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The UN-conventional

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Settling down for the first time

laura Jul 02, 2024
Celebrating a house of our own

Laura here. Over the past 20 years, I’ve lived in 3 continents, 6 countries, 9 cities, and 16 homes. As of this month, I’m in a house my husband and I bought, in a country and city that was thoughtfully and intentionally chosen as a place to put some roots - for the first time in well, ever (yes, there was a spreadsheet.) I was finally tired and we felt we owed it to our kids to stay still for a good while.

Moving into our new house has led to a lot of self-reflection. In many ways, this marks the end of an era that somehow caught me by surprise. I'm surprised that we decided to be still and it feels good. I'm surprised that I'm excited, not terrified, that I don't know what I'll be doing in five years but I know where I'll be. I'm surprised that I'm confident enough in myself to trust that I'll be able to figure it out. Mostly, I'm surprised that while there were so many years I felt lost and confused, I realize now that there was no other way it could have gone.

With that, in no particular order, here are some of my initial reflections:

  • Moving is expensive. I will not be adding up how much I have spent over the years in fees, deposits, moving vans, etc. It would be depressing.
  • Some of your family and friends from ‘home’ won’t understand your choices. Some might see it as a rejection or judgment of the life they’ve chosen. Others might just not be good at long-distance relationships and choose to distance themselves. The ones worth hanging onto are the ones that love you, support you, and don’t judge you.
  • It takes a year, minimum, to settle into a new place. Don't make any decisions about whether you like it or not before then. Took me a while to learn this one.
  • No place is perfect. Every place has trade-offs. The clearer you can be about what you are looking for in a place, the more likely you are to make a decision you are happy with. Even then, you might not get it right and that's ok. 
  • If you're looking for life clarity or peace, you won't get this from a move or a single place. But you can find it through exploring, living in new cultures, and challenging yourself - and moving around is great for all that.  

Have you also lived in lots of different places? What have you learned?

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