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We’ve been in our new house for three weeks now, settling in nicely, and I am feeling an interesting mix of both relief and fear. On one hand there’s the relief of knowing this is really OUR house, unlike the one we spent eleven years remodeling to sell.

Have any of you ever… nah. Who else is that crazy!

That house never quite felt like ours, because every decision was made NOT to personalize it too much, in order to sell it when the market came back. 

Of the two apartments that followed, the first was lovely and felt almost like a home, once you climbed the two flights of stairs to get inside. My legs hadn’t been in such good shape since I used to run 5K and 10K races!

The second was only a place to hang our hat for a year. Six months in, we decided we’d prefer living in our 300 sq.ft. motorhome to living in that poorly built apartment and listening to our neighbors. 

I will say though, the downstairs neighbor’s feuding was entertaining. Picture this: a beautiful, blonde and heavily made-up young girl, living with a much older, pony-tailed Aussie tennis-pro. Who knows if alcohol was involved, or what the fighting was about, but they were the stuff of legend. I’m talking Madison Square Garden World Championship shouting matches. They went the full 12 rounds, her screaming at him, him bellowing back, doors slamming, glass breaking. Finally, at 2:00 a.m. or so, things would be calm. The next morning their front door would slam and we’d see her mother out front in her silver Bentley, helping her load black trash bags into the trunk, and off they’d go. 

There’s a lot of relief in having no shared walls, plenty of room, and some personal space around us. And there’s relief in not having to think about moving again. 

Four moves in less than four years were certainly enough for us. How did you military wives manage, moving repeatedly? And with children, no less. Is there a secret?

But then as I unpacked, doubts also began to creep in, infringing on my relief. 

Is this my first and last home? 

Is this really where I want to spend what’s left of my life? 

What if I had to live here alone? Would I want to?

I wonder if this is a personality flaw, my gypsy nature, or just normal questions? Have you ever felt this way, and how did you resolve it?

I realize that it’s too soon to know the answers to these questions, so I will give it time. 

That, and sunshine, illuminates everything.

XO Donna

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Donna O’Klock spent 35 years in the beauty business, talking, teaching, and learning. These days, she’d “rather write than talk. It’s better that way because I can edit.” She writes two blogs, and, and is the author of  Sick and Tired & Sexy: Living Beautifully with Chronic Illness.

Austin, Texas, has been her home since 1978, but she and her fiancé have downsized and are traveling the country in their RV.

16 thoughts on “DON’T FENCE ME IN”

  1. Finally – now the heavy lifting of moving and all the details of getting things hooked up are behind you. Now comes the fun stuff – like the garden, finding good restaurants, etc.

    Yes, I know that feeling. Funny you should mention it – I was a military wife. In 26 years we moved 10 times – overseas twice.
    Started preparing 3 months ahead of time to go through stuff – dump, donate, designate. Get excited about the next place – books from the library, plan a fun thing to do along the way. Plan time to soak up friendships before saying good bye. Letting the kids plan a simple cake and ice cream party for their friends. All those Hail and Farewell ceremonies with our military community. Pack up and head off – like the amazing adventure. That is the leaving.

    The arriving can feel strange. I kicked into superwoman power and unpacked in 3 days – don’t drag it out. Got kids settled in school, husband off in new duties and me job searching, volunteering. There are exciting times and lonely times. Before long, it felt right. Love was the constant thing that made it work.

    We’ve settled into our forever home 3 years ago. Perfect spot for us, by family, by the ocean, not far from the mountains, farms and small towns, an hour into the city.. I worried, too, about feeling the itch to move again. But, I also feel relief having all that moving is behind me. Enjoying the lifestyle of small town, farm stands, trips to the city, friendships growing.
    The itch to move has not returned.

    Donna, best wishes in your new home!

    • Thank you, Irene, for sharing your experiences. I like: “the arriving can feel strange.” Exactly my feelings.
      We are beginning to meet neighbors, and I will be able to walk to yoga, Pilates, and an arts center. There’s a Farmer’s Market tomorrow. Soon, I’ll bet it will probably feel just right.

  2. I don’t know how people who move a lot do it. When we were very small kids, my parents moved several times within three or four years. Mum always used to laugh that she never got rid of her boxes and crates, and when she said the word “pack” the dishes stood at attention, ready to be slotted into their newspaper wrapping.
    Hope you enjoy your new home!

