Seven. That’s the number of consecutive summers I spent moving. Some were minor moves, across town to college dorms. Some were more significant – across state borders and into new communities. Sometimes even multiple moves in one summer. Hunting down cardboard boxes, cleaning out refrigerators, living out of a suitcase. These were the things making up the months of July and August for seven years in a row.
This summer is a different story. For the first summer in my adult life I am not moving. We have found our dream home and we won’t be leaving it anytime soon. Nestled in the trees above a garage on the most beautiful lot in town, we are thriving in a brand new studio apartment. Instead of moving our possessions to yet another location, instead of uprooting, packing and unpacking, instead of being in transition and on the move, this summer is one of staying still. And it feels so good.
In order to stay in one place though, we had to make a choice. We had to choose settling down over moving away, to hold still instead of running toward something else. We had to decide that where we were was worth our investment.
It’s not easy to hold still at this stage in life – the mid-twenties, newly married, childless and petless stage. There’s opportunities around every corner, a myriad of options before us that would lead us down new paths. Everything looks shiny and this world-sized oyster we’re presented with teases us with all its tantalizing possibilities. We could discover a new job, a new house, a new city, a new community, a new church every other week.
But with each option we pick up and try on we are saying no to the opportunity to invest in what we have right in front of our faces.
For the first time in my life I am deep cleaning my home for its own sake, and not to avoid losing our security deposit. I took pots and pans out of the cupboards and cleaned each drawer. I cleaned out the fridge. I scoured baseboards. I wiped down doors and walls. I’ve never done this without also moving.
Choosing to stay still takes effort.
Investing in your life right now – exactly as it is – isn’t easy.
You look at the flaws, you look at the problems, you know the issues that can be covered up by superficial layers. You look at it all and you say this is worth my time. There is still more for me to do here. You aren’t waiting for the next move, you aren’t holding out for the perfect house, you aren’t depending on newness to bring relief. You dig down and stay put.
As much as I would love to never move again, as often as we say we are staying in this little house forever, there will probably come a day that we find a new home to invest in. But for now, for this summer for sure, we won’t be relocating. We’re putting down roots, for a little longer at least, and we will invest in the life that in front of us.