As lame as this might sound, one of my favorite things about college life was having the chance to live in a new place each year. My freshman year, I stayed in the dorm, but after that I was ready to be officially “on my own.” So my sophomore year I rented a studio apartment, which was refreshing even if a little on the lonely side sometimes. The following year, I acquired three new roommates and moved to a 4-bedroom apartment where we actually stayed for two years. After graduating, one of my roommates and I moved into a cute old house in the same college town while my then-fiancé finished up his architecture degree.
Some people dread packing up and moving, finding it easier to just stay put. But I found it exhilarating–an adventure of sorts. Even if I was only moving a few blocks away each time, it was something new. A new floor plan, a new way to rearrange furniture, a new neighborhood.
After getting married and moving a couple hours away to a bigger city, my husband and I found a loft apartment in the Old Town district. It felt very posh compared to the college digs we’d inhabited up until that point. But after a few months, the posh appeal wore off when we realized the space was better suited for a bachelor and not a married couple with their growing collection of “things.” We could probably pay about the same for a mortgage payment as we were forking over in rent each month. Start building up our equity and all that grown-up stuff, you know.
Before long we were house-hunting and ended up buying a nice little house that had just been built. It was in a great location and surrounded by friendly neighbors. So now we were homeowners and no longer apartment nomads. It was time to really settle down…right?
Six years later, I’m running out of ways to rearrange and change things up. Our unfinished basement is still a bunch of framework and cluttered storage. I try to tell myself that once it’s finished, it will feel like a whole new house. And yet I go through phases where I find myself sneaking a peek at other houses for sale, and even other cities and states to live in. I’m all over the map—literally.
My husband and I both just turned 30. On one hand I still feel like a kid myself, but on the other hand I have an irrational fear that time is running out to experience something—somewhere—else. Last year, we took a vacation to Europe for two weeks. It was my first experience abroad, and one that really changed my perspective of what’s out there beyond my own little sheltered world.
I think that’s one of the reasons I find myself struggling with the idea of living in the same place forever—or at least for the foreseeable future. Is there a point when you just know that you belong somewhere? Should I be worried that this sense of permanency still eludes me? Am I just being selfish by always wanting to see what else is out there? After all, I have a good job, a nice house, and a happy marriage. So what’s my problem?
These are the questions that run through my head on a regular basis. And right now, I don’t have the answers. Sometimes I think that those permanent roots start forming once you start having kids, in which case I haven’t experienced that yet. Maybe that’s the next stage of life that will change my nomadic tendencies and keep me happily grounded where I’m at. Until then, it’s time to make an effort to enjoy the here and now—because if we’re always looking ahead to “What next” or “Where next,” then we’re probably missing out on the good stuff right in front of us.
Amanda Dolechek is a Kansas native who graduated from Kansas State University in 2006 with a degree in Human Ecology & Mass Communications. Currently a marketing writer/editor for a worldwide company based in Wichita, KS, she also writes for fun on her DIY blog, Little House on the Corner. When not typing away at the keyboard, she can be found walking her two dogs with her husband, trying out a new recipe, perusing clearance racks for a great bargain, planning her next vacation, or indulging in reality TV shows like Dancing with the Stars and The Bachelor. You can find more of her musings on Twitter @adolechek.