    • Hi, Sue! When I was younger, (28-42) I moved often, but didn’t have a lot to move and liked the adventure of moving.
      Not so much now…
      The house is coming along, I’m loving the kitchen and cooking up a storm.
      Yes, I am beginning to enjoy it a lot!
      Thank you,

  3. Dearest Donna, I’m sure after all that moving and living in your RV that being settled in your ‘forever home’ will come with a mix of feelings. Yes, elation and relief, but some doubts too. Your questions are good ones! Time will provide you with the answers but in the meantime I hope you enjoy the quiet, a place for everything and being able to cook in an actual kitchen! Much love, Essie. xx

    • Essie –
      Just made wheat-free chocolate shortbread today!
      I love the kitchen… and the smell when I’m baking makes me feel that all is right with the world.
      I’ll save you some….

  4. When I think about all the places I’ve lived I’m grateful for a lot of them. I went to 14 schools in 12 years, 4 in 6th grade alone. I wasn’t an army brat, but my mother married a lot. Some of those moves were ok, many were difficult. Then I married a man who worked in retail and got promoted almost annually which meant moving even more. The longest we stayed in one home was 8 years. That worked out well for our two boys, who only had to relocate to a different school once in twelve years.
    I worked in so many different types of jobs and learned as I went along. Then I opened my own business, a modeling agency, and that went well. Even after moving again, I was able to continue with my business. The people I’ve met, friends I’ve made and still have, made it all worthwhile. So, maybe staying in one place most of my life would have not been as interesting or, as much of a learning experience. But, I know it’s always a bit stressful. I’m happy for you.

    • Barbara – Exactly!! “Staying in one place most of my life would have not been as interesting, or as much of a learning experience.”
      That’s the part of moving that I love; but the hard physical labor of it… I’m over that part!
      It sounds like you and I have lived very similar lives, and the people we’ve met and friendships we’ve made are indeed what make living worthwhile.
      Thank you,

  5. After your vagabond lifestyle it’s natural to have all of these mixed emotions but remember… None of this is set in stone. If you decide you don’t like it there… regardless of the reason… you have the freedom to change that. And it’s not like you’ll be moving across the country. The general area has been your home for a long time. Unpack, make it your own and see what happens. xoxox, Brenda

    • Thank you, Brenda… I felt my shoulders drop, and my chest loosen a bit when I read “None of this is set in stone.”
      Bless you! To quote the Stones, “Time is on my side.”

  6. Last year I realized this is the longest I’ve lived in any house or apartment in my adult life. I am one to tour open houses by realtors for entertainment and I could feel myself getting the bug for change again. The same geography would be fine this time, but new surroundings – perhaps closer to the bike trails or walking distance to more amenities? But when I weight the pros and cons, I don’t really want to move. That’s not to say I might not again given changing life circumstances, but right now, I like my house, our view, and the area. As for moving, it became something I knew how to do and a perfect opportunity to declutter. 🙂

    Best of luck in your new home. I’m sure it will feel like home soon!

    • Laurel,
      I laughed out loud when I read that you like to tour open houses for entertainment!! I can SO relate to that!!
      I’m sure than when I finally go sign-up for a yoga or meditation class, and start in the gym, I’ll begin to feel more at home in the neighborhood.
      Thank you for your good wishes. I appreciate you.

  7. I have had seventeen homes in thirty five years of military life. Loved it! It was a lot of work but you meet new people and made lasting friendships, explored new cities, provinces & countries and set up new homes. Home was our family. I’ve now lived in my forever home, which I love, for ten years. I find myself wanting to move. Why? I have great neighbours, friends, clubs and a beautiful home. Habit, perhaps? Wanting another adventure other then our travels?
    I hope you manage to settle in nicely. You have been on the go for awhile now. This is a different lifestyle, for sure. And, what is lost if you decide you want to move on? Nothing!

    • Joanna –
      That was my big concern; is this my forever home? How would I know that? Do people actually make those kind of decisions the minute they move in?? I love that you still find yourself wanting to move…
      Maybe Wanderlust is something we are born with, like a preference for vanilla over chocolate?
      Thank you for sharing your experiences, and lending your support!

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