Over the last few years, I’ve struggled with the idea of putting down roots. When will it happen? Where will I eventually settle? Am I wasting away my life moving all around or am I gaining experience?
I moved to South Carolina for undergrad and each summer I would move to a different city with my boyfriend and work your typical minimum wage summer job. We moved in with his grandma in Myrtle Beach one summer, then we went back to my home in Orlando to take classes the following summer, and finally after graduation, we moved back in with his mom for a few months in Wilmington.
Now, we’ve been living in Bowling Green, KY for the last year and have finally had the opportunity to start building our own home together. However, it’s really not our home: it’s a college apartment that’s fully furnished with things that aren’t ours. Sure, I can decorate it all I want. But it’s still hard to make it really feel like ours.
I feel like this has been our living situation for the last five years: dorm rooms, our families’ homes, and college “apartment-style” housing. We’re always moving, never staying. We can’t put down roots because we always get up and leave.
And while I genuinely feel like home is wherever I’m with Josh (and now Fitz), I think for me the most difficult part of this never-ending cycle of moving is forming relationships with other people. It’s really challenging for me to create relationships with people that I know I most likely won’t see again; I struggled with this in high school, in undergrad, and now in graduate school. I’ve always had a tight circle of friends that knew my innermost secrets, and I never felt the need to go beyond that.
It’s also often hard for me to find a reason to network professionally when I move to a new place. Josh is always encouraging me to go out into the community to meet people (especially some of the people he works with or coaches), but I don’t. I always talk myself out of it, or if I do meet someone that could potentially be a good networking opportunity, I usually don’t follow up.
I think this is one of my greatest pitfalls. I’ve been so caught up in the idea that the place I’m currently living isn’t permanent and that the relationships I form don’t really matter. I’ve been slowly growing out of this mindset, but I sometimes catch myself drifting back into my old ways. I don’t necessarily think it’s a bad idea to be cautious when establishing new friendships, but I think relying on my “clique” as the only relationships I’ll ever need to form is really unhealthy.
I’ve started to realize that it isn’t about putting down roots. I’m only twenty-two and I have a lifetime ahead of me to grow and move around. I don’t have to settle yet; I can wander wherever my heart desires. I think what I’ve finally learned is that I don’t have to put down roots, I just need to plant seeds. I need to create relationships with people with the understanding that they could be some of the greatest bonds I’ve ever formed or they might not last at all. Both of which are okay. I need to be more vulnerable. I need to network. I need to put myself out there. I need to stop worrying about “settling” and enjoy the present.
It’s so easy to get caught up in societial pressures and pressure from family: When are you getting married? Where are you going to live when you graduate? Are you going back to Florida or are you going to the Carolinas? What are your career plans? What’s your five-year plan look like?
I don’t know. I really don’t. But I’m going to do my best to plant seeds and watch them grow. As cliche as this sounds, I know nothing is ever guaranteed in this life, so why not just take chances on people?
Have you ever experienced a similar feeling when you moved? How do you or did you try to overcome it? Let me know in the comments below or via email!