Confessions Of A Domestiphobic: Sometimes I Let People Scare Me.
If there’s one consistent thing I’m learning about life as I get older, it’s that people — myself included — will be very quick to vocalize exactly how (and where, and when, and for what) you should be living.
It’s one of the greatest fallacies in human nature, I think —
The innate talent for blind hypocrisy.
Hypocritical because most of those who are quick to judge and dish out unsolicited advice are those who are least secure about their own life decisions. Or, even worse, they’re so blindly secure in the path they’ve chosen, that they think there’s a one-size-fits-all formula for Life. Like a shirt. Just grab one, throw it on, smooth out the folds, and you’re good to go.
If I don’t like living in the city, then you won’t like living in the city.
If I’m happy with two kids and a dog, then you’ll be happy with two kids and a dog.
If I love to travel and meet new people, then you’ll love to travel and meet new people.
Before we made this tragically close move from North Carolina to Virginia, or The Move That Made Me Want To Slap The Universe, I did a lot of research about where we should live — most of it via online forums like CityData. Like I’ve explained before, Justin’s new base is on this peninsula.
If we split it in half lengthwise along I-64 like a 5 Guys hot dog, we find York County and Poquoson on the top half, Newport News on the bottom half, the city of Hampton down at the tip, and the city of Williamsburg off to the Northwest towards Richmond. So my research, of course, included all of these areas and some across the water like Norfolk, Virginia Beach, and Smithfield.
By the time I meshed the attributes of what we wanted (older home, pretty neighborhood, close to favorite grocery stores, etc.) with the advice dished out on these online forums, I learned:
- We couldn’t live in Hampton because we’d probably get murdered.
- We couldn’t live in Newport News because the traffic is bad, the infrastructure is worse, and we’d probably get murdered.
- We couldn’t live in Poquoson because we weren’t from Poquoson.
- We couldn’t live in Yorktown or Williamsburg because that’s where the good schools are and we wouldn’t be able to afford anything other than cookie cutter new construction.
- We couldn’t live across the water because Justin’s commute would be tedious, partially underwater, and probably make him want to kill himself.
By the time I was done, I wanted to cry for our lost opportunity of moving overseas, and I actually did cry for the fact that I was absolutely going to despise The Peninsula, its commodities, and everyone who lived there.
Even though I hadn’t even been there yet.
Once we moved here, of course, I realized that, hey. Newport News might have some issues when it comes to traffic, aging infrastructure, and a diverse group of people living in a confined space, just like many other cities across the United States, but it also has a whole lot of great attributes. My house is just a short walk from the river front. We live near a college community, which of course has its negatives, but also means this area attracts some great bars and restaurants, the campus is gorgeous, and this is a hot spot for live performance events. Also, when Justin was out-of-town, random campus inhabitants stopped by and shoveled my driveway for free. Everyone I’ve met out in the town has been friendly. Traffic hasn’t been worse than any other small city. Because we’re surrounded by military bases, there’s a huge diversity of ethnic restaurants. And I love, love, love being a few minutes’ drive from Trader Joe’s, Fresh Market, public parks, and a gorgeous City Center.
Most important, though, I learned:
Whether they believe it or not, people are avid cheerleaders for their own life decisions.
That doesn’t mean they apply to you.
This is not to say that these dolers of life wisdom aren’t coming from a good place. On the contrary, they want their advice to be useful. They want you to wake up one day and say, “HEY. Thanks! You were totally right. My life would be wrong if you hadn’t shown me right.” But also, in the cases of those who aren’t so secure, they’re a little scared that if you don’t do it their way, you might figure out a way to do it better.
And that’s when destructive forces start to take over. Insecure feelings. Naysayers. Comparisons. Questioning.
And, if you let them, those forces can ruin your whole experience.
Show me one person who’s one-hundred percent happy and secure with his or her life choices, and I’ll show you the one person who won’t tell you how to live yours.
Because they’ll know.
It’s not one-size-fits-all. It’s try it on, shrink it up, move it around a little to see if it chafes.
Break it in, wear it out, patch it up, and love it lots.
We might only get the one, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be changed until it fits just right.
Are you making any life changes these days? Meeting resistance? How do you deal?