Staying Put

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.

7 thoughts on “Staying Put

  1. Sheila-Mama says:

    It is called:Gypsy Blood” I can relate to your story. I love moving to a new house every 3 years…you get rid of junk 🙂

  2. thatgirl says:

    Way to go! Doesn’t that feel good! We’ve been working on those same things and now I have a suitcase, box and bags full of stuff to get rid of. That’s quite the moving history just from your adult life. I had a friend growing up who always used to change their furniture around, even switch entire rooms, and it was different every time I visited them. I find that even hanging a new picture helps ease the itch for change. Or painting! That’s so exciting that you’re so close to breaking your record!!

  3. Di says:

    i hear ya, white girl. in the past six years i’ve lived in seven different homes/places. i chalk it up to my parents’ love of building houses and moving. or maybe what sheila-mama said: gypsy blood! (a little of that, for sure. minus the pickpocketing and whatnot. sorry…stereotyping…)

    but i do remember when i was younger and we finally stayed in one house for more than three years, it was kind of neat. after all, other kids lived in their same houses forever! so maybe charlie will be happy in the long run if he develops nice roots in your current place. which is really rather nice…for the desert.

  4. Di says:

    p.s. if it makes you feel better: i’m certain you have all sorts of psychological disorders. heh heh.

  5. Dawnelle says:

    I think I also had gypsy blood for a while. Since the age of 11 the longest I have lived in one place is 41 months (my current home! Yeah!! I am also breaking records! And very proud of myself!) In the past 26 years I have moved over 30 times (all within a 1200km radius, mind you…lol). I am so done moving until the kids are older and really super strong. Tell Charlie stairs are fun for a little while…but then injuries occur. I have had one child fall down the stairs and break their arm, another child fall down the stairs and make me think their leg was broken (wasn’t though, but he couldn’t walk for 2 weeks because it hurt so much), one adult fall down the stairs and have to pursue chiropractic therapy that has practically eaten up all our retirement savings, and many other minor falls. The stairs we have are actually illegal in parts of this country because of injuries.
    Sorry…this is your blog, not mine. lol. I just miss you….ya know?

  6. fiona says:

    While I don’t love moving, I’ve done it quite a lot as well. Didn’t live in a place longer than 5 years while growing up and most recently I housesat for 6 years and was constantly moving. I think what it taught me was to not get too attached to “things.” If you told me I HAD to move right now, unless you told me I’d be living under a bridge, I wouldn’t really care.

    Sorry you didn’t get the new place, but cleaning up and reorganizing sounds like a great runner up.

  7. Sonya says:

    I cannot relate. At all. I hate moving. I’m a stay-put kinda’ girl. I lived in the same house for the first 20 years of my life. Then we moved 5 times in the first 6 years of our marriage and now we’ve been in the same house for 14 years.

    I do love reorganizing though and switching things up. I did that to my kitchen last week and it was so much fun.

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