Monday, February 13, 2017

On being settled. Or not.

I thought I wanted to be settled, to live with both feet firmly planted and no move on the horizon. When we were looking to leave Austin our goal was to find a place to put down roots. If not our forever place, then at least a place that had the possibility of being a forever place.

Fast forward to last week when I was looking into jobs in New Zealand, Canada, Montana (hello, mountains!), and Denmark. I was texting my mom--who enjoys discussing travel and new locations as much as I do--when she made this comment:
See, you really don't totally love being settled. There's always something else out there.
Huh. I had always envisioned myself as someone who would find a spot and stay. I thought once I found a place I loved, I would never want to leave. In some ways, that's true: the longer I am here the more connections I make and the more I "love where I live" to borrow a phrase from Melody Warnick's book. But the excitement I feel when contemplating traveling to and living in new locations has not faded the way I imagined it would.

The most compelling reason to stay is for our kids. Neither Neil or I moved cities until we left for college (or in his case, grad school) and would like to offer that experience to HP and E. At the same time, if we moved they might learn more quickly what I have found to be true as an adult: you can be happy anywhere and that there are good people everywhere.

Despite all of my Googling and daydreaming of foreign locations, we are unlikely to leave Bloomington anytime soon. We like the community, our church, our neighbors, and Neil likes his job. If we leave, it would not be to get away, but to explore and embrace a new adventure.

So far I have lived in five states and two foreign countries. Moving is hard. It is hard to say goodbye to friends, to find where you fit in your new community, and to make new friends. But all these moves have taught me something else: it doesn't take that long to feel settled.

The thought of moving again doesn't fill me with dread; it excites me. Maybe I don't need to be so settled after all.

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