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What Is Domestiphobia, Anyway?

I think I need to explain to you about Domestiphobia.

Wild

I’ve never really been clear — perfectly — about the word or its meaning or how it applies to me.

I’ve defined it on my About page:

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do.mes.ti.pho.bi.a

noun də-‘mes-ti-‘fō-bē-ə

:  the exaggerated, inexplicable and/or irrational fear of domestic life

Example:  Her fear of leading a stagnant, lethargic life devoid of personal growth and meaningful experiences could be described as a mild case of domestiphobia.

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But that’s not the best I can do.

See, I think we’re inclined to read a word — especially a word like phobia — and immediately jump to the literal meaning. Fear. The fear of domesticity.

And when we think of the word domesticity, we tend to think of typically wifely common household duties circa 1953, like cooking the perfect pot roast and vacuuming the living room in a house coat and high heels.

But there’s another description for the word domestic.

It means settled.

Sedentary.

Indoor.

Tame.

And I assure you. I can tackle a pot roast and clean the oven and sometimes even manage to sew a real button with access to Google and a tall glass of wine, but those other words?

Those calm words?

That is where the phobia applies.

The fear of becoming resolute in the idea that daily chores and a common routine are the only way to pass a life.

That we should consistently cook from the same old book.

Eat, every time, from the very same restaurant.

Live in the same house.

Speak just one language.

Know just one country.

Swim just one sea.

And it’s not the possibility of this happening that terrifies me to the core —

It’s the possibility that one day this is what I might think I want.

That I’ll want to miss this:

Or this:

Or even this:

Or sometimes this:

Skydive Hawaii

Because stagnancy is easy.

After all, hasn’t this happened to many people?

Isn’t this what they tell themselves, day after day?

That they like their routines?

That it’s too hard to change?

That they’re doing it for their kids, or their parents, or their neighbors down the street?

But I’m telling you.

Life doesn’t have to be that way.

Not if, deep down, that’s not what you want.

If you move your kids will adapt. If you quit your job because you want to stay home and write, your neighbors will get over it. If you travel to a foreign country and accidentally order raw beef, you can order something else. Or, you can try it anyway. If you try to cook curry and smoke yourself and your husband out of the kitchen, you can learn to laugh. At least after your throat heals.

Because these things?

These experiences are part and parcel to living a life that is vibrant and full.

Change happens every day, in every atom of every thing, and we can fight it or we can embrace it.

You can choose the level of change you’re willing to introduce, one day at a time, but don’t become stagnant.

Don’t refuse to learn.

Don’t miss a sunrise you’ve been wanting to see, just because you might get tired.

Emotional immobility kills the soul, of that I am sure.

And your soul, it turns out, is you.

Katie

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Comments

Kevin
Reply

There is no adventure without risk, and there is no life without adventure. I’m pretty sure someone, somewhere said that before I did, but I’ll be darned like a sock if I can figure out who.

Thanks for this, my adventurous friend.

Katie
Reply

Wise words, either way. :)

Dennis Hong
Reply

Huh. Okay. I always thought you were just afraid of the tip of domes.

But that only makes me wonder that the hell dome tips are?

Katie
Reply

No, that would be Domestipphobia – with the extra “p.” Otherwise known as “the fear of things that don’t exist” since I’m pretty sure that domes, by definition, can’t have tips.

Jesus, Dennis. Learn to spell. ;)

Dennis Hong
Reply

Well, I was imagining something that looks like a boob with a nipple. See? Dome with a tip.

Katie
Reply

omg I can’t stop laughing. I suppose that’s better than a boob without a nipple!

Dennis Hong

OMG, OMG. Dome tips! Definitely dome tips!!!

Stephanie
Reply

Sometimes I swear you are my husband writing in disguise. Seriously.

Katie
Reply

Ooh, wouldn’t that be creepy! Seriously though, your husband is probably an extremely cool and interesting person.

Just a guess. :)

Christine
Reply

Wow! This describes me…settled…and bored. It was great to read..especially right now in my life while my husband and I are considering change in our life! :) After being settled and boring for so long it’s REALLY scary to change. I loved reading this! :)

Katie
Reply

So glad you found me, Christine! It’s never too late to change – just one little thing at a time. Cook something wild for dinner tonight from an exotic cookbook. Thai fish curry? Croque monsieur? Food is the quickest, easiest way to start exploring. :)

Christine
Reply

I wish food was the decision of change in our life right now. BUT! We are thinking of moving back to Germany after 6 years of being back in the States. We were in Germany when my husband was in the Army. He got out and we came back to the States. Now he is considering taking a DOD government job in Germany. After being settled and boring fo 6 years it’s a big scary changing decision! lol! :) Which is why this post hit me so hard! :)

Allison
Reply

Hi Katie,

I only recently found your blog and I love it. I admittedly spends too much time going over your old posts. I find you inspirational, adventurous and so totally right! I love your outlook on life. After all, you only live once.

I can’t wait to read more. :)

Allison

Katie
Reply

Allison, I’m so glad you stopped by, and I LOVE it when people go through my old posts – it reminds me of what I wrote way back when. :) I hope you stick around, and thanks for taking the time to comment! :)

Hapi Smith
Reply

I ended up on this blog after Googling sangria and Jerry Garcia, and still have no idea how it happened. I went on to read it and it was a nice read, very relatable!

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