The Moving Addiction Situation

Hello. My name is Amanda, and I’m addicted to moving.

This may sound odd and not like something one could actually become addicted to, because, as anyone who has ever moved or helped someone move or listened to someone’s endless story about moving, you know that there is always some moment where you are standing in the middle of your new kitchen, surrounded by boxes, paralyzed with wondering whether the plates or cookware would be better in that cabinet by the sink when you think THIS IS THE SOUL SUCKING WORST! WHY WOULD I EVER DO THIS AGAIN?

But to me, this moment has yet to break my addition. This addiction, as most addictions do, has its roots in my childhood. I had my first move at a mere six weeks, as that is how long it took the US Government to make a passport with my chubby baby face on it so my family could move from California to Japan. This was followed two years later by a move to Maryland, followed quickly by a move to Pittsburgh.

That move lasted a solid eight years, before we moved again to Alabama, which lasted a less solid five years, before we moved one more time in the middle of my high school years to Ohio. This was, of course, followed by the obvious move to college and then to LA (to intern) and a year later, to live. So…yeah, I’ve moved a lot.

And that doesn’t count house moves in state, which are even more plentiful, or the fact that my parents moved while I was in college, meaning when I go to their house, I’m going somewhere I only lived for four months immediately following college, which, I guess, could count as an additional move. (Note: This is also why I become uncomfortable when asked what my hometown is. Please, never ask me that. You will have to listen to this whole explanation again, and no one wants that.)

A lot of people feel bad for me when they hear this. They lament the fact that I don’t have a real place to go “home” to, whatever that really means, and the fact that I have few life-long friends. My sister and I, however, have found many positives to this. It made moving to college seem routine. It has made me an expert at making friends or just at surviving in situations and parties where I don’t know anyone.

It has given me a richness of experiences that people who grew up in one location may not have gotten, and it has given me, not life-long friends, but ridiculous amounts of friends – friends who have each added something completely different and unique to my life and who shaped who I am in 1,000 different tiny ways and have made me, in my opinion anyway, a pretty interesting person who is lucky enough to have friends living almost anywhere I could go.

There is, of course, a downside to this, and not just that whole unpacking-logistics obnoxiousness, and it came up last night as I talked to one of my best friends, Christina, about her impending move to Hawaii. She, having lived in So Cal her whole life, noted that she has never gotten to do a cleanse – a cleanse of routine, a cleanse of friendships and acquaintances and obligations – a shake-up in your life that allows you to work to hold on to those you actually care to hold on to and allows you to easily let the rest slip away without all the social niceties getting in the way.

I have done this cleanse many MANY times. I’ve held on tightly to those I wanted and needed to in every move and got out of many toxic and time-wasting relationships, but in a way – and here is the downside- I fear I’ve used this as a crutch. A crutch to run away from complicated problems and relationships that I had no idea how to turn around or get out of – instead of having to stick it out and make tough changes in my life and routine, I simply got to leave and start with a blank slate, taking the best with me and leaving the mess behind.

And I worry I’m doing it again. This year has been rough. I’ve settled into a couple toxic routines and relationships I know I should get out of now…but I find myself not trying to anymore, letting them go on and wallowing in annoyance and anxiety, because, who cares? I’m leaving any way!

And this really worries me, because what if one day, I’m somewhere that I don’t want to leave? And I’m stuck trying to figure out how to change situations and relationships and routines that I desperately want to change or rid myself off, but I fail, because I have no idea how to stay yet move forward.

And because of that, I fear that I’ll just keep moving. Keep saying I’m going on adventures and just quiet that nagging part of my brain that says maybe, just maybe, I’m simply running away.