“PEOPLE CRAVE MORE STABILITY AS THEY GET OLD.” So said a politician in an article I was reading. My reaction was, “Really? Well, maybe for a lot of people, but not for me.”
I’m 70 years old and about ten years ago I got fed up with my lifetime of stability. Stability had become stagnation, and it was eating at my brain and my soul. I had become a self-loathing lump.
I wanted to shake things up. I had gotten involved in new hobbies and learned new marketable skills, but I was still circling the same familiar, comfortable drain. I needed a bigger change.
I could move to a different part of the country. It had been a bit of a spark the previous times I had done that. Heck, I could move to a different part of the planet. That would really be a change. But I knew myself well enough to know being anchored in one place would soon lead to stagnation again — just in a different location.
So, keep moving? Ummmmm… yeah. If stability was killing me, then why not try voluntary instability?
And it has worked. So far. My mental and physical health are much better. I’m not just passing time until the day that time ceases to pass for me. And, in a paradoxical way, instability has become my own version of stability. I have adopted a slogan, borrowed from 3M’s description of the adhesive used on Post-It Notes:
It turns out I’m a wanderer, not a settler. I had been living the wrong life for six decades. I’m like Ryan Bingham in “Up in the Air” who felt at home on the road but who was uncomfortably lost whenever he was back “home” in his condo. The difference (besides the entire rest of that movie’s plot and George Clooney’s good looks) is that I travel in my home. That’s where I’m mentally and emotionally stable. Because I’m always free to go.