Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Oh, The People I Have Lived

I like keeping lists of things I've done.  I find it interesting to reflect on subjects and to categorize information because I think it helps me find patterns in my life.  I can harken this back to my post on StrengthsFinder and my penchant for context - the desire to look back in order to make sense of the now, as well as to help make decisions for the future.

For a few years, I've been keeping track of several things, among them a list of all the jobs I've had and a list of all the shows Kevin and I have seen.  Another list I've been keeping is a list of all the places I have lived.  My current home is my 35th home, or rather moving into this house was the 35th time I have packed up and moved.

For the first 20 years of my life, I lived in just 3 places - the house in which I was born, the house my parents rented soon after I was born, then the house they bought when I was 5 - the same house in which my mother still resides:
1.  House in Cresaptown, MD
2.  House in Eckhart (south)
3.  House in Eckhart (north) - parents' home since 1971
So this means that over the next 45 years, I moved 32 times.

Working backward, I've lived in Chicago for the past 12 years.  Here, I have lived in 6 places, including the time we moved to and from Miami.  I moved 7 times since moving to Chicago in 2005:
4.   Apartment in Andersonville with Ashley
5.   Apartment in Boystown with Ashley
6.   Kevin's apartment
7.   Condo in Uptown
8.   Miami
9.   Condo in Uptown
10. Current house in Lincoln Square - since 2015
Prior to Chicago, I lived in DC for 10 years, where I also lived in 6 places:
11. Group house at 4th and D, NE
12. Apartment on Capitol Hill
13. Apartment in Georgetown
14. Apartment on T Street, NW
15. Group house on T Street, NW
16. House in Shaw with Ashley
My first home in DC was a group house on 4th and D Streets, NE.  I lived there for 1 month: September 1995.  I had two roommates, one of whom I never met or saw the entire time I was there.  It was a rough situation and I had things stolen from me.  I found another place several blocks away on Capitol Hill and lived there for about two years. It was the first time I lived on my own, responsible for everything.  I remember one unspecific day, a few weeks after moving in, when I realized that I was "doing it": my rent was paid, all my utilities were paid, my car insurance was paid, and I had groceries in the kitchen.  It was the sudden realization, I guess, that I had finally grown up - at the age of 29.  The last time I moved from my parents' home was my move to DC in 1995.  I swore I would never move back home again.  And I didn't.

So for the past 22 years (since 1995), I've moved 13 times, which means that for the period of 9 years between 1986 and 1995, I moved 19 times.  That's 19 times in 9 years.  How is that possible?  College accounts for most of it.  On average, a college student moves 2+ times a year to and from school.  And there were many attempts at moving out and trying to make it, but failing for whatever reason or needing to move back home because of some circumstance:
17.   Apartment in Ocean City, MD - my first attempt at moving out, but was temporary
18.   Back to parents' house
19.   Apartment on Washington Street, in Cumberland, MD - bad roommate situation
20.   Back to parents' house
21.   House in Sterling, VA with Ex#2
22.   Duplex with a friend in Winchester, VA following breakup with Ex#2
23.   Back to parents' house
24.   Condo in Silver Spring, MD with one roommate
25.   Apartment in Silver Spring, MD with two roommates
26.   Back to parents' house
27.   Dorm room at Shenandoah University, Winchester, VA  (one semester)
28.   Apartment on Grant Street in Frostburg, MD (summer)
29.   Dorm room in Cambridge Hall at FSU, Frostburg, MD
30.   Back to parents' house (one month)
31.   Dorm room at Shenandoah University, Winchester, VA  (two semesters)
32.   House with two college/friends roommates in Winchester, VA  (summer)
33.   House with two college roommates in Winchester, VA  (two semesters)
34.   Apartment in Waterford, CT for an internship (one summer)
35.   Back to parents' house
So when I tell Kevin that I have moved for the last time and in my final home, he laughs at me.  But just looking at this list makes me exhausted.  It's 35 times of folding, wrapping, packing, sealing, labeling, stacking, packing, cleaning, patching, painting, tossing, donating, driving, moving, unpacking, arranging, rearranging, refolding, painting, mail forwarding, electricity, gas, cable, internet, and in some cases a new driver's license and updating voter registration.

But looking back on these places, it's easy to compare them to relationships. The places I have lived were like people who came into my life and stayed awhile.  I entered each one full of hope and promise; they were new and exciting.  Now and then, they needed work or my attention to fix something either caused by me or (more typically) by the person who came before me.  They kept me warm, made me feel safe, gave me comfort.  I trusted them with all my possessions.  And then, I moved on either from need or want or lack of either.  But despite that, I remember each one fondly because each one was different.  I don't regret any of them because I learned something about myself in each place.

And just like the relationship I am currently in - I've found my last home.