For most of my life, I’ve had itchy feet. I wanted to travel to new places, experience new horizons and move from one place to another at will. For a good part of my twenties I lived in places for no more than six months to a year, even wanting to move across town from one apartment to another rather than stay in the same place and grow stagnant.
I always looked with disdain at people like some of my family members, who never lived anywhere else nor had any desire to do so. I thought that having no interest in living in other places or even seeing them lacked a sort of intellectual curiosity and was to act prematurely old.
Maybe I too have become prematurely old, but for the first time I have no desire to leave where I am. I’ve tried to do so numerous times over the past several years, only to be thwarted in every attempt by clear signs that it was the wrong time. In that time, I’ve lived in the same house that I own here and have become more attached to it. I’ve thought of moving to a different house across town to save money – although we would likely initially lose money on the sale of our house – and the thought fills me with disappointment and dread. If we had to move out of the area entirely for a job opportunity I could be happy about it, but I have recently faced the reality that I am really deeply rooted in this house, this neighborhood. We’ve lived here for five years, longer than any other place in which we’ve lived.
My kids know this house as their home. Children generally need stability and consistency and my kids have made it known that they want to stay here if at all possible. They don’t remember living in other places, even though they have; all of their memories of a house have taken place here. They have made projects and built things in the backyard.
So for the first time in my life, I am accepting that I may stay here and I am actually happy about it. There are things I hate about this general area, but it really is just a place. A lot of people attach a lot of emotional weight to this area, including me, as though living here somehow defines us, and it truly is only a place. This isn’t a big city with all of the related opportunities, but in my little corner of this area there are parades, apple orchards, neighbors who know all your business and spaghetti dinners to benefit seriously ill community members.
While I am open to moving if we get such an opportunity, there are many reasons that the odds are against it happening at this time. Of course it helps that we’re in the middle of a beautiful Michigan summer, which makes it easier to accept staying. But suddenly staying here is important enough to me that I have taken on more than double the amount of freelance writing work I did before and decided not to quit my job as I previously intended, just so we can try to make it here.
And strangely enough, it is now worth it to me to work that hard to make it here in particular. I used to think it would only be worthwhile to work so hard to stay afloat if we were in a cooler place; now the desire to stay in my house is the motivation I need. I really didn’t imagine that where I wanted to be was where I already was.