Surely I’m not the only one contemplating the fall of Rome today. But in an effort to avoid the hyperbolic fray of the government shutdown, I purposefully shifted my thinking from large-scale crises to small. Though I doubt the Washington drama will result in the end of civilization as we know it (fingers crossed! Survivorship skills aren’t top on on my household’s list of talents.), the end of a personal era is definitely upon me. And it’s making me a little itchy.

A typical moving scene from four years, two cities and one job ago.
A typical moving scene from four years, two cities and one job ago.

Between 2002 and 2012, I lived in seven different cities in eleven different residences and worked 10 various jobs. I finished an undergraduate degree; I completed grad school; I wrote a book. It was exactly as exhausting as it sounds, and I could not be happier to be cozied into the second year of a lease on a great house in a city I never want to leave with a spouse who falls under the same descriptor, and the job I have always wanted. Ta-dah! No more roaming.

But then again, a body that has been in motion for so long tends to want to stay in the same, constant motion. Freelancing is ideal for this, as there’s always some shifting and changing going on with clients and projects, but it still feels weird sometimes to not be in major transition. Sometimes it’s hard to get anything done at all if I don’t have way too much to do that I’m nearly falling to pieces. That, I’m quite sure, is a recipe neither for success nor happiness. Somehow, I have to come to peace with my own peace.

Celebrating our first bonfire in our "real" home on our new patio last year. I sort of want to stay here forever.
Celebrating our first bonfire in our “real” home on our new patio last year. I sort of want to stay here forever.

I don’t know what the answer is. It certainly isn’t what it’s always been before when I’ve felt restless, which is to pack up up leave the city/home/job that isn’t fulfilling all my needs. I’m definitely scrutinizing every idea that pops up into my head as suspect: Do I really want to put energy into buying a house? Does thinking about having a kid right now really make sense? Is saving a bunch of money to go on a trip abroad the best investment we could make this year? Are any of these actually things I want, or just potentially drastic decisions made for the sake of change?

So I’m trying to think of ways to change differently. Though change without benefit is a waste of time and energy, evolving as a person and as a professional is crucially important, right? That’s what the people who say all of the things say. Perhaps this current itch for change gives me to the opportunity to grow in a new way – changes in routine or the way I pitch myself to publications or the way I try to market my work in general. Maybe I’ll start flossing. I’m not sure what the changes will be, but I’m going to make sure they’re meaningful ones, even – no, especially – if they’re focused inward instead of outward.

I am definitely going to start by painting my office yellow this weekend. OK, so that’s closer to my old way of changing than the new, but I have a feeling a slight change to my (happily) unchanging surroundings will be an acceptable way to inspire more.

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