Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

It’s Personal: Putting Down Roots Makes Me Twitchy

If you ever asked me to describe my childhood bedroom or recall my favorite hangout as a kid or try to remember the route I took to school most often, I probably couldn’t do it. And it’s not because I have a poor memory. I still know the birthday of the little girl who sat next to me in Mrs. Tachikawa’s first grade class in 1982. But the details most people remember about the homes where they grew up — the way the bathroom door would stick after a steamy shower or exactly what week in the spring the dogwood tree in the back yard would start blooming — are much fuzzier for me simply because I never stayed anywhere long enough consider it home.

By the time I left for college at 17, my family had lived in ten different addresses (and that’s not counting a hotel we lived in for nine months while we looked for a “permanent” home). Ten years later, I’d added nine more places to the tally, including two dorm rooms, one apartment I shared with a college roommate, three apartments I lived in alone, two apartments I lived in with a boyfriend, and one apartment I shared with a friend post-breakup while I (tried to) figure shit out.

When I moved from Chicago to Manhattan in 2007 to close the gap in my long distance relationship with Drew, I’d been living in my current apartment for three and a half years — the longest I’d ever stayed anywhere in my life. Leaving the apartment was the easiest part of the move, though — much easier than leaving my friends and the city and the lake I loved so much. Leaving walls and rooms and closets behind is what I do. It’s what I know. It’s all I’ve ever known.

When I moved to New York and slowly began merging my life with Drew’s, paring two apartment’s worth of things into one, discussing marriage, and talking about our future, I liked the idea of finally putting down roots. After four countries, two states, and nineteen different bedrooms, I welcomed the idea of stability and I felt absolutely certain that what I wanted for my own children was the one thing I never had myself growing up: an anchor — a neighborhood to grow up in, life-long friends, and a city to call home. And I still want that. Or, at least, I want to want it. But as I begin to put down roots with my husband and son in a neighborhood we talk about staying in until we’re done raising kids, I’m realizing the nomadic lifestyle I grew accustomed to may not be as easy to shed and I imagined it would. After less than three years in our apartment — the place I’ve lived second longest in my life — I’m already scouting new homes (within our neighborhood) for us to move to, if for no other reason that to provide a change of scenery.

“But moving is such a pain in the ass,” Drew said the other day as I started rattling off the newest apartment listings in the paper.

“I’m not saying we have to move now,” I replied.

And I’m not. But the familiar twitchiness has returned and I find myself fantasizing about what our next place will look like and how I’ll decorate it and make it home (for a few years, anyway). I try to explain to Drew just what the twitchiness feels like — the best way I can think to explain it is when you’ve been on vacation a couple days too long and you’re restless and kinda bored and you just want to get back to your normal routine (even if your normal routine is also kind of boring). Moving every two or three years is my normal routine. I get restless when I stay in one place too long.

I try to explain this to Drew, but he spent his whole childhood in the same place — the very apartment his dad still lives in after nearly five decades. Drew has moved once in the last 18 years and that was with me, at my persuading. He thinks it’s crazy to already want to leave where we are now (and it is crazy, considering we have central air and a walk-in closet, two amenities that are practically unheard of in New York City). He’s barely even memorized his route to the nearest subway stop (three blocks away), and still sometimes asks me what our zip code is when filling out paper work. He, obviously, takes his sweet time settling into a place while I’m already hoarding moving boxes under our bed “just in case.”

Growing up, all I wanted was to stay put — to develop the kind of connections to a place that might make me consider it home. And now that I finally can — now that I’m no longer chasing fantasies and “searching for myself” everywhere else but where I am — the idea of staying rooted in one place makes me twitchy. Which would be fine if I were married to someone equally twitchy — equally in need of a scenery change every two to three years. But I’m not. And I know it isn’t fair to force my weirdness onto Drew, especially when I never expressed my nomadic impulse before now (in my defense, I never realized that I had nomadic impulses until now, mostly because every move I’ve made always seemed in some way “necessary”).

But then, how do I tame my restlessness? How do I embrace a life that seems practically stationary if it’s lived in the same home for years and years and years? I don’t know the answer, but I know that for my own sanity and for the benefit and happy longevity of my marriage and family, I’m gonna have to figure it out. And I will. Right after I check the apartment listings one more time today.

81 comments… add one
  • lets_be_honest March 13, 2013, 2:44 pm

    This was a fascinating read. I’ve never lived more than 10 miles from the house I grew up in. Now I only live about a mile, probably less, from that home. I’ve already told my mom that if she ever considers selling the house, to offer it to me first. I often feel guilty for moving around (albeit in the same town) because I wasn’t giving my daughter “roots” in a home like I had. She likes all the upgrading though.

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  • kerrycontrary March 13, 2013, 2:54 pm

    I think this is interesting. And I do think some people are more nomadic than others. Sometimes its ingrained and sometimes it’s the way you were raised. I’ve moved a good amount since I was 18 (2 dorm rooms, 1 bedroom in france, and 4 apartments). Sometimes I feel this itchiness just because I’m ready for a new space and a new apartment to decorate. Whenever I’m about to move I get so excited about how I’m going to decorate. I think there is always something new and exciting about a new home. Usually you are upgrading so you can think about all the great new things the new place will have. Or how it’s bringing life changes (i.e. moving college dorm rooms, moving in or out with a boyfriend, moving to your own apartment). So maybe you are attached to the excitement and the expectations attached to moving. But Drew is right, moving is a pain in the ass. And it costs MONEY. Like not a little money, but a good amount of cash for the security deposit and the moving truck. So stay put until you need more space 🙂

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    • lets_be_honest March 13, 2013, 2:58 pm

      Maybe she does need more space, or will soon…wink, wink, wink!

