In the words of the incomparable Bruce Springsteen, “Baby, We Were Born to Run.”
I’ve found myself humming this song in my head the last few weeks because I realize my incredibly strong urge to run from each and every uncomfortable situation. Recently this urge to run has come from my battle with an insect invasion at the apartment I moved into last month. I seriously considered the possibility of re-packing everything I had just unpacked and hiring movers all over again to move into another mystery situation. Surely, I thought, bad insect karma couldn’t possibly follow me if I were to go further into suburbia.
I realized that this is the way I’ve handled a lot of situations in my life. If it seems too hard to fix something or if there is any possibility that I won’t be successful at something I instantly want to run away and start fresh somewhere else.
I know this started when I was a child. My father worked for the government and we moved a lot. This followed me into adulthood, when I wanted a change or things weren’t going the way I hoped they would I packed up my Ford Escort and moved somewhere new.
I’ve moved so many times in my life that I’ve lost count. I’ve been so used to moving that it’s only in the last decade that I’ve started making an effort to make the places I live in a home, including unpacking every box and putting pictures on the wall.
For most of my life I’ve thought that this urge to run away was somehow instinctive in me, that my true nature thrives on constant change. I’m questioning that now. Right now the thought of packing up my whole life again and moving somewhere new, although still tempting given my latest insect problem, seems like too much work. This is partly because I have a lot more stuff than I did in my twenties and thirties when I could move everything I owned in a Ford Escort.
I’m also not in my twenties or thirties anymore. I am craving stability. I am craving a sense of community that only comes with staying on one place for more that a few years. I’ve been in LA for over 11 years. Before this the longest I was anywhere was 5 years. I’m realizing that there are major benefits to staying in one place and dealing with problems one by one rather than running from them. Stability. Comfort. Community support. Peace.
I won’t be running this time. I’ve unpacked every single box. I’ve put art on the walls. I’ve asked my landlord to work with me and weather-strip all my windows. I’m standing my ground. My insect invasion, precarious as it may be, seems to be over. I see now that I was not really instinctively born to run. Running was the easy way out. I’m in this for the long haul. I’m staying.