit of responsibility for Charlie and Lola. It wasn’t until we were presented with the possibility to move and after the ensuing drama, had to deal with the disappointment of not actually moving that I realized how my pattern of not being settled has had an effect on my children. Charlie was sad. He really wanted to move. He was “tired” of this “old” house. He wanted a change of venue. A new atmosphere. Moving is something that often comes up in conversation with Charlie and Lola because it’s just a normal part of their lives. Either they are moving or someone they know is moving. I am admitting to myself that I may just have had a part in conditioning them to be prone to the parasitic infection as well.
We didn’t get the new house. But the itching, scratching, burning feeling of the moving bug working its way under my skin didn’t dissipate after the disappointing news. I was reminded, though, of something that I’ve experienced each and every time I’ve moved house. After all the energy I poured into packing, sorting, decluttering, scrubbing, washing, and cleaning, I was filled with regret that I had to leave my old home now that I’ve gotten everything all shiny and new again. This time, I decided to harness the itchy feeling and use it for good. I’ve been on a mad mission of cleaning, decluttering, scrubbing and sorting. So far, the spice cupboard in my kitchen that threatened my life each time I opened it has been re-sorted, cleared of past-the-expiry-date spices and spreads, wiped clean and set to rights again. Lola’s room has been rearranged, sorted and organized. Everything in our classroom has its place and everything is in its place. I even took care of the pile of clutter that has been more than eyesore in our bedroom corner for the past many-and-so-embarrassingly-long months. I feel good. And the itching is starting to ease.
Maybe this is what settling down feels like.
We’ll see in 6 months.