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      • Wendy March 13, 2013, 3:16 pm

        Like I told my doctor yesterday, if it happens in the next year, it (probably) won’t be planned.

      • lets_be_honest March 13, 2013, 3:17 pm

        I was wincing to see your reply, wondering if that was rude of me. 🙂

    • Fabelle March 13, 2013, 3:10 pm

      I agree—maybe find other things to satisfy that itch until it’s actually a necessity to move for whatever reason. Like redecorating, painting a wall (or a mural on a wall)? Or if that’s against code, maybe hang a wall covering or something?

      I get urges to leave the area a lot, but it’s usually in the form of nights out a bit of a distance away, or something. I’m like Drew—lived in the same house since I was born!

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      • Fabelle March 13, 2013, 3:11 pm

        Also, oops. My suggestions were pretty shitty (Walls? Something with the wall, maybe do a thing to, um…a wall?) but you get the idea 😉 haha

  • landygirl March 13, 2013, 3:09 pm

    I hate moving yet I’ve moved at least 4 times in the last 8 years. Every place always feels temporary to me. When I dream of home, it’s usually my Mom’s house where I grew up and where she still lives.

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  • TheTruth March 13, 2013, 3:12 pm

    Answer: get a travelling job like mine in which I get to spend approximately 250 days a year on the road.

    Benefits: it pays very well, my sex life is awesome, and I am never home long enough to get restless enough to move.

    I have never lived in a city longer than four years…. I’ve never lived in the same country longer than 10 years. (I’m 43)

    In all seriousness, if you have wanderlust… the sort of person that constantly craves some new adventure, then I recommend following it, because otherwise your relationships are pretty much doomed.

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  • KKZ March 13, 2013, 3:12 pm

    I don’t get twitchy to move, but I do get twitchy to shake things up once in a while. Rearranging the furniture & decor in a room always makes me feel better. Or for a severe case, a new paint job.

    I get twitchy too when I think of spending my whole life in Ohio. On the one hand, I love Cincinnati. I grew up in a suburb of Dayton, about an hour north of here, and every visit to Cincinnati made me want to move there, which I finally did last year (and moved from an apartment to a rental house around the corner this year).

    My husband and I both love Cincinnati and now that we’re in a house that suits our needs, we are both ready to stay here for a long time. But I get twitchy when I think about living here *forever.* I just always thought I’d get the hell out of Ohio at some point, yet I already feel like my roots are pretty deeply planted. My parents still live in the Dayton area for now (though plan to retire to Florida), I have a really good job that I’d like to stay at for a while, I’ve gotten involved with a local nonprofit and started teaching and consulting, and all of my best friends are here.

    I worry sometimes that I’m boxing myself in to living here for the rest of my life, that I’ll never make a big crazy move out West, or to a bigger city, or even to England (I can legally get citizenship there through my Dad’s side of the family) or something. I am an explorer, I want to see as much of the world as I can, and not just on vacation!

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  • FireStar March 13, 2013, 3:14 pm

    I moved around after I was 18 and lived in about eleven different places but since I bought my house my favourite expression has been I’m dying here. No way I’m moving again. This house is perfect for me and will be everything I could ever want as soon as we finish the addition. I am open to buying a vacation home somewhere warm eventually but this house stays.

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    • MissDre March 13, 2013, 3:22 pm

      I’m so jealous…. I hope my boyfriend and I can find a house like that next year. Once I move into a new house I never want to move again!!

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  • GatorGirl March 13, 2013, 3:15 pm

    Since I was 18 I’ve lived in a dorm at boarding school, 2 college dorms, 2 college apartments, 1 apartment with 2 crazy roommates, my parents house, my own apartment, and now share an apartment with my fiance. 9 places in 9ish years. Wow. I love moving.

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    • GatorGirl March 13, 2013, 3:25 pm

      And as a child I can think of at least 7 places I lived. I know there are more too. I think I’m just a nomad for life.

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  • ktfran March 13, 2013, 3:19 pm

    Growing up, I lived in the same house. My parents still live in that house. Once I turned 18, I only went home for holiday’s, special occasions and the I need my family visits. In college, I lived in two different dorm rooms, and apartment, a house and then another apartment. I also spend a summer in Yellowstone and a summer in Knoxville. I moved to Florida after college where I stayed for five years and lived in no less than five places, three of which were in a span of one year. Once I moved to Chicago and found an apartment I liked, which was immediately, I stayed. This summer is going on five years.

    My problem is that since I left home, I have not bothered making any place home. My furniture and decorations are sparse. Seriously, sparse. I keep thinking I need to do something about this, but I never get around to it. No place has felt like home yet. Or maybe I don’t make it feel like home. And around, and around I go.

