settlers

by rantywoman

Even though it’s causing me all sorts of problems now, I don’t regret moving to L.A. for six years (after seven years with my previous employer here). I am, however, not ready to make another move again… if it happens, it will be out of necessity rather than desire.

Is it possible, now that I’m ready to settle in, that I can find an employer here (or anywhere!) who will appreciate that I’ve moved around and taken on all sorts of new challenges?

Some pros and cons of change:

This is one reason, certainly, why radical changes to one’s environment, especially occurring later in one’s life– for example, in the course of migrating from one country to another, upon the loss of a spouse, during a period of rapid technological change– are enormous, maybe even devastating personal challenges. The loss of a feature of the environment with which one’s daily activities are intimately interwoven is the loss of a part of oneself…

The point is not that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks: sometimes you can. The point really is that to do so, you need to make the dog new again. Someone once told me that it is good to change jobs every seven years or so. It keeps you young. One explanation for this might be that changes force you to renew yourself by developing anew in relation to new external structures, new habits, new modes of involvement with the world around you. Another effect of this kind of disruption is that time, in an interesting, felt way, slows down. When life is routinized, days and weeks and months blend into one another: each day is like the next; the days form an arc as one’s life project unfolds. But when the routine is disrupted– when you move, or even when you travel– days acquire a distinct specialness. A week getting settled in a new city can seem like a lifetime! It is a tantalizing trade-off. One gives up comfort and, in a way, productivity; in return, one gets time and youth!

[…]

The cost of changing one’s life situation on a regular basis is high. We seem to get a bit tired as we grow old, and it takes a lot of energy to refit oneself to a new world. On the other hand, there are achievements that can be had only by one who is comfortably settled into a way of life. The positive pleasures of domestic life, for example, or the skills that come from practicing a craft or trade or profession with perfection and mastery, will probably be sacrificed if one moves around too much.

Alva Noe, Out of Our Heads, pp. 51-52

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