Lately I’ve been feeling claustrophobic. Like my world is getting smaller. Closing in on me.
I’ve been putting down roots.
I signed a 10-month job contract.
Then I signed a 12-month lease for a house (virtual photo tour to come once more of the empty boxes get moved to the basement).
Then I bought a mattress.
Accumulating things and responsibilities, investing in furniture and relationships, committing to a sedentary, grounded lifestyle are all normal. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t terrifying.
It’s not that I don’t want to be in Portland. I love living here. I love the pace of life here. I love how genuine everyone is. And to all those people who like to make small talk with me by asking how I’m going to deal with cold, wet weather having grown up in Southern California: I love having seasons. And fall is my favorite one.
It’s not that I don’t like my job. It turns out I prefer supervising kids to teaching them. My coworkers are quickly becoming an extended network of supportive friends and connections. And I get constant exposure to French.
It’s not that I don’t like my new house. It’s charming and cozy. Sage green with bright purple trim on the outside, warm neutral tones and rich wood floors on the inside. And my housemates are the perfect blend of goofy and responsible—your typical Whitman graduates. It’s already starting to feel like home.
And it’s not that my mattress is uncomfortable. It’s springy but firm, and it’s full-sized, so I have plenty of room to spread out. It will never be as cool as the dinosaur-patterned mattress I had as a child, but it’s solid, dependable—and purple!
So why the anxiety and apprehension? Are these emotions a last-ditch, subconscious effort to hang on to any remaining scraps of childhood?
Yes, in part. But I think there’s more to it than that.
These concrete steps toward adult independence feel constricting as much as freeing.
By making any choice, even one with which I’m immeasurably happy, how do I know I’m not closing the door on something better and unknown?
If my roots sink too deep, will a future transplant be impossibly messy?
And how do I live in the moment while still not losing sight of my long-term goals?
I’ll let you know if I come up with any answers…