Fear of settling down

I despise fear, I speak out against it and I avoid letting my mind go there most of the time.  Even though I know it is a state of mind rather than a reality every once in a while fear stirs within me.

I know some of you will be thinking, "I have fears, everyone does"!  I get that and agree, but sometimes certain fears are more rational than others.  When fear stops you from living fully then it is a real problem.  There is nothing wrong with fear itself, especially when it ends up reminding you what is important but when it controls you and stops you from enjoying life then it is time to work through it and get it out of your system.

A few months ago I started to experience just that type of thing.  The funny thing though is how that fear is completely interlaced with excitement.  We landed in a new area, Big Island as opposed to Oahu and we started to make plans to settle down, maybe making this our home base for a while.  Scary I know..

When the word settle down entered the equation I was excited.  Could we get chickens again, our own stuff, and maybe even some pets and a car?  I was thrilled since it has been years since we had those things Although we love to travel and live nomadically, a part of us feels really drawn to the benefits of a more settled down life.

So we decided to go for it!  We rented a house, bought a car, and started to scour the area to furnish said home.  We even got a few chickens, well they sort of came with the house but we had chickens again.  Then, and this happened pretty quickly for me, that fear and discomfort started to seep in.  I began feeling lost, sad, and fearful of the change.  Everyday there was something else we had to do or not do that made me more and more resentful of our decision.

For the next 2 months I stopped enjoying where we were, which happens to be an amazing island full of unique things even for Hawaii.  I would research a new place to go to every day and found myself increasingly caught up in the manic mind of the traveler.  I couldn't even really verbalize how I was feeling or more importantly why I was feeling the way I was.  Frustration and a general sense of crankiness set in hard!

Fast forward 3 months and I find myself in a far better place.  Perhaps part of it is due to the fact that we have decided NOT to settle down but I like to think it was a process, a really important one, that I slowly worked through.  It went a little something like this....

For starters I had to figure out why I was so sad and full of fear.  Why were the benefits of settling down so overwhelmingly ignored?  The quick answer I discovered was that deep down I felt it was taking away from who I really was.  Aside from being a mom, it was as if my whole identity was wrapped up in travel, blogging, the lifestyle, and my friendships with others like me.

Rationally, I knew that the manner in which we travel does not define me but did it to my friends, followers, and co workers?  Would my friendships last if they still traveled and I did not?  Could I still write a travel blog when I was not actually traveling?  Was settling down going to make me too"normal", too traditional to carry on the relationships I have worked so hard to build up over the years?   Those of you that know me can stop laughing now..I have been reminded that not very many things can make me too"normal"!

These were real worries to me as I transitioned to a more settled down life.  On top of that were all the logistics of settling down; signing a lease, paying insurance, registering a car, paying taxes on it, setting up utilities and remembering to pay them every month, braces and the cost that goes with that, doctors appointments, and just being an adult.

When we started to travel I was not purposefully avoiding being an adult but man does travel have that added perk!  Of course I still have cildren and we have to work but those little nuisances in life that become commonplace were gone for me for years.  Even cooking and cleaning were a thing of the past for the most part.  Living and traveling in developing countries affords you the luxuries of eating out and having someone clean since you are staying in hotels for the most part.  Living in Hawaii has immense benefits but none of those are on the list!

We had no bills to pay, no rooms to clean, very few meals to cook, hardly ever an appointment or any real reason to have to do or be someplace at any specific time.  I loved that and truth be told I was desperately missing the ease of travel life.  Don't get me wrong it has its hard points but travel to me is far easier than living a traditional life.

Once I realized what the actual issues were that led to all this pushing against settling down I finally was able to work through it.  You can laugh if you want but what helped me most was a sort of meditation every day.  I did it while I either went for a walk or when I ran.  Consciously thinking about all the things I am grateful for and deciding to live each day with purpose and a focus on the present moment were key.

I mentally tackled all the specific things I was fearful of and was able to dispel the myths I had built up in my personal reality.  I changed that reality and decided to enjoy every day.  Now, I will be honest and tell you that I certainly still have my moments, but for the most part I have embraced what we are doing now, knowing it is never permanent and knowing that my friends are my friends no matter where in the world I am or what in the world I am doing. 

The fear was stopping me from enjoying this beautiful place I call home at the moment.  It was controlling my thoughts and behaviors to the point of effecting everyone around me.  It was time to let go, let life unfold the way it will, realize permanence is an illusion, and that fears are created in my mind!  When you realize those things you can take hold of it, shake that fear around, and kick it right out of your life.

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  1. OK. Did you crack open my mind and steal my thoughts? I was just today thinking about this - how a lot of the reason why I'm roaming is the escape the *ugh* settling down thing. It actually makes me itchy (or maybe that's the bed bugs from last night's dodgy guesthouse bed).

    Lovely to read how you're approaching it and making it work! :)

    1. Still struggling with the thought of it:) Good luck with the itchies!