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i just finished reading the novel Generation X by Douglas Coupland.  yeah, i'm a few years behind the curve with respect to the cultural significance of that particular book, but i enjoyed it none-the-less.

i've lived the last 15 or so years thinking i was a member of what people refer to as "Generation X."  i say that not because i'm a slacker (which i sometimes am) -- not because i have a terminal lack of direction (though i do) -- not because i have failed to make good use of my education (this is true) -- nor because i am hugely cynical (which i am)-- but simply because i thought my birth date put me solidly in Generation X.  now that i've actually read the book i find that according to Coupland -- the Canadian writer who coined the phrase "Generation X" -- i am technically too young to be a Gen X-er.  i am the tip of its fringe at best.

i have to admit i was a little disappointed to find this out.  i thought my early college years, which coincided directly with the birth of grunge and disenfranchised, flannel-shirt-wearing youth were summed up by the phrase Generation X.  alas, i was wrong.  i came along too late on the timeline of pop culture. 

but i read the whole book anyway.  and what i found is that i related closely to most of the things that made the three main characters tick.  i realized that my age is kinda irrelevant.  i think i AM a member of Generation X and further, i think Generation X stretches a lot further than people think.

near the end of the book i came across a phrase i REALLY identified with.  it was "Terminal Wanderlust."  the book defined Terminal Wanderlust as:  "a condition common to people of transient middle-class upbringings.  unable to feel rooted in any one environment, they move continually in the hopes of finding an idealized sense of community in the next location."

and as i read that i realized:  that's what i have.  that is what makes me who i am now.

the latest move i made in search of an idealized community was a few months ago when i made the move from the United States to London, England.  of course i didn't just spin a globe and land my finger on London, but the decision to move came quickly and without much need for consideration.  i knew i was going to move as sure as i knew the sun would rise the next day.  moving was the next stage of the game.

i've moved a lot in my life.  i think by a recent count i've moved 11 times since the age of eight.  at first i was forced to move with family, just a child following divorced parents and step parents around the country.  then i got a bit older and moved as an adolescent to live with a different member of my family by choice, and the stage was set.  moving was as easy as making the bed.  i moved on to live on my own, then i moved again to be in a city i thought i was better suited to.  then i moved again, having changed my mind about what city was right for me, and struck out across the country to what seemed like the most perfect location for the person i was at the time.  while there i lived in five different houses and apartments.  why?  i guess because the city was good to me, but i needed to feed my need for movement and personal upheaval.  now i have moved yet again to suit the person i am now:  married and not employed. 

it seems that making large, difficult moves is my forte.  the tiniest things in life fuck me up completely, but the biggest things of all?  no problem...

do i experience stress and anxiety from such moves?  hell yes.  no doubt.  but that's part of who i am.  i move a lot, i love to move, i hate to move, i hope to move more in the future and i know that whatever move i make next, i will complain and freak out and come close to a nervous breakdown over, but that is part of how i have to live.  the process of life for me is to constantly set-up shop in a new space, whether it is simply moving a few miles across town to a nicer duplex or moving across the Atlantic Ocean to take up residence in another country.

why do i spend my life constantly repeating an action that i know brings unrest and anxiety?  why can't i stop and settle somewhere to avoid these negative experiences? 

i have no idea. 

all i can think of to say is that this is who i am.  i am a product of my upbringing, i am a member of Generation X suffering from terminal wanderlust.  i can't commit to a career, a hairstyle, an employer, a city or even a country.  right now i'm busy trying to commit to a single person for the rest of my life and that's about as much as i can do willingly.

right now i live in a huge city where a car is not required, and i love that fact.  i love that i don't have to own a car for the first time ever.  i love the fact that i don't have to deal with any of the things that go along with having a car, like getting insurance coverage, buying gas, finding parking or worrying about someone dinging my door in a crowded parking lot.  i love not needing this thing that has been a part of my life for so long.  i love the freedom of not needing to own a vehicle.

but, do i love that feeling because it keeps me from putting down extra roots in my new surroundings?  do i love it because it makes me feel that it's even easier to pick up and move elsewhere when i decide i want to?  it would seem rational that not owning a car would make me feel MORE rooted in the place where i am because i can't drive away, but i don't see it that way.  the less i have to worry about, the easier it is to set-up shop in a new, possibly better place when i'm ready.  one less object to move, one less piece of paperwork to handle.

recently my partner and i invested in some "real" furniture.  this is something that i have never done before.  out of all the apartments and homes i have lived in and furnished in my life i have never spent significant money on anything other than a great bed, a big LCD television and some cool artwork.  i have never spent heavily on furniture because furniture is the thing that makes it really hard to move homes. 

now i own a few pieces of Danish Modern furniture that mean something to me.  they are items i love to look at, and i will not be selling them if and when i move to a new city the way i have done in the past with all of my other belongings.  so in a way i HAVE begun to root myself here in London.  i have invested in some things that i am not willing to part with.  things that are too big to check onto an airplane or fit into the trunk of a rental car. 

does this mean i have taken a step toward living in that idealized place i've longed for all my life?

probably not.

it just means that if and when i decide it's time to move again, it will cost a lot more to do it.