I haven’t lived in the same place for more than 2 years since I moved out of my mom’s house when I was 17. Actually, that’s not entirely true. I lived in the same apartment in DC for all three years of law school. I was studying too much to move.
But since then, I’ve moved just about every year, or two at most.
I never intended it to be this way. I had no idea I was a gypsy.
Looking back, though, I can see it’s true.
Next month, we move again. This time into a house I’d like to stay in for at least 5 years.
I say that every time.
It hasn’t happened yet. I’m hopeful, though, that this one will stick. I just invested in a big, fancy dining room table, thinking that maybe if I have a big, fancy table, we’ll be there longer.
I’ve thought that before. But the reasons to move were always more important than the furniture.
After law school, we moved to Miami for a year so I could clerk for a Judge. We knew that would be temporary, so we got a condo on the beach where I could give birth and my baby’s daddy would have access to the beach and Lincoln Road.
Then, we moved to Los Angeles. Rented a place in mid-LA with the Hassidic Jews for neighbors because it was affordable and the commute downtown wouldn’t be too bad while we figured out where we wanted to live.
Baby daddy was a surfer, so he dragged me down to Manhattan Beach one weekend, just to see. I was sure it was too far from downtown, but as soon as I saw it, I was hooked.
We bought an 850 square foot little blue house on the corner of Robinson and Green in North Redondo. It turns out a mile and a half from the beach is too far. And when I got pregnant with our second, 850 square feet was going to be too small.
Using all of my best, newly acquired skills of manifestation (thanks Jan Stringer & Alan Hickman), I manifested the perfect house on the walk streets of Hermosa Beach. 3 bedrooms, wood floors, and a washer/dryer.
We rented out the house in North Redondo and moved to the actual beach. I thought I would live there forever.
A year later, we were getting divorced. He wouldn’t leave. So I did.
I rented a teeny, tiny two bedroom two streets over so we’d be close. Plus, I was hooked on the walk streets and didn’t want to leave.
I found an ad on Craiglist for bookshelves and when I got to the gal’s house to buy them, it turned out she was selling everything I needed for my new single mom’s bachelorette pad.
I knew I wouldn’t be there long. It was on the alley and way too small, but it was perfect for the transition from married mom to single mom discovering herself as an adult woman for the first time ever.
I was there a little more than a year when my landlords decided to sell the place. I was in a new relationship, making great money and decided it was time to go big.
So we moved up the hill a 1/2 mile into a big 4 bedroom with room for a massive trampoline in the back. The rent was insanely expensive, but my boyfriend was going to split it with me.
Turns out he wasn’t really an actor, but a porn addict who would occasionally go on auditions. I ended up shouldering all the rent for that place myself. And I longed to get back to the walk street.
A year later, friends of mine down by the beach gave me a tip that the man in the house next to them had died and his son’s might be willing to rent the place to me (and I could even buy it when the time was right), so I ditched the trampoline and moved back down to the walk street.
It was my dream house. It hadn’t been touched since 1955 and the man living there for the last ten years had alzheimer’s (the bedroom smelled like urine), but it was perfect. I put $30,000 into it to fix it up, certain I’d be there forever.
Eighteen months in, I had my “third-level awakening” and knew it was time to leave LA. That, and when I went to speak at Martha Hartney’s Denver law school class, we saw a 3800 square foot house, on a lake, two houses down from her at the end of a cul-de-sac and the rent was half what I was paying in LA, I decided it was time to go.
Packed up two U-Hauls, Corey, Anna, my kids, my ex-husband, my boyfriend at the time, Dave, our two cats, dog, snake and off we went to Colorado in my fancy Mercedes.
I was the Queen of the hill.
Most expensive house and car in the neighborhood.
It never felt quite right.
Something was off.
I seriously considered buying that house and locking myself in to life in suburbia (because isn’t that what I was working my ass of for?), but bought the farm (New Earth Farm Project) instead, never intending to live there. It was intended to be a business for my ex-husband and then, after that didn’t pan out, a community space for new economy exploration. Spirit had other plans for me though.