    I’m 33 and haven’t had a real home since I was 18. Maybe one day.

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  • CatsMeow March 13, 2013, 3:20 pm

    I get “twitchy” too – I change jobs or geographic location (or both) every few years. I never really realized that until now, but I guess I’m still not really “settled.” I’ve been in my current apartment for 2.5 years and it’s the longest I’ve lived anywhere in my *adult* life.(As a child I lived in 3 houses, all in the same town).

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  • Ally March 13, 2013, 3:22 pm

    That is one of my favourite songs, ever! <3

    I understand that twitchiness (great word). I would love to move from our much too small flat but there's just nothing else that's 'right' out there it seems! For me, escaping from the familiarity of home base on a regular basis is the way round it, as many trips away as I can afford. Have been to visit my parents a few hours away, would love to go to Amsterdam or Prague or another city and we're planning a weekend in a wigwam with friends in September 🙂 So until something worth moving to comes up, we'll try and see a bit more of the world.

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  • kerrycontrary March 13, 2013, 3:25 pm

    My sister goes in 3 year cycles. college, job for 3 years, law school (3 years), then she joined the army which moves her every 3-4 years and works out perfectly!

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    • kerrycontrary March 13, 2013, 3:26 pm

      sorry, supposed to be in response to catsmeow

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  • Copa March 13, 2013, 3:29 pm

    This was interesting to read since I also grew up moving a lot: 3 US States, 3 countries, probably a dozen cities within those states/countries, and I believe 10 schools before I’d graduated from high school at 17. I’m an expert packer and an expert at travelling without looking like a tourist. Ha. I think the longest I’ve ever lived at any one address uninterrupted was the 2 years I spent in the same apartment when I was in law school. I don’t feel like I have “roots” and sometimes I think it’s awesome, sometimes it makes me sad. I’ve been pretty good at keeping in touch with one or two people I was particularly close to from each short-lived phase of my childhood, but feel sad that I don’t have that same core “hometown group” that a lot of people seem to have. But, on the other hand, I adapt fairly easily (even though I hate change) and relate easily to others.

    I dread dragging a forgetful friend, acquaintance, or colleague through my life’s timeline because it’s a lifestyle that’s quite foreign to many people. Not to mention, I feel like an accidental douche when I have conversations that go something along the lines of:

    Person: I’m from (Insert City Name Here). I’ve lived here my whole life.

    I’ve learned over the years not to say that even though I’ve never meant it in a rude way — staying put is simply foreign to me. Still, though, it sounds rude or condescending.

    Or maybe my favorite conversation because I tend to make it unecessarily awkward:

    Person: Where are you from?
    Me: Oh, uhh, I dunno…? Right now I live (Insert City Here). But I’m not really from here…?

    Even in my mid-20s I still feel like I crave that stability that I never really had as a kid/tween/teen. It’s still not something I’ve found because I’m still trying to figure out my next career move, and part of that entails where I think I ought to make that move.

    I always wonder what it would be like if/when I settle down with a husband and (possibly) kids. Will I still love staying put when it finally does happen? I hope I do. I can’t imagine dragging a husband or kids through the same nomadic existence I had even though parts of that lfiestyle seriously rocked.

    Thus ends my pointless, incoherent rambling.

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    • bethany March 13, 2013, 3:41 pm

      I get what you mean about thinking it’s weird… My family moved to my “hometown” when I was 1, and we have no relatives closer than 5 hours away. So when I’d meet people whose family all live in the same town, I thought it was SO WEIRD. Actually, I still think it’s kinda weird, but I try to keep that to myself now.

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      • GatorGirl March 13, 2013, 3:45 pm

        All 4 of my dad’s siblings live with in a 1/4 mile of each other and their mother. It’s seriously weird.

      • Copa March 13, 2013, 3:53 pm

        My boyfriend’s HUGE extended family all lives within 90 minutes of one another, my boyfriend being the black sheep for being the only one over 30 minutes from anyone else. It BLOWS MY MIND. I mean, it’s cool that they’re this tight-knit, cohesive, fun family, but still. WEIRD. I suppose my dad’s family is like that. With the exception of my immediate family and one aunt’s family, they all live in the bay area within an hour of one another and are a sizable bunch and ALWAYS together. But since I’ve never experienced it, I honestly just think it’s bizarre. Haha.

      • kerrycontrary March 13, 2013, 4:11 pm

        My whole mother’s family (including cousins, and their children) all live in my hometown. Me and my siblings are the only ones who have left. It’s super convenient though–especially for holidays, and great support during family emergencies. So me and my siblings are the weirdos.

      • Christy March 13, 2013, 7:22 pm

        My entire family lives in the Baltimore area. I’m the weird one for living in DC. (They’re about 50 miles away from each other.) Hell, my uncle lives one COUNTY over and he’s really far away for them.

        I love this, actually. I wish I lived closer.

    • Lindsay March 13, 2013, 4:43 pm

      I have weird conversations like that, too. I’ve been meeting a lot of people while doing grad school interviews, and whenever someone asks where I’m from, I’m like, “Well, I live in this place, but I went to school in this other place.” Then they ask how I got from Point A to Point B and I have be like, “Oh, I lived in some other places in between.” They seem fascinated by it, but I’m really just bored talking about it by now.

