I have lived in 37 houses, in ten cities, in three countries. No, my dad wasn’t in the military and no, I’m not in the witness relocation program. I have just always liked packing up my things, driving or flying someplace different, unpacking my things and living there.
So when my husband’s work offered him a job in Los Angeles, the decision was easy – for me. My husband was a little more hesitant. We had been living in England for the past three years. We were both in our mid-30s, we both had jobs we liked, an apartment we liked, and a few good friends. Moving to Los Angeles meant uprooting our life and starting over.
After much debate, my husband and I agreed that moving to Los Angeles was the right decision. We would be closer to friends and family back home in Canada, and LA offered great career opportunities for the both of us.
We (mostly he) decided that we should and would do the “adult” thing and make our home in Los Angeles. We were going to find a place to live, hang some pictures on the wall, plant a garden, and maybe have a couple of kids. We were going to put down some roots.
And I was really excited.
Alright, I was scared … of the commitment.
My fear of commitment stemmed from the fact that I had uprooted myself so many times that I had never known what home felt like. Home had always just been a place where I put my stuff, parked my car, and where the utility bills came. I realized that I had never felt at home because I had never established a home. I had never purchased an electrical appliance because I didn’t know what the voltage would be where I moved to next, and most appliances don’t fit in a suitcase. I was always anticipating the next move.
I had never purchased an electrical appliance because I didn’t know what the voltage would be where I moved to next, and most appliances don’t fit in a suitcase.
We live in a detached, neutral society where anything resembling commitment is often looked at as an obligation or an infringement upon our freedom. Making a home, or “putting down roots” goes against the norm of our mobile, transient culture. Yet, the irony is that sometimes our fears mask what we most desire. I feared losing my freedom and my sense of adventure. I was worried about feeling trapped – but deep down, I had been longing for the permanence and security of a home.
We made the big move from London to LA. We found a great two-bedroom house and started to explore our neighborhood and larger community. I found and frequented a local coffee shop. I started to volunteer. I joined a church, a writing group, and a gym. As we settled into life in Los Angeles, I started to relax into the stability. I found that I no longer craved the change.
The biggest indication of my attitude shift? I bought an appliance – an 110-volt espresso machine – that definitely did not fit in a suitcase. I was no longer anticipating a move: I was establishing a home.
Putting down roots doesn’t mean losing your freedom or sense of adventure. It means gaining a sense of belonging. I can still hop on a plane anytime I like, but I know that after the journey, I’ll be returning home.
What prevents you from putting down roots where you are? How can you act to change that this year?
Image via Milena Mallory