Quite a few things happened to me over the 7ish years I was jumping houses…
Think I lived in about 25 houses in that window. Every 3-6 months I’d move somewhere else. Another sharehouse in some other suburb… Australia has a website, called Gumtree, which was where I found a lot of my houses. As most required no lease agreement so you were free to come and go as you pleased. Sometimes I lived with friends and we got a place together for a while, or sometimes I was in university housing, but mostly, I was in sharehouses off-lease.
This lifestyle, you can imagine, isn’t too grandiose. Whilst freeing and nice, you tend to just be happy that you have found somewhere to take you in an area different to your own. Alongside that you feel a little guilty knowing that they are letting you in and that you are likely to leave in only a few months :P. So you tend to take mostly anything, and not get too comfortable in the houses. I tried to learn about where I was. Go to new shopping centers, walk around the suburb, “smell the roses” and take it in. Work out what’s nice about it, what you would tell people about it’s positives… then kind of just move on. Learn about how each bedroom makes you feel… what size do you require, what colour, how many possessions makes it feel full, what utility items do you want in it, etc.
That was how I lived in my late teens and early twenties. Part time, temporary or full time jobs here and there throughout. I was doing a university degree online, so as long as I could get internet, my main need was met to continue my lifestyle.
Two really big things I learnt were about…
When I travelled, I was given something that I think is hard to acquire normally. An “excuse” to be evasive. You know when your mates want you to hang out, and you just don’t really feel like it? They know, and think your an arsewhole if you don’t just go with them because you have no real excuse to not. Family can be the same also. That you are, “just obligated”. Whilst this isnt fundamentally bad, has its pros and its cons. For me… I was able to test something because I had a form of ‘accepted’ excuse to be evasive. But really, it was no excuse at all. As this was a chosen lifestyle somewhat… I just… felt this was something I could do so I did.
This was a part of a breakdown of an immediate social circle. Lots of friendships became unneccessary to keep up… intimate friends became the equivalent of social media friends… because I was “too far to show up to things”. Or was able to use that excuse, even though fundamentally, I could have driven if I wanted to enough. I just… was able to not, and able to test how this affected me as an individual.
Without friends in your immediate circle, you learn a few things. I did some research later to figure out what the rest of the world called it, as I called it my own little term and way of describing it (12 in/12 out). Societally it’s referred to as Dunbar’s Number (video, reddit, wikipedia), and is the concept that you can only have x amount of friends as a human. Your brain manages x amount of people, and thats all. I started to experience this as people came in and out of my life. When I would move to a new area, sometimes I would get a whole new group of friends, and tried to work out what this was causing. I would lose a close female ‘side kick’ and then suddenly accrue one whom was quite similar to the last. At least in how they reacted to me and general interaction. Like a company, strangely the role would get instantly filled with a new person if I put myself in an environment where I could meet people. It was very interesting to voyeur, because there is a sense of detachment if you think something is temporary. Sometimes you connect more, sometimes less, but overall… you get used to leaving and it becomes easier. You still retain the ability to make friends, but there is a part of you that accepts losing them before you even have acquired the friendship. As it happened over and over, there is a sense of security in knowing the world will always give you what you need. That individuals, whilst amazing, have similarities with each other and your needs can be met by a huge portion of the species. You will always get fed with your needs, if you are meant to have it fed, the world has unlimited supply of your needs.
With every group of people, you also start to also see characteristics within yourself emerging. Similar things you seem to do with people, that you struggle to notice without comparisons. What you see is… who you are, and whom you are expected to be by the Other [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Other_(philosophy)].
Take the example of my sex drive. For quite a few years, I wondered whether my high sex drive was aggrivated and enhanced by males wanting to sleep with me. Rather than an innate biological system I attributed to native Self [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Self]. I’d lose all those fuck buddy connections, and after a few years my sex drive remained high. I got to a point where I was comfortably masturbating once a day, not having sex, and realising that it was what I required. Rather than anything to do with the Other. It was a nice realisation, that I didn’t have to thank or challenge anyone else in my environment for that part of me. After people whom wanted me, had long forgotten about me, or I was too far away for them to bother to think about acquiring rather than aiming for women much closer. I still desired as much as I desired. Still daydreamed, still ached all the time if I was cruel to my body. Was nice to know was my positive/negative.