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    • Taylor March 14, 2013, 10:19 am

      I could have written that post =) Growing up in different places is my normal, and I find it annoying when people make a big deal about it. I’m currently working on settling in one place (with a guy who isn’t a nomad) and it’s been weird, but good.

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  • jlyfsh March 13, 2013, 3:34 pm

    I’ve also moved around a lot and get a little ‘twitchy’/scared thinking about being here forever. I think I’ve lived in 15 different houses that I can remember, and in 5 different states. I think the longest I’ve lived somewhere since I left home for college, was 2 years (not counting the city my college was in, i lived in a different dorm every year of college). I don’t see us leaving the area we’re in now for a very long time, but we’re getting ready to move again in May. Maybe this new place will be where we are for a few years? I don’t know, I tend to start focusing on the things I don’t like about my current place instead of the things I do. Which I know I need to work on, along with focusing on redecorating instead of moving.

    However, I am so ready to get out of our current rental. The house is older which I love on one hand because it has a ton of character. But, the power bill is outrageous (like $400 outrageous this month) and I am so ready to have a house that is better insulated and easier to keep hot/cool 🙂 And now I know a few more things I don’t want from a more permanent home. Like I actually hate yard work and having to mow and take care of flower beds. And the whole insulation/old house thing. I always thought I wanted to live somewhere older with more character, now I realize I want that with the power bill of new construction.

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  • KarenE March 13, 2013, 3:37 pm

    Oh my god, this describes me to a T. I’ve moved every six months to a year since I was 21. And now I’m 43, so that’s a lot of moves. Some were to other countries, some were down the block in the same city. But I get really itchy feet if I stay anywhere too long. There is just something exciting about a new apartment, a new neighborhood, a new city, new people. Luckily my boyfriend is a nomad too, otherwise I’d be screwed relationship-wise. We are currently plotting our next move… to Ecuador? The Caribbean? The Middle East? Atlanta? The paradox is that I crave community and long-term local friendships and want to put down roots somewhere, but the nomadic side of me always wins out. Sigh… not sure what the solution is. Moving around for me is like an addiction. Some people need a fix of drugs or alcohol, I need the high of discovering a new place.

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  • bethany March 13, 2013, 3:37 pm

    My parents bought their house when I was 1, and have lived there ever since. It literally hurts my heart to think about driving past it one day and having other people live there. If we lived in the same town, I’d buy it from them in a second.

    I lived in the dorms at college for 2 years, then moved 5 times in the next 5 years and lived with girls I went to college with. Then I moved into my own apartment for a year and half. Then I moved in with my boyfriend/husband. We lived in our apartment for 3 years, then moved into our house, which we bought last year. I’m not moving again for a LONG time.

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  • CaraM March 13, 2013, 3:44 pm

    I grew up in the same house from age 2 to 18 and my parents still live there, but after that I lived in a dorm room, my own studio, a dorm for a summer program, an apartment with roommates, a dorm room for a year abroad, and two different apartments in grad school, plus two other rented rooms while doing research abroad — so 9 places in 8 years! But all I want to do is put down roots! I would love to have my own apartment to really feel settled, but because of my field, it might be a while before I get a permanent, well-paying job, so the stability might take a while. I am a definite homebody, so I think that plays into wanting a more permanent place.

    And along the lines of the letter from earlier this week, I wish I could live closer to my parents (or at least to any relatives!). I’m from California but am currently living in Canada and home is a 10 hour trip and I really miss my parents and siblings.

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  • Lindsay March 13, 2013, 4:33 pm

    I can relate to this. My family never moved when I was a child, but during college, I lived in various cities for internships and then have moved a couple of times since graduation. I always find myself thinking of where I can go next. Though I think part of that is that I haven’t found the right place, and don’t want to put down roots until I’m somewhere I like better.

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  • LK7889 March 13, 2013, 4:55 pm

    Hmm, these are things I’ve never really thought about much and it’s very interesting to see the (huge) differences among people’s circumstances growing up and adults lives. I’m loving reading everyone’s comments on this!

    I lived in the same house my whole life as a kid – I was brought home from the hospital as a newborn to the same house that I left from to go to college. I lived in 5 different places during 3.5 years of college and then moved back to my dad’s house – the same house I lived in as a kid. And I stayed there until I had the down payment to buy my own house. My dad still lives there.

    It’s funny because I never expected that I would end up in this area long-term. I hated it as a kid. And there are a lot of things I still hate about it. But it’s home. Eventually I’d like to move to the Appalachian Mountains (north GA, south TN, south NC, or there abouts) but I don’t see moving from this house until I’m ready to buy my dream home in the mountains.

    I *really* want my father to sell his house and move though. Lots development is happening near his house and I’m worried that if he doesn’t sell it before too long that he’s going to get stuck in a neighborhood that is going downhill and won’t be able to leave without losing a ton of money. He’s always said that he wanted to live in the country and I wish he’d do it!

    Lastly, while I sort of understand the desire to move to change the scenery, I HATE the moving process and I don’t think that it’s appropriate to ask for help moving every couple of years like so many people I know seem to be comfortable doing. Asking for help once every five years or so is fine but if you move more than that – seriously – hire a mover.

