Monday, October 15, 2007

Staying Put!

When you’re commitment phobic, it’s hard to stay put.

For example, when I lived in Chicago the first 5 years, I lived in 4 different places and had 4 different jobs. The second 6 years there I lived in 4 different places and had 3 different jobs. I was improving. I was only in Vegas for 1 ½ years – 1 place, 1 job.

I’ve lived in Seattle for 21 years. In the first 13 years I had 9 jobs although 4 of them were part time second jobs. I’m in my 8th year at my current job.

In the first 8 years here, I moved 6 times. I’ve owned my home for 13 years now.

I’m definitely improving.

Commitment phobic people like me don’t like conflict and we deal with it by running from it. The dichotomy is we’re only running from ourselves. Rather than facing our problems and fixing them, we run from them and hope they don’t follow us. Inevitably, just when we believe we’ve run fast and far enough, they tap us on the shoulder and say hi.

As aware of this as I am, whenever I run into a conflict my first instinct is still to run.

Fortunately running isn’t as easy as it used to be. When you’re a renter, moving is as easy as moving out when your lease is up. Yes it can be a lot of work, but it’s easy. When you own a house that needs some work, it’s harder to walk away.

I recently made a new list of all the things that still need to be done to my house – about $20,000 worth – and then my drain collapsed and I added $6,100 to that total. My first reaction was to go on the internet and start looking at houses – new houses and condos that don’t need work. The problem with all of them was location. They weren’t in my neighborhood with my wonderful neighbors. I can’t move. I’m taking some money out of savings and finishing my house. I love where I am and can easily stay here another 13 years. By completing all my projects I can enjoy my home and focus on other things. I’m staying put.

My job has also been a center of unhappiness lately. I was so frustrated I updated my resume and started hunting through the want ads. The problems with all of them was, I really like where I work now and only have about 7 more years until I retire. I can definitely stay here for that long. They pay me well and I have great benefits. At my age, benefits are really important. So I had a long talk with my boss at lunch the other day and we resolved the problems. They like me value me and want me to stay. I’m staying put.

All the changes in my home and job won’t happen at once, but they will happen within the next 6 to 9 months. I can wait that long.

I am commitment phobic but in most areas of my life I control it now, it no longer controls me.

Sometimes staying put feels really good!

10 comments:

Church Lady said...

I hear you!
It's so important to be happy in your home. In his book "Whispers," Dean Koontz says in the prologue or epilogue that where we live does influence our outlook on life. He said this in a much better way of course...and I believe it!
Maybe you should throw a belated home-warming party?
Kudos for the good discussion with your boss!

Travis Erwin said...

I have only lived in two house in my nearly 35 years and also had only two real jobs. Sometimes I wonder on what I have missed out on by not being more nomadic.

Though I have found plenty of adventures right here close to home.

Bernita said...

I have thought at times that everyone should pack up and move every five years ( or as soon as one forgets the sheer aggravation and labour of it all) just to clean out the accumulated clutter.

The Anti-Wife said...

Chris,
Next spring when my work is all or mostly completed, a home-warming party would be perfect. You're all invited. Now you just have to figure out where I live!

Travis,
I often wonder what I missed because I was so nomadic. Thanks for stopping by!

The Anti-Wife said...

Bernita,
Instead of packing up and moving, I recommend picking a different room (or 2 if you have a big house) every year and totally remodeling it. Clear it out completely - including the closets and all the drawers, clean, repaint, etc.

The trick is to start with the worst room in the house - the darkest, mustiest, most cluttered one. That way you aren't tempted to use that room as a dumping ground when you remodel the other ones.

Moving often is for the young and bold. It's not something I want to face anymore!

Mary Witzl said...

Perhaps I am a little commitment phobic myself: I will never forget how depressed I was when we first acquired furniture: I felt weighed down by it. Good for you for confronting your phobia and dealing with it instead of running away.

I used to move every few years. This wasn't something I actually planned, it just worked out that way. I've now been in the same house almost four years, and in the same town for six. But the chances of our staying here are low, and I dread the prospect of packing it all up again and moving on.

The Anti-Wife said...

Mary,
Sometimes we have no choice. It's when we do that we have to question why we feel the NEED to move.

Maya Reynolds said...

AW: What a great post.

My childhood was so chaotic that I'm just the opposite. It's really difficult to get me to move. I lived in my duplex for 13 years and I've been in this house almost 11.

And I've only had four full-time jobs in my entire life.

I suspect I need more change in my life.

Congratulations on solving both your problems.

Maddy said...

I'd say that thirteen years was pretty impressive. I know what you mean about running away from yourself - I just want to snip the elastic that keeps pigging me back.
Cheers

The Anti-Wife said...

Maya,
To me it sounds very lovely that your life has been so stable. I envied friends who had such continuity and lacked the turmoil in my life.

Maddy,
Thirteen years in my house is like a miracle for me. I never lived anyplace this long before, not even in my childhood.

Sometimes that elastic keeps you from making stupid mistakes!