Just shy of living there for two years, I gave up the house, the Mercedes and most of the stuff I had toted to Colorado in the two U-Hauls and moved to the Farm. Reluctantly. Full of fear. Through lots of tears.
But I had to sort out what it was that didn’t feel right. And something told me that I wouldn’t figure it out unless I gave up every single “trapping” of success and surrendered to that which I could never have otherwise imagined.
Truth be told, it wasn’t “something” that told me. It was Craig. He insisted it was where I would find my salvation. I hated him for it. And loved him for it.
The kids and I moved to the farm.
A 2 bedroom farmhouse on 2-acres with a partially finished basement. No housekeeper, no personal assistant, no one to cook for us, no paid support at all. And no xBox for distraction.
For the first time ever, I learned to care for myself. I cooked dinner, did laundry, and stopped working at 5p. I entered into an investigation of what I really wanted my life to look like when money wasn’t an issue. My expenses were lower than they’d ever been before. I could no longer hide behind my work.
I found myself.
One night, Craig said to me, “Ali, make sure you really feel what it’s like to be here, and soak it in, because it’s very unlikely you’ll be back in this place again.” So I did.
And I came to love it.
I discovered myself there in that year on the farm.
I faced everything I was most afraid of — being alone, running out of money, taking care of myself and my kids without paying anyone to help me.
But I missed Boulder.
At 45-minutes to an hour away, the farm was just too far.
I wanted Kaia to go to a charter school in Boulder, Noah to make friends, and to bike to yoga, the farmers market and activities at the Integral Center.
One year was enough, it was time to bring my newly integrated self back into a new world.
So we moved to Boulder. I was scared. I had come to love the farm. I was worried I’d get sucked back into my workaholic ways.
We’ve been in our condo for a year. 3 bedrooms. My ex-husband, my two kids, Craig when he’s in town and me. It’s a lot of people for a condo without a backyard.
When I rented it, I imagined I’d be here for five years. Just me and the kids. I didn’t imagine their dad would be living here with us. Or Craig.
So quickly we’ve outgrown it. And, it’s taken us this long to grow into it.
I look around this space and my heart cries at the idea of leaving so soon. I like that it’s cozy. We just bought a bunch of plants from Cheri, who is embarking on her own gypsy journey, and I wonder why we waited so long to put plants in this space.
My desk just found the perfect location in front of the fireplace.
And within 30 days, we’ll be leaving.
It’s happened like this every time. Within 30 days of moving day, it all feels like it finally settles in. And then, it’s time to go.
We are moving into a house. On a park. With a backyard. Walking distance to the Integral Center.
It’s not huge, but it’s big enough that we won’t all be in the same room when I’m working, Kaia’s playing her piano, Noah’s gaming, Todd’s in the kitchen and Craig’s making a smoothie or on his computer.
That actually makes me sad. I like that we are all in the same room. And I recognize that we need space too.
And Todd is ready for his own place. And Noah’s ready for his own room. And Craig and I are ready to create our life together.
So, once again, we’ll move.
I’d like to think we’ll be in that house for 5 years. Long enough to get Kaia through high school without moving again. But I know the truth now, I’m a gypsy.
If we stay, it’ll be a minor miracle. Almost certainly, if we do, it will be thanks to the grounding that only a Taurus man (Craig) can bring to my life.
With all this movement, you may be surprised to hear that transition is actually hard for me.
I am anxious. Just like I was this time last year as we prepared to move here. And I know it will all be perfect.
My prayer: this time next year we are preparing for (or have already embarked upon) our summer on the road. We are so settled into our home and not planning to move again so instead we can travel from festival to festival, spreading the message of financial liberation, sovereignty and the new economy.
I’ll very likely be anxious about that too.
But I’m a gypsy and it’s when I’m on the move that I feel most present, most alive and most free, so I’ll remind myself that the anxiety will pass as soon as movement has begun.
I’ll revel in the freedom this life has brought, relaxing into the awareness that the only true stability is within. My job only to be the calm in the midst of the chaos.
Remind me when I forget.