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  • AliceInDairyland March 13, 2013, 4:00 pm

    Wow, I had no idea so many people moved so much…. I moved once in my childhood, and it was from one town to another about 20 minutes away. 8/10 of my aunts/uncles live within a 40 minute drive, and the other two only live a state over. I have moved every year since 18, but I am only 22 so that’s not a whole lot. Already though I am exhausted and really want a place that is “mine.”

    Even at this young age though, I have a strong sense of wanting ownership, community, and an emotional investment in a place. I want to be a veterinarian in a town where I form long connections with clients and patients over years. I want to live on a farm and watch apple trees grow from seedlings up into big trees. I want to invest so much time and heart and soul into building a place that I am incredibly proud of. I want my kids to play on the same land and form deep bonds with the same people. Not that I think doing it the other way is wrong at all, I just have this really weird visceral gut feeling about needing that steadiness in my life.

    However I also frequently get compulsions to run away back to the farm in Italy I worked at for a summer, and travel from farm to farm wwoofing and hiking, and working in tons of different cities. Whenever I get that aching, I try to channel it into smaller “novelties.” I was just talking to my boyfriend at length about my need for novelty and how it is a “low, pulsatile, frequent novelty-needing.” It can be satiated by taking a new class, meeting a new person, traveling, or even just trying a new type of beer or food or restaurant. I feel like this way I will get the stability and the novelty that I need.

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  • painted_lady March 13, 2013, 5:04 pm

    I TOTALLY get this. I didn’t live in different countries (or even different states, except the brief foray into Pennsylvania that didn’t go well), but new school and house is still new school and house. I went to six different schools growing up, I’ve lived in 12 cities and as much as I hate the actual process of moving (packing, loading it up, unpacking, finding everything, replacing all the stuff that was lost and broken, waiting for the cable guy, in some cases persuading the Internet company that you haven’t hallucinated your apartment no matter what their system says), I love finding a new place to live, arranging the furniture like I want it, finding the new pizza joint and Tex Mex restaurant that we’ll go to on nights we don’t want to cook, letting someplace start to feel like home…I love all that. Walter likes it, but he’s not used to it like I am – he still doesn’t know how to navigate our town because he never lived more than a few miles outside the town where we graduated high school. He has trouble making friends, weather changes freak him out, and differences like driving styles and regional restaurants (or the lack thereof) really get to him. I think roots are awesome, and I hated that I was constantly having to make new friends and I was never in on trends because they can be really region-specific (one town, the preppy look – polo shirts and loafers or white Adidas, ponytails, khaki shorts – was really in when we moved away, and in the new town the grunge-girl look was in) and that it took till adulthood to feel comfortable in my own skin, and that there were never those people who knew what I was like way back when…I miss never having that. But then I’m adaptible. I know how to find the fun I need wherever I go. Getting lost doesn’t freak me out; I know everywhere in the world, there are assholes and completely wonderful people and sometimes finding them just takes a little bit. I’ve posted some about my friend who’s new to town and just isn’t happy; she’s never lived outside of her home state and only moved once, for college. So I keep wanting to tell her, wait, quit panicking and dwelling on home, and start looking for some of the awesome stuff here instead of looking and expecting to be disappointed.

    Walter keeps talking about places we could retire, and I just can’t imagine a day when I would decide, “Yeah, I’m done exploring new places.” People say, “I love visiting there, but I’d never want to live there,” and really? I don’t get that to a large degree, at least in terms of bigger cities. If I visit a city I like enough, I add it to the list of places I want to live. Maybe that’s just a thing I do, but if I enjoy visiting there, I want to know what it’s like to make it my home – to belong there. I like the adventure.

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  • applescruffs March 13, 2013, 5:08 pm

    5 states with my family, 2 on my own. The longest I’ve lived in any one house was 4 years. My dad and stepmother still live there – which is kind of bizarre for all of us. I’m back in the city I’d like to stay in for the long haul, but sometimes I still get the itch. I’ve never lived by the beach – what’s that like? I really loved Tel Aviv – could I hack it in Israel? Would living in New York be as stressful as visiting?

    Growing up nomadic is a hard identity to shed.

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  • Addie Pray March 13, 2013, 5:14 pm

    Like with all your personal essays, this was a fun read. I get twitchy too, I think. I have never lived in the same place more than 4 years. Unless you count years 0-10 – I lived in the same house until I was 10. But after then, I have moved at least every 4 years it seems.

    Wendy, have you thought about buying a condo and then having to stay there forever because it’s underwater? That’s one way to do it! That’s what everyone I know who purchased a home in or after 2005 is doing.

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    • iwannatalktosampson March 13, 2013, 5:24 pm

      I get kinda twitchy too. I guess I’ve only lived in 2 countries and a total of three states (slash two states and one province). Actually I think I get more Canada homesick than twitchy – because I’m not in the mood to move for a new adventure I’m in the mood to move to go back to the motherland. See what I just did there? I made this about me. How can I be an attorney in the U.S. and move to Canada? What can I do for work in Canada as a U.S. educated attorney. Someone brainstorm for me.

