Tuesday, February 12, 2013

In Which I Still Expect It All To Change Every Few Years

I spent the early part of my life as an Army Brat.  The core result of this is that I tend to make new friends fairly easily, and that every four years or so I start looking to make life changes.  As of 2011, I had lived in Austin longer than I'd lived in any other city in my life.  In 2014, if I stay in my current apartment, I'll have lived there longer than at any single address.  I have, since being born, had between 20 and 30 addresses, depending on how you count dorms and subleases.

Mid-2009 I started to get itchy, to think that maybe it was time to move along.  Then I thought, "Where to?  I don't want to be anywhere but Austin!"  I made some other life changes instead, shifting my diet and exercise habits around to be healthier and more active.  I made some shifts in my friendship paradigms, stopped wasting time on people whose friendship wasn't a positive effect in my life.

Four more years have gone by, and I'm starting to feel the Time To Move Itch.  It's not time to move, because again, I love Austin and don't want to be anywhere else.  If I could think of somewhere else I'd rather be, I'd pack up my kitties and books and set out on the adventure, but this is where I belong right now.

So, what to change?  I like my job, I like my friends, I like my apartment complex.  I might move into a bigger apartment, or I could start looking at buying a house.  The changes I'm feeling, though, are very different.  I'm shifting perspective, and I'm doing 'adult' things.

Not 'adult' things in the pervy sense (though maybe I am and I'm not telling; I'm a mystery) and not 'adult' things in the 'no fun pay bills' sense.  Adult things in the sense of fleshing out the bones of my life.  Last year I started taking vacations, fully frivolous non-essential non-family non-working trips to simply get out on my own and have my own, personal experiences.  I picked up a camera to take on the trip and have begun to find that I'm really enjoying photography as a hobby.

A hobby.  You see, I never really had a hobby before.  I read a lot and I like to play role-playing games and I like to play board games, and I enjoy baking and cross stitch as time occupiers, but none of my interests previously have carried the same sense of "This is a skill set I am developing because I am having fun getting better at doing a thing.  I am researching, and learning, and accumulating physical and intellectual tools to improve my experience."

When you're an Army Brat, everything in your life is as simple as it can be, because you may need to break it down and relocate it on a moment's notice.  It was only after I moved to Texas that I started having furniture that wasn't either modular and easily disassembled, or a hand-me-down I could discard without a second thought.  The bulk of my life could be easily packed into a single ten-foot rental truck and driven anywhere the roads would take me, then set up in a similar configuration elsewhere for an instant feeling of home.  I was a living MASH unit.

Over the last ten years, as I've finally come to accept that I can put down roots, real roots, I've gradually bought sturdier furniture and accumulated kitchen gadgets and put pictures on my walls and thought about curtains as actual decoration instead of just protection from nosy neighbors.

The last aspect of my life left to finish out and decorate, then, was...me.  I've started considering that I might have 'a style' instead of just buying interchangeably utilitarian clothes.  I've added the vacations, and the hobby.  I've started setting up long-term goals as a person and thinking about who I want to be more than what I want to be.  I'm genuinely learning how to express and embrace who I am in a variety of ways, which is something I'd never even considered a thing people did, much less considered doing it myself.

I can't wait to see what this next four-year 'posting' will bring.


  1. I was never an Army brat, but I have always had that gypsy soul that wants to load up the wagons and find a new place to sit for a while.

    It wasn't until I was slated to move to Billings that I realized that I really didn't want to move - that I *liked* my little house and my little place. It is a weird feeling to feel "temporarily rooted."

  2. Aren't roots nice? I got used to roots as a kid, but when I went to college it marked the beginning of a period of rootlessness that didn't end until 2005. We tried putting down roots in Denmark, but found it was a soil in which I couldn't flourish. We look forward to putting down roots in Munich; the metaphorical process is already well underway (Lars having a job he loves, me working on mastering the local tongue), and we look forward to putting down physical roots in a few years as well.