Yesterday, I told my therapist that I felt a vague dissatisfaction with my life right now, that I felt a little bored. This isn't something I've been feeling a long time--it was more a product of working hard for the last few weeks and suddenly having a three day weekend during which I'd still need to work. My "vague dissatisfaction" lasted all of a few hours, to be honest. Still, my comment led to a revealing discussion.
My therapist asked me what associations I have with the word "stability." My sincere and heartfelt answer? "Routine. Boredom." She and I have talked about how my family moved a lot when I was young, and yesterday she insightfully asked if my parents had treated these moves as sources of excitement and opportunity. I think they did--at least, I don't remember negative feelings about moving (until the move that occurred when I was 13 . . . tough age to move). My parents taught me to think of change as an adventure, a lesson that I deeply appreciate--at the same time, they provided me with stability during the process of making new lives in Utah, California, Arizona, Pennsylvania, and then Utah again.
As an adult, I have both sought and rejected stability. I have moved a lot. i have wilted when my life felt mundane. I've felt unwilling to call anywhere home, even long-time residences. I've fallen in love with men who weren't grown ups or who didn't love me back. I've beaten myself up for not having a sense of stability even while I made decisions that led to that feeling. I don't mean for this list to suggest that I regret all of this. I've loved exploring the world, I've gotten a lot out of my failed relationships--and the more negative experiences have led me to where I am right now, a place I quite like.
My therapist suggested that I look at stability in a new way . . . it's my stable life here that allows me to take off and travel, to explore the world and my psyche, to find rest even when I feel restless. She's right. Other jobs, other cities, other responsibilities might limit or constrain my curiosity. Here, I'm financially secure, I have a job that allows me to follow my passions, and I have amazing friends. The people I love here let me go . . . but they also embrace me when I return.
I'm still not crazy about routine . . . but I think I'm on board with developing more positive associations with stability.