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      • theattack March 13, 2013, 5:28 pm

        Help Canadians immigrate to America? Advise Canadians who have ties to the US law about the US? Educate people about US law somehow? I don’t know…

      • iwannatalktosampson March 13, 2013, 5:29 pm

        I like where your head’s at. I could probably do international tax advising pretty easily – but I would have to do it for a Canadian company in house counsel style because I don’t think I can be a canadian attorney without going through canadian law school – which is for the birds.

      • Addie Pray March 13, 2013, 5:28 pm

        You could go in-house for a Canadian or American company located IN Candada that sends employees into the US – and you could do all the US immigration paperwork or something. That would be kinda cool.

      • iwannatalktosampson March 13, 2013, 5:36 pm

        That’s a good idea! I might need to talk to some canadian head hunters – I hope they have those there.

    • Wendy March 13, 2013, 5:40 pm

      Buying a place scares me for this exact reason. Well, that, and there’s no landlord to call when shit breaks.

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      • Taylor March 14, 2013, 10:20 am

        Agreed! I could rent happily for the rest of my life. I’ve been thinking more and more that my future kids don’t need a yard we own.

  • Addie Pray March 13, 2013, 5:25 pm

    I’ve noticed — and I’m generalizing here — that people on the East Coast tend to NOT move far from home. My sister’s boyfriend has never lived more than a 20 mile radius from his childhood home (in a suburb of Boston), and all his friends are in the same area too. My sister and I think it’s because 1) residential property in the East Coast is so freaking expensive, people just stay put or live at home forever … and 2) East Coast people hate things that are non-East Coast so have no desire to leave.

    Ok, that’s me being controversial. Rip my theory apart.

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    • GatorGirl March 13, 2013, 5:34 pm

      I mean why would you leave the East Coast? It’s got tons of great food, ton’s of librals, and Eastern Standard Time so tv is always on at the right time. I moved from PA to FL but I’m still with in 2 hours of the Atlantic Ocean.

      I do think the Northeast and Southeast are pretty different though. In my experience people in the NE move around with in the NE a lot while people in the Southeast generally stay pretty close to home. Or at least with in the same state.

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    • iwannatalktosampson March 13, 2013, 5:35 pm

      Yeah I’m a midwesterner for life. The only coast I would move to would be the northwest. So I get it.

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    • Fabelle March 13, 2013, 6:45 pm

      I’m from Jersey & I don’t disagree. Everyone here is pretty ~into~ the fact that they’re from here, & it is really, really expensive. (I heard somewhere that the average monthly rent in the US was $800 a month & I practically died. You could barely rent a room here for that amount. It’s terrible, but also why don’t we all just move to Ohio or something? Because we’re snobby, I think?)

      (Was that offensive or just straight-talk honesty? I can’t tell)

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      • Christy March 13, 2013, 7:28 pm

        Same here with Baltimore. Everyone from Baltimore LOVES Baltimore. That’s why they support the Ravens/Orioles so much.

      • AliceInDairyland March 13, 2013, 7:01 pm

        Here in a good sized WI city my rent for my (really large) one bedroom apartment is 780 with all utilities included except internet. And I am right downtown. And I was complaining about how much it cost and how poor I was going to be forever because of it. This makes me feel better.

    • bethany March 13, 2013, 9:44 pm

      I don’t think I could ever leave the East Coast for good (unless I retire to the tropics). I’m just VERY East Coast. I hate talking to strangers, I hate when people say “how are you?” and actually want to talk about how you’re doing. I love how on the East Coast people have a sense of urgency about them. Things don’t take forever… And then there’s Wawa.. Oh, sweet Wawa…

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      • GatorGirl March 13, 2013, 10:01 pm

        Oh Wawa. Goodness how I love Wawa. Thank goodness they are in FL now.

      • Addie Pray March 14, 2013, 6:25 am

        Wait, what’s Wawa? …. Googling it now…

      • bethany March 14, 2013, 9:23 am

        Wawa is the greatest convenience store in the world. Hands down. It’s glorious. And their coffee is amazing.

      • jlyfsh March 14, 2013, 9:42 am

        definitely best coffee ever! also if you buy gas at the pump some of them give out coupons on the back of the receipt. love them. i’m going to start a campaign to bring them to south carolina.

      • Addie Pray March 14, 2013, 10:05 am

        man, now i want a wawa!

      • jlyfsh March 14, 2013, 10:51 am

        you need one. they have amazing subs. and icees in great flavors like mango and usually they have pretty clean bathrooms. and they have soft pretzels by the check out.

      • jlyfsh March 14, 2013, 10:51 am

        you need one. they have amazing subs. and icees in great flavors like mango and usually they have pretty clean bathrooms. and they have soft pretzels by the check out.

      • jlyfsh March 14, 2013, 7:53 am

        no wawas in sc 🙁 i miss them so much! also i believe we need to say northeast here, because everything you described is the opposite of sc, haha.

      • Addie Pray March 14, 2013, 8:24 am

        I meant NE for sure – New York, Conn, Mass. … I’ve never been to the SE, except Atlanta but that was just for work. Though the jury pool was interesting there! Though juries are always interesting to me!

      • lets_be_honest March 14, 2013, 11:16 am

        I think the changing of seasons is also a huge reason why east coasters couldn’t leave.

