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Tips For Adulthood: Five Signs You’re Not “Settled In”

Every Wednesday I offer tips for adulthood. One British phrase I hear a lot these days is “How are you settling in?” I get it with...

Every Wednesday I offer tips for adulthood.

One British phrase I hear a lot these days is “How are you settling in?”

I get it with respect to my recent move. I also get it with respect to my new job.

And my answer, I fear, is “Not very well.”

Don’t get me wrong. I love our new flat. And while the job has been super-busy, it’s also very interesting and I’m learning a lot and getting terrific experience as a manager.

But “settled in?” Not hardly.

There are lots of reasons for this, but I think the main one is that a lot of the basic things I rely upon to give my life some semblance of order have been absent over the past couple of months. Which has caused me, in turn, to reflect upon what it is- exactly – that furnishes us with a sense of control over our day-to-day existence.

So here’s my list of what throws me off-kilter when it goes missing. I’d love to hear yours:

1. You lose your phone. It’s hard to imagine that there was a time not so long ago when none of us had a cell phone. We do so much on our phones now – from texting to scanning the news to mapping journeys to updating our status on Facebook – that they really have become an all-purpose gadget in the digital age. But  I don’t think you quite realize the degree to which you are dependent on your cell phone until you lose it or it breaks down, as mine did last week. Boy, was that an eye opener. Not only did the temporary phone the store gave me lack about half of my contact list, it was also a very primitive model, so there was no internet access/no weather/no Twitter/no bells and whistles/nothing. If you want to feel disoriented in five seconds flat, try texting someone  on a phone you don’t know how to work. Your text will look like a ransom note and you will suddenly feel like you have lost complete control of your life.

2. Your house is in disarray. Thanks largely to my husband, our move to a new flat this time around was about as smooth as it’s ever been. But as anyone who’s moved house regularly knows, there’s moving in and there’s moving in. We’ve done about 80% of the work now – the furniture is where it’s meant to be and the dishes are on the right shelves. But behind every sofa still lurks a pile of unhung picture frames and if you open any random drawer you are likely to discover a surfeit of random medical supplies. After my last move, I wrote a post about living with mess and coming to “radically accept” that unfinished feeling. But boy it ain’t easy.

3. You’re off social media. Granted, this one isn’t going to be as unsettling for some as it is for others. But if you’re used to being Online several hours a day for several years, to wake up and suddenly find yourself “somewhere else” during the day – in the dreaded “real world” – is profoundly disconcerting. In my case, adjusting to less time in cyber-space has been compounded by a glitch in my Seesmic account, which – for the non-initiated out there – is a fabulous, free software program that enables you to manage things like Facebook and Twitter all in one place. I’m still on Twitter and Facebook, but – as with the lack of my mobile phone –  I feel decidedly handicapped by the transaction costs entailed in using less sophisticated technology to access them. Simply put, I just don’t have all of my usual tools at my disposal.

4. You interrupt your exercise schedule. This is really key. For many of us – even those of us who don’t think of ourselves as particularly sporty – having some sort of exercise routine is a key way that we instill a sense of order and purpose into our weeks. In my own case, I’ve been pretty good for the last several years about running three times a week and doing yoga or Pilates on a fourth day. But since I moved and changed jobs, that’s all gone out the window. I’m still keeping up the running (more or less), but Pilates has virtually disappeared. And I’m feeling the consequences, both physically and mentally. I can’t afford to let this happen. Nor can my back. So until I resume Pilates, I know I’m going to feel off my game.

5. You lack a routine. When I took my new job, I negotiated that I would be part-time for the first two months and full-time thereafter. This decision was largely dictated by my imminent move and also by the fact that we didn’t have any childcare in place at the time. And while this arrangement has helped me manage both of those things, it’s also meant that I haven’t had much of a routine yet at work; some days I’m there a full day, while others I’m there only four or five hours. Some people groove on the lack of routine, but not me. Having no two days alike just makes me feel out of sorts and I actually think I’ll relax more once I’m there full time.


How about you? What kinds of things make you feel like you haven’t “settled in”?


Image: Cell Phone by JonJon2Kate  via Flickr under a Creative Commons license






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  1. Maureen@Vaco-Vitae July 12, 2012 at 1:21 pm #

    Boy, do I hear ya! We, too, just “settled in” to a new home after a couple of years of travel–and a few residential fits and starts. Hubby and I had a conversation about all of these things. In a hurry to get settled, we hurled ourselves into overdrive in the unpacking, furniture-placement, picture-hanging departments. After three weeks, we’re nearly there.

    I just reinstated my exercise routine yesterday.

    The only thing I’d add to your list is finding local haunts and gems to walