On Settling Down in Life

Last night I fed “people who can’t settle” into my search engine of choice. I was surprised, but only for a brief moment, when most of the responses were geared to people (mostly men) who couldn’t settle down romatically. Of course. That does apply to most men, which is 90% or more of why I cannot and never will self-identify as a gay man; their subculture is so much geared around anonymous and casual sex, which I want basically no part of.

There were basically two responses that did not fall into the sexual category: one, two. 

Interestingly, they both said basically the same thing; namely, that some of us simply have a stronger sense of purpose and ideals and higher personal standards, and this prevents us from being pleased or at least accepting of situations that most would find worth settling for. They also said that those of us who fall into that category should not water down our standards and settle. (It usually doesn’t turn out very well for us if we do.)

Well, OK. That’s basically what I had already concluded on my own. So there it is.

However, it raises an issue: About three years ago, I decided to embrace being more settled, because (a) I thought I could, and (b) being settled does have its advantages.

On that first point, it’s looking more and more like I was dead wrong: I managed by sheer luck to find a high-tech company where I could fit in… for a few years… until both the company and the job changed to the point where the magic (and totally unrepresentative) match no longer existed. Ever since then, it’s become increasingly obvious just how badly I fit into that world. I didn’t (and couldn’t) know that at the time, of course. I actually was aware of that possibility; it was one reason I decided to wait several years after landing that job before buying a home. I was waiting for that other shoe to drop. Alas, it dropped after I had guessed (incorrectly, it appears) I had waited long enough.

On the second, I still think it’s valid. Being settled does have its advantages. I’ve been able to better pursue hobbies and interests now that I have a proper workspace for them. And in general, it’s been good to be in the Salish Sea ecoregion, the place I’ve called home longer than anywhere else in my life. There’s real benefit to experiencing the passage of time in a place I’ve known for several decades. I never knew I was missing that sort of experience (which most get to have) until I moved back.

So now I have this house which it appears I will no longer be able to afford and which no longer is appropriate to my needs (the only reason I bought it is because I assumed I had viable economic opportunities in Seattle I wouldn’t have elsewhere in the general region). One insight I’ve had is to drop any reluctance and sell it sooner rather than later, even though I haven’t been here the “standard” five years. That standard, of course, is based on the standard rate of appreciation, and prices have been going up at a significantly greater pace than the standard recently. Therefore, the market lets me get away with leaving early; more than that, the market will reward me for leaving now.

Alas, it’s not so simple. (It never is.) In this case, there’s all the connections, such as the ones at Islandwood, that I’ve built in the past year or two. It would be a pity to burn all those bridges. Together with the other advantages of being in the same region for a long time, I guess that means that if I move, I shouldn’t move very far.

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