    • Amelia99 March 13, 2013, 10:41 pm

      Definitely agree! I’m from the (north) east coast and find that most of my friends from high school live in the big city near where we grew up. And even though I was eager to get away for college, once it was over I had that inexplicable urge to return. On the other hand I went away for college, and those friends are spread across the country, and not necessarily where they were originally from. Except for one particular friend who moved back to her east coast home state, proving your theory true!

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  • katie March 13, 2013, 5:49 pm

    Shout out to the nomads!!

    Haha. I don’t know if I have the “twitch”, but that hasnt been tried in my life yet. So who knows?

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  • Cara March 13, 2013, 6:13 pm

    Hmm, I’ve lived in 12 different apartments/houses, 8 different cities and two different countries. I love moving around, and I can’t wait to go live in another country again!

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  • SarahR. March 13, 2013, 6:16 pm

    Wendy, it sounds like you are a third culture/cross culture kid. I don’t know if you’ve ever come across this book- http://www.amazon.com/Third-Culture-Kids-Growing-Revised/dp/1857885252/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1363212563&sr=1-1&keywords=third+culture+kids
    but it was absolutely eye opening for me and it helped me manage and understand the restlessness I feel every day.

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    • Copa March 14, 2013, 9:28 am

      I love reading about TCK experiences, so even though this suggestion wasn’t for me, I’m going to check this book out. 🙂

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  • LuckySeven March 13, 2013, 7:16 pm

    Aw Wendy, it was awesome to read this. I myself have moved seven times before turning 18, and 8 more times until today, when I am now in my studio apartment and loving every minute of it. I believe that “Home” and “Family” are subjective, and you can make it what you want it to be.

    In high school, in my small town of 7,000 people, I was restless beyond belief and could not wait to get out. However, I made my “home,” in what otherwise felt like a hostile town to an outsider, with the nights I spent with family, friends, and my job. In college, even when I lived in dorms and moved all the time, home became me, my friends, and New York City : ).

    I definitely relate to feeling restless, to feeling like you have known and seen everyone, and life if you stay for one minute you may scream (that last part might be just me : ). But there’s ways to stretch your comfort zone. I love leaving my neighborhood in the Bronx and going to Orchard Beach, Central Park, or staying with a friend in Harlem and feeling like I am in a new place entirely. You may find that you want to move anyway, but I definitely recommend going out of your way to check out a neighborhood you’ve never been to, a class/ group, and redefining what your “Home” is.

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  • Eagle Eye March 13, 2013, 7:27 pm

    Hmm, moved once growing up, at 9, moved across the country at 18, from there, I’ve moved into 2 dorms, 3 apartments, twice in with my bf’s parents between apartments, once to Europe for my time abroad and now I just received notice that I’ll be moving back across the country – in 25 years I’ve lived in 10 different places, although 8 have been in 8 years!

    Definitely understand getting the twitchies!

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  • Christy March 13, 2013, 7:47 pm

    Hmm, I moved once growing up, when I was five. I moved out to go to college and I lived in four different dorms (freshman year, two summers, and one semester abroad) but I lived in the same house for three years in college. I moved home for grad school and then moved out to my current apartment. So I’ve only ever lived in seven different places, and I’ve only ever considered three places home.

    I’m getting antsy to move, but that’s because I’m ready to live without roommates. However, I’m not moving somewhere unsafe, somewhere I can’t afford, or somewhere I can’t commute easily from. More difficult than anticipated.

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  • Anon March 13, 2013, 10:25 pm

    I’ve done both — I grew up in one house and have been in my current apartment 7 years, but spent more than a decade moving to more than a dozen places across 2,000 miles. I get twitchy, too. I’ve found that when I’m twitchy it’s because my life is starting to get stagnant. The need to shake things up feels like a desire to move, but that’s not the real issue. The real issue is figuring out why my life feels stagnant and fixing that. Once i do, suddenly the desire to move disappears. Moving is an easy distraction to help me avoid looking deeper.

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  • Krissy March 14, 2013, 12:23 am

    Just wanted to comment that I adore this song and will be playing it at my wedding in May! I also get a case of what I call “wanderlust,” but I’m trapped right now by my masters program. Can’t wait until the day that I’m free to move again!

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  • Nookie March 14, 2013, 6:03 am

    My family moved a lot when I was a kid, and I continued that trend into adulthood. I still check out the estate listings, just for the fun of it! It’s great to see what else is out there and think about what it might be like to live there…

    But then I look at my little brother who has lived in the same house since he was about five (22 and still living at home) and I see how it coloured us: I was raised with a sense of adventure and adaptability, I make friends easily. My brother has friends he’s known for a decade and a sense of belonging that I never really had.

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  • Sunshine Brite March 14, 2013, 7:49 am

    I have the opposite impulse, the urge to settle. I want my permanent house to stay in for years and years. My parents have been living in their house since a year or 2 after they married in the early 70s and they’re still there. I visited Monday as I live 2 hrs away (feels far even though I know it’s not) and my brother lives nearly an hr closer. My sister’s the wanderer running off to Chicago a whole 7-8 hrs away and we hardly ever get to see her.

    It’s funny. My fiance talks about getting a starter home and I tell him to be careful as I probably won’t move again. We should just make our starter home big enough to grow a ways.

