Changes, Self-Indulgence, and The Four Year Cycle

Of late, this rough little slimy rope has been growing around my mind telling me I sound overly self indulgent, a la Elizabeth Gilbert from what I assume to be a pre-Eat Pray Love era. I have criticized the book in the past because I felt it was the work of a privileged person who had the means to indulge if she so wished. But I stand here corrected, because unless we’ve been on the edge of chaos and confusion, I don’t think we are in a position to judge. So humor me while I too find my footing like she did.

While I do not have the resources to take a year off work and go eating in Italy or cycling in Bali, I do know that I’m going to move out of my comfortable box. For two whole years now, I have been caught in this conflict between stagnancy and listlessness. This is partly because I’m used to things changing – change, as the saying goes, has been the only constant in my life.

Growing up, we changed cities every four years (give or take one year). Which meant every four years, I had to leave behind friends, houses, familiar settings. Which means, even now, while I am surprisingly loyal to my friends, I remain a tad detached out of fear of being eventually uprooted from their lives. This is my normal.

This paved the way for the identity issues I’ve spoken about before. This also paved the way for the what bothers me most: the lack of a place I can call home. I’m perpetually homesick for a place I do not even know for sure exists. (And I’ve written so many times about this subject, I sound repetitive even to myself).

This year, I will complete eight years in Bangalore. That’s double of what I’m used to. This February, I will have lived in my current residence for four years. Those who know me know that every part of me rejected this house since the day I moved in. The reasons why I have my name on the contract, the forceful ways I’m tied to it – all of it only caused me to reject it more. You cannot turn a house into a home if you’re so busy disconnecting from it. Did I give it a try? Yes, because as I mentioned above, it’s a house that’s been forced on me, so goddammit, I tried to make it work. But eventually you reach a breaking point. One where the dissonance around you shakes everything you know and you’re willing to let go of it all. Why now and not before? That’s a story for another day.

The next part of my grand 2017-figure life out plan/idea is that I’ve decided to move to a different city. Which city? I don’t know. Am I jinxing it by speaking too soon about it? Maybe. Is the world a hostile place right now (quite possibly on the brink of war)? I do believe it. But eight years ago also the world was a shaky place and I still quit a cozy job to move cities for my own reasons – a move which was unanimously labeled “hasty and stupid” by family and friends. I still like to think I made it, professionally at least. Only back then, I knew where to move and what I wanted to do. Elizabeth Gilbert knew where she wanted to go and what she wanted to do. Right now, I do not know either.

Who’s got advice for me?

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16 thoughts on “Changes, Self-Indulgence, and The Four Year Cycle

  1. Lata Sunil January 30, 2017 / 11:38 AM

    It sounds like greener grass on the other side. I have stayed in the same city all my life and even a few days away from it upsets me and I yearn to get back home. But still, I feel like I want to live in a new place, make new friends, go about setting up the house and make it warm and welcoming. I have only changed residences, that too post marriage. I feel, one should do all the experiments when they are young as they can adapt to changes. I took only one risk and felt I was too late at it. So, go on.. take the risk. Atleast, you have the satisfaction that you tried.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sreesha Diva February 6, 2017 / 9:03 AM

      That’s the thing; I also feel I should’ve taken a few steps five years ago, when I really began to feel things were going south. Instead I let them spiral down even further. Now, I’m afraid to take risks cos, like you said, a nagging part of me keeps wondering if it’s too late. On the other hand, I don’t wanna give up without trying – to answer to myself at least.
      Fingers crossed πŸ˜€

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Shilpa Garg January 31, 2017 / 10:36 AM

    While I spent the first 25 years of my life being at one place, the next 20 years have been the one that involved constant change. And I quite liked the experience of going to new places, adapting to the place, people and culture there, settling in a new home, making friends… Since the last 3 years we are at the same house and I am yearning to move to a new place. I like the experiences from each new place, home and the people around.
    I would say, explore new possibilities,, meet cool new people and stay connected with the old ones. Here’s wishing you some exciting times. Go on and make some wonderful memories, Sreesha. Cheers πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sreesha Diva February 6, 2017 / 9:05 AM

      I recognize that yearning that you feel πŸ™‚

      I like constant change – all the things you mentioned, friends, culture, all of it. I do also wanna look back and call a place home.