I started to notice that some negative situations with other people would reoccur and I learnt… over a long while… that I was chosing wrong. A lot of my social circle errors were caused by not knowing the difference between a friend for me and someone who wanted to be my friend. Learning about codependence and individual requirements for what I called a friend, created a massive ripple affect in my environment. I can be friendly to everyone, but I no longer consider everyone I am friendly to, a friend. That was not something I knew before. I just had “hundreds of friends”, because i considered internally that friendliness = friend. I didn’t realise my characteristic could be both a positive and negative. Was nice to gain that power, to being able to see the difference.
A shock to me overall, was actually having my body crave friendships. I didn’t know I required that, and it came as a big psychological blow to my sense of Self. Knowing that I required other people, no specific people in particular, just to have some form of close social interaction to feel healthy… that my body demanded it. Felt extremely threatening… but that’s a much longer discussion for another day :P.
Worth of possessions
When you move a lot, you suddenly notice how much stuff you may have accrued over your life :P. When you move more and more, and in a short period of time, you start to really look at what you have and realise “what is required”.
An example may be a kettle. You buy a cheap kettle, and then when you move you can just buy it again, as its generally such a cheap item. You don’t have to keep bringing it with you if its easy to reacquire. So you start to look at your items differently. What is an item, key point here, “worth” to me. What actually has worth. Maybe it IS the kettle, as I really like tea and have grown familiar to this one specifically. Or maybe I don’t care at all cause I can just buy an identical one in the new area. What do these items I keep with me, really mean to me. Are they important… if yes, why. If no, should I keep them anyway. Fascinating concepts… if you can detach a little to look at them without just wanting to, “keep all your shit cause it’s #yours”.
Some part of my mental thought developed into realising that fundamentally I was using external things to represent the Self. Which surprised me, as I’d never really considered that other things had a specific use. Similar to friends, I assumed they were just things I accrued because of need and want. As a secondary thing it actually seems to be a requirement: to “show” myself in the external, which I thought was just fluff. But, inherantly, my internal Self seemed to want to be represented externally. Think of the comparison to how we choose friends whom are like “us”. I realised I also needed items that were representative in the same way. It was a native unconscious thing, that I realised was pointless to fight. As it appeared biological and innate. Ie, humans look for themselves in things. Innately, when you watch a movie you project (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psychological_projection) into characters you feel like. When you look at an ad on tv you instinctively feel if it’s “aimed at your demographic”, etc. What you are or choose to be can be argued to be environmental, biological, evolutionary, taught or learned behaviour, etc. But, what you feel like you are is something that you feel you are, thats what matters in that moment. Whats important to you… what parts of you that you want to express externally.
Some form of understanding I now live my life by, is that, a singular thing has so much more worth than something you have decided has worth to others. Because the Other changes their mind, and can leave. You cannot. A little orange cow bank I have, or a little magic adorned wooden moose, may have more actual NEED for me than my oven or bed. Because I can sleep on the floor, or cook on the stove. These things are important to me, the bed and oven, and I respect them for that. But they may not be a representation of me. Whereas someone who took years to find a perfect bed, or spends hours using the oven a day, might find these example items an external representation of themselves. Whereas my orange cow and magic moose might have very specific external representations for me.
Similar to fight club, “the things you have, end up owning you.” In this sense, I realised, that the things I have, actually are me. They are what I’m choosing to be in the external. And that I can choose what I can be in external representation. In a similar way that you want a certain kind of haircut that makes you look edgy, or don’t want a jumper because its design is for the wrong generation.
Everything you have, you acquire for a reason. But not everything, is meant to actually be you. But all your things, can actually be you, if you choose correctly and look hard for yourself in your external world.
Excellent question Bartgeist, and hard as fuck ;). Made me sit hard and think about what would be best to express on the specific topic… what indeed, would be the answer to the major issues you internally gleamed in a ten year period :). As humans we change so much, but these are the two things I felt travelling actually helped me to understand. Without the travelling, I feel it would have hindered that knowledge because it gave me environments I would be hard to make myself.
Question by Bartgeist