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  • Sasa March 14, 2013, 9:06 am

    This has been interesting to read. I think I’ve usually run “staying in one place” together with “being close to my family and friends” in my head, but now I notice that I’m probably the nomadic type in terms of liking to change scenery from time to time, but what I don’t like at all is being far from family and friends. So basically I need to make compromises to fulfill both needs, as long as I don’t get all my loved ones to move around with me. 😉
    I was wondering if the nomadic spirit could somehow be satisfied without actually moving house? For example, by redecorating the apartment, trying out new activities and places within the same neighbourhood/city – or also just spending less time in the apartment, if at all possible? And of course, travelling.
    Sometimes, when I felt I was in a bit of a boring routine and itching for change, I just started including new things into my day, like always going to a cool café in the morning before work, or picking something exciting to read. Anything that will, although you’re still seeing the same things, “give you new eyes”.

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    • AH March 14, 2013, 7:07 pm

      I totally agree with your thought to buy where you want to be, just in case. My DH and I bought our “starter” home 18 years ago, and we are still there, three major renovations later. And you know what? Love the house now, but hate the city. After all that work and care, my DH does not want to leave the house, but I hate our lifestyle so much (way too much driving) that I would move tomorrow without a backward glance. Be careful where you buy….

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      • AH March 14, 2013, 7:08 pm

        Oops, this was intended for Sunshine Brite!

  • Emily March 14, 2013, 9:56 am

    I know we’ve talked about this but it so rings true to me! I moved something like 28 times in my life. And Bob lived in the same house until he was 24. No wonder we approach change in such different ways! (I am so used to it as a part of life/it’s so unfamiliar to him). Anyway. I RELATE.

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  • Marcie March 14, 2013, 10:21 am

    My parents still live in the same house they bought before I came along. Me or my brother will probably try to hang on to it after whatever ends up happening to my parents because we had such a happy childhood there. It’s the last house on a dead end with a field beside it that has been a cow pasture and a tobacco field. We used to fly kites over there when we were little but you had to watch out for cow patties. There is a creek and woods in the back where we used to wander for hours a day. We found tree houses left behind and a burned out milk truck. There was also a rope swing and it was magical.

    Anyway, most of my family live in the Middle Tennessee area. My brother is currently in Cali which is hard on my family in some ways because no one ever moves away. Once my husband and I make our next move we will be one hour away from both of our parents. My mom and dad are okay with it, but my mil has made some comments. We have flirted with the idea of moving out of state, but I don’t think we would ever do it. I just feed my wanderlust by taking a lot of trips. My parents just took us on one trip a year to Florida every year when I lived at home, so once my husband and I got together, we started seeing the US. I want to see everything and everywhere before I get old!

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  • SweetPeaG March 14, 2013, 10:33 am

    I definitely feel like the odd one on this thread! I despise moving and I am very happy to stay where I am for a very long time. I longed for this “settled” feeling for a while. It does not stem from moving a lot as a kid. We moved once (twice if you count staying with my grandparents while my parents were having our house built). I think it stems more from not knowing where my life was headed as a young adult. For about four years, I lived in a really bad neighborhood (next door to a prostitute and many drug dealers) in a crumbling house with my ex. When I say crumbling, that is not an exaggeration. That house was gross. I hated everything about my life. Everything about my life felt scary and unsettled.

    Now that I am living happily with my amazing fiance & my cute little kitties in our condo, I have no desire to ever leave. It’s in a good country town. We’ve met some cool neighbors that make their own beer and share freely! It feels cozy, safe & happy. There is nothing I love more than that! My fiance has aspirations to move on up in a few years. And I can support that. I’d like a yard of our own. But, if we decided never to move, I’d be fine! I would like to see more of the world through traveling. But, I am quite pleased with my own little world staying put for a while.

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  • Kris_ March 14, 2013, 10:48 am

    I get very twitchy too. I blame my divorced parents and all the back and forth we did between houses and moving on top of that. Location is the biggest one because it’s the easiest to define. But also school/work/relationships/etc. Since I left home, I’ve done college, grad school, 3 different internships, a study abroad, two different full-time jobs and lived in 12 different places in 10 years. I’ve been in at least the same town for the last 4 years and am in the process of buying a house in that town. It needs a lot of cosmetic work which I’m hoping will keep me there for awhile. Though I’m sure I’ll want to change something else in my life once I get settled there.

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  • Shaaron April 4, 2022, 1:27 pm

    Your history reads like mine. Am 75 years old, and after spouse’s death I started roaming. Like, couldn’t handle anyplace for long other than being on the road. Attempts to stay put, other than six months in Mexico at any one time, keep coming to naught. Trying to stay put in houses I bought eventually didn’t work. I too, return to my childhood: from Baltimore to the West coast and back again, and again, and again to almost every state you can mention. To every city within certain states. To every rental within every city. My history reads like yours: parents who couldn’t stay put until old age grabbed them and made them buy a place where they finally found contentment. Or sort of… Thanks for this site. It’s nice to know there are others out there who cannot commit to one place for any length of time regardless of family, friends, community. Somehow it seems that “purpose” figures into this somewhere. Now the question is what THAT looks like!

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