Came across this article in the Times today called The Psychology of Moving, and it reminded me of something I've been thinking.

When we decided to do this travel thing, the focus was on the upheaval we would experience, how we would be breaking out of our settled lives in NYC. How would we deal with the lack of permanence?

But once we left, I realized that I had never felt truly settled in NYC anyway. I had lived in 4 apartments in 3 neighborhoods in 2 boroughs over 9 years - and I understood that none of these arrangements was anywhere near permanent. In each new place, there were completely different neighbors, restaurants, stores, and subway lines to learn. Even most of my belongings and furniture were different in each place.

And my number of moves is tiny compared to so many other New Yorkers! It seems like everyone just lives temporarily - waiting to trade up to a better deal, better location, or better roommate. And they only really commit to a place (and a couch) when it's baby time.

So renting furnished apartments in Austin for the past 4 months hasn't felt that much different. But it is making me realize how much I'm looking forward to finding a real home - both a residence and a community that feel permanent enough to justify that emotional investment, a commitment of time and energy. As one guy says in the article, "I always think about moving." I'm ready to stop thinking about moving, and start focusing on other aspects of my life.

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Comment by Aradhana Panicker on March 5, 2010 at 5:49pm
re: NYTimes top image of the family in midst of moving - who the hell still names their kids "matilda?"
Comment by Susan Kirby-Smith on March 9, 2010 at 9:59am
Are you kidding? Matilda is the greatest name in the entire world. But I also had something to say about this impermanence thing. I remember reading about a fictional character...perhaps it was in Cortazar...anyway, this guy kept moving around specifically to kind of shabby places, where the faucet didn't work, the door was a little messed up, the window was slightly uneven...etc... because having things that weren't quite right gave him a familiar feeling of rejection. Sometimes, when you are young, you feel that in order for things to be right, they must be wrong. You need to know that you are not the best, because you need to be around things that are, but how can things be the best unless you are a bit lesser...get my drift? Sometimes young people punish themselves to feel adequate, I guess is what I'm saying.
Comment by Anna on March 10, 2010 at 4:36pm
Wow, way to bring out the heavy, literary guns, Susan! After reading your comment several times, I've been rolling it around in my head for a couple days, trying to figure out how it applies to my situation. I know it rings true for me personally, even if I can't totally put my finger on how or why. But it's a fairly complex idea - and, I think, hard to admit to oneself. I would definitely be curious to hear other people's take on this!
Comment by Laura D on June 6, 2010 at 2:17am
I figured out this is exactly what I like about New York. Feeling too settled freaks me out. I'm going to write more about this in my forthcoming, cross-country-moving-inspired post about Stuff.

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