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My blog is all about the thoughts, feelings and experiences of a city gal in her early 30's.
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Searching for a sense of belonging

Posted 08-08-2008 at 01:11 PM by doglover29
Updated 08-08-2008 at 01:24 PM by doglover29

Thought I would start a blog and share my thoughts about some things I've been thinking about lately.

Let's see, first a brief introduction. I'm a married gal in my early 30's. I've been married for four years to a wonderful man, who is my best friend. I have a grad degree but am in the process of changing careers to an entirely new field. I'm the type of person who likes to think about a lot of different things, and I also enjoy writing, so a blog seems like a great way to share some of my thoughts. I'd love to hear your thoughts, too!

So to start, the main thing on my mind lately is my parent's move for their retirement. Recently, they moved from the house and city where I grew up, in the midwest, to the West Coast. They lived in that house for 30 years, and it was the only house I ever grew up in. While I left my hometown at 18 to head out-of-state for college, I came back regularly for visits, and always made it back home about twice a year in recent years, if not more frequently. While I never had a particular attachment to my hometown, it was the town I grew up in, so it felt like home to me. Now I think about the fact that I have no reason to go back there again. That kind of makes me sad.

Now, my parents have packed up and moved, and that city is no longer my hometown in my mind. Thinking about them walking out the door of my childhood home for the last time made me feel very emotional, and my hubby and I went there a few weeks ago to pack up some childhood stuff that I wanted to keep. It was emotional for me to be in my childhood room for the last time and know that was the last time I would see the inside of my house. I've been looking at pictures of the house and it's hard to imagine that it's not my house anymore.

Part of the reason this is an emotional experience for me is that I have been feeling like I don't have any roots or a sense of belonging in the past few years. My hubby and I moved to Washington, DC (our current city) two years ago knowing no one and having no family in the area. We have always been renters, so that increases our feelings of rootlessness. We've also lived in a lot of different places since we graduated college, and we haven't stayed in any one place for more than three years yet. While being nomadic is fun and interesting, and I enjoy experiencing new places, it's also hard to keep starting over from scratch each time you move.

We haven't managed to make any real friends here, though we have acquaintances at work we're friendly with. I never felt a sense of community or belonging here, despite trying our hardest to make friends, joining social groups, and trying to become a part of the community. I know that lots of people move and have no trouble making new friends and connections, and I wonder why it's been so hard for us.

Now, in addition to these feelings of being rootless, I also now don't really have a hometown anymore--a city that I grew up in, where I knew where everything was, etc. It makes me feel even more rootless than I already felt. I feel like I don't belong anywhere. My husband and I only have each other here. I have absolutely no one to call and hang out with here when he's not available. It's an incredibly lonely feeling.

Also, we're planning on moving again next summer, to yet another place where we know no one and have no connections. The cost of living here is too high so we're looking for cities that have more reasonable real estate prices.

So those are some of the things I've been thinking about this week. My parents moved basically as far away from DC as possible--on the West Coast. I have never been to the state where they moved to. It's hard to imagine their life there now. I've really never been to that area of the country. It's sad to me that because of the distance (a 7-hour plane ride), we'll only see each other once or twice a year. I don't have any siblings, and we don't get along with DH's family, so my parents are the only family I have, and now they're so far away.
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  1. Old Comment
    Hey Doglover..

    I just happen to reply to a thread you started about moving from big city to small city (I stumbled on the blog thing) Sounds as if you are really looking to settle down and create that home experience you are emotional about losing when your parents retired? I think Im in the same boat in some ways.

    Your husband and you are new to DC so thats why it seems exciting (and Im sure it is) but as I said in my reply, you will see your mood change about that as you get older, why not move to a smaller (not tiny) town, buy a home and have enough extra money to fly to world cities every year for that big city fun? Just a thought....

    The world is much bigger then DC, and I dont know much (or anything) about you or your husbands careers, but there is a middle ground between a vibrant city, affordable homes and closer to you folks.

    I suggest making a game about it... Say "we are moving" and put things into a hat that mean allot to you both...maybe 20 things... museum, restaurants, sports etc etc... and pull them out of the hat one by one, ranking them as you go. BUT you can only pull out 10. See if that list is really enough to determine a place to live. Then look around, say to yourself... Austin! (and spend a week researching Austin)....Then say...Denver...spend a week researching. Nothing serious, just a game....Then you may find the perfect place quite by surprise with all the things you hold dear.

    Of course I sold my company, packed my belongings down to 3 suitcases and a few boxes at 37 years old and jumped on a plane for Japan....so my ideas of moving may be a little strange.

    Sorry for the ramble...slow day at work...
    Good Luck
    (or as said in Japanese) Gambate!!

    Posted 08-13-2008 at 01:59 AM by 5chevin5 5chevin5 is offline
  2. Old Comment
    Hello there,

    I was looking up blogs about Washington and for some reason came across your blog. It's amazing to think I live in Northern California and you live in Washington D.C. and we feel the exact same way. My husband and I have been togther for over 18 years. We have 1 daughter and no friends just like her mom. I'm always over stressed and frustrated and have no one to vent to or spend time with except my husband. Which he can be a pain in the butt to be around sometimes.

    Let me know if you want to talk more.
    Posted 10-27-2008 at 06:27 PM by nicole1256 nicole1256 is offline
  3. Old Comment
    Hi again Doglover,

    Just a few comments about this blog of yours. When I hear you, I see me when I was 30. It was that year my parents moved out of my childhood home in NJ to move to Florida. This past summer, I found out developers tore down our old house and are building new homes on the gorgeous land I played on and learned to ride a bike on and fished from. So, it now exists only in my memory. There are probably more people than we know out there with similar memories, longings, and nostalgia. Unlike you, I was never in my old room when I knew it would be the last time. See, after my parents decided to move, I never went home again because my mom told me not to. I think she knew I'd be very sad.

    Anyway, just had to share that with you.
    Posted 11-28-2008 at 08:02 PM by FiftyFiftyAboutCO FiftyFiftyAboutCO is offline
  4. Old Comment
    It is always hard to move... The worst is the leave the family and friends.
    Posted 11-30-2011 at 12:42 PM by Behappywoman Behappywoman is offline

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