      Thanks for the vote of confidence. Will keep sharing as and when more concrete plans materialize πŸ˜€

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Jaibala Rao February 1, 2017 / 10:25 AM

    I have lived all my life in the same city. For a while I did feel extremely attached to the city, and opposed with every ounce of my being the very Idea of moving else where. I am of the opinion that change does give you a chance to experience new things in life. I don’t know, if that will make the emptiness go away, but change will sure fill your heart up with different experiences. And that in itself is so exciting. Wishing you many exciting times ahead.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sreesha Diva February 6, 2017 / 9:07 AM

      To some extent, it may help with the emptiness, since at the moment I don’t know what exactly will fill it. I’m un-anchored right now, so desperately trying to find my core or meaning or whatever it is that I’m looking for.

      Thanks so much! Will constantly update new plans and ideas here until I find something to latch on to.

      Like

  4. Chandnimoudgil February 2, 2017 / 12:09 AM

    Reading you is like reading my thoughts , but definitely much sharper , much crisper . I have felt exactly like you’ve felt all my life about ‘the notion of home’ . The restlessness of settling down . I am sure I’ve spoken exactly like you have in many many posts .. reading you was strangely cathartic .

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sreesha Diva February 6, 2017 / 9:11 AM

      So glad you could relate to it. Sometimes I wonder if those like us who grew all over the country, do we have it better (with our experience) or worse (with our constant restlessness) than our peers who lived in one single place.

      Like

  5. Chandnimoudgil February 2, 2017 / 12:10 AM

    Reblogged this on Life in Third Dimension and commented:
    The First Post EVER that I am reblogging. A stunning piece of writing. She spoke about thoughts I have grappled with all my life and she spoke about them better than I ever can.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. shanayatales February 4, 2017 / 10:16 AM

    I don’t feel like I am in a position to weigh in on this topic, because I have always had a home in Mumbai, and I can’t image what it would be like not having that. It was the one thing that gave me comfort when we moved cities and states in US every 6 months to 1 year. To me the constant moving in US did not matter as much, because this was never home. I don’t know if this is making sense to you.Having said that, I have now found a place here in US that feels like home, but we have only been here a year. I guess it’s all in the perception?

    Hope you are able to find a place that feels like home too. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sreesha Diva February 6, 2017 / 9:17 AM

      Oh yes, of all the cities I’ve lived in, not one has come as close to home as Mumbai has. Even when my parents decided to move to Kerala post retirement (and dragged me despite numerous (sometimes dramatically self harming) protests), my brother stayed back, and I would run to Mumbai every chance I got. When he too moved cities, my inner compass just broke or something. I still went back a couple of times, but not like before, and I sometimes yearn to. Plus, it is one of the cities I’m considering making a move to right now. But nothing’s been decided – I’m just thinking out loud in my posts these days πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€

      I hope the same!

      Like

  7. Free Soul June 7, 2017 / 3:18 AM

    I too have moved around a lot over the years, about once every 4 years as well. Now, in my late 40s, I have realized that I have grown too accustomed to moving and I seem to use it as an escape hatch for my life, when the chaos ensues, or a relationship ends, I easily just move again or count on the fact that I will be or can be moving again soon, always a fresh start… What I have found is that this stops me from developing the close, rich relationships I so desire. It is difficult in just a few years to establish a solid support system and so I have come to realize that instead of continually looking to identify with a place enough to call home, I need to find a place and make it mine and so, I have moved to Hawaii and all of my adult children have moved here as well and we are establishing roots we have never had previously. I am only one year into this current location, so I cannot tell you how it will work out, but I can tell you that taken this different approach fits better, it feels better to say this is my home and I am going to make this my home.

    I have moved so much that I rarely even hang things on my walls anymore because I am sure I will just have to take them down as soon as I have hung them. this makes the abode dismal and making the decision to turn this place into my home once and for all has lifted a dark, nomadic cloud from my eyes.

    I have realized I need to stop looking and start creating what I want for myself. This making a very big difference in my outlook. I hope you can find your peace as well.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sreesha Divakaran June 7, 2017 / 3:30 PM

      I see your point because a couple of months after writing this, I gave it a lot of thought and wondered if I was indeed running away because there were things and situations I didn’t wanna face. I’ve come to the conclusion that it may be partly so, and partly the fact that I’m just not used to being in one place. But the latter’s definitely not the whole reason, as I’d suspected at first (or tried to convince myself at first). I’ve put the thoughts of moving on the back-burner for now, and I’m hoping to fix things on my own.

      I’d in fact been planning a follow up post to this. Hopefully, will share it soon.

      Thank you so much for reading and sharing your thoughts! It’s been really motivating.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Free Soul June 7, 2017 / 3:38 PM

      I’m in my late 40s, don’t take as long as I did, but find your home or make a home..energy flows where attention goes love, make your own path ❀

      Like

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