It's nice to actually be able to concretely articulate some tradeoffs for at least one side of this decision-weighing - nomadhood, that is. I've yet to feel what it's like to settle down - actually, I haven't gone a year without moving since I turned 14.

Benefits of nomad-hood

  1. See the world. It's hard to express the magnitude of this bullet point, but imagine me standing up and waving my arms around in giant circles here; one of my childhood dreams was (and still is) to travel, because I'm curious and read about things and just want to see them.
  2. I keep on hankering for new input, more input, just more - and being thrown into new places, new situations, new people is one of very, very few things I've found that fill me up in that way. I've heard other people describe travel as "draining" and "exhausting" - and it is - and I love that; it's so rare for my capacity for energy output to be tapped in any sort of substantial way. Probably why I have benefit #1 up.
  3. Different perspectives. It's made me a better person to see how people can react to things so many different ways, how different groups of people have shaped their environments and themselves.
  4. Food.
  5. Because the world is big and wide and beautiful.

Benefits of settling down

  1. A garden. I am not sure whether plants will ever survive being under my care (no luck so far), but if my thumb ever turns less non-green, I'd love to be pulling monster zucchini from the backyard
  2. Pets. I've wanted a dog since I was a little kid, but as the years go by I've begun to conclude that, while my own personality may be doglike (one common phrase friends use to describe me is "like a happy puppy"), a cat and I would probably make better companions (first interaction with purring cat, Thanksgiving 2008: "It's vibrating!"), what with me being spasmodically hyperactive and not able to lavish large amounts of consistent daily attention on anything. If I could live with a dog, that might work; we could ramble enthusiastically around town together when I'm home, but the dog would be not-my-dog, and instead belong to a housemate or someone who could actually take care of it properly.
  3. The ability to totally trick out my living space and play with things like this (made by an Olin classmate). I have been planning X10 for my house since high school.
  4. Piano! I'll consider myself "settled down" when I have a piano of my very own. A real one - a baby grand, if I can pull it off space-wise (it's not like I'll have that much other furniture). As much as I adore my keyboard, there's something particularly satisfying about an honest-to-god piano.
  5. It's just easier in some ways, y'know? You can buy furniture without thinking about what it'll be like to box it up again; you can paint walls and know you don't have to paint them back 9 months from now. You get to fix stuff, which is actually something I miss. You don't have to fill out change-of-address forms. People know where to find you. You can put down roots.

Not ready for the settlin'-down yet, and probably won't be for a long time. But it's nice to know a little bit more clearly what I'd gain and what I'd trade in if I choose that way at some point.

This post brought to you by the "overthinking future decisions" dept. (On the flip side, running simulations like this (1) keeps me from getting bored, and (2) means I can make decisions way quicker when the actual time comes; sometimes my impulsiveness is less impulsiveness and more "I figured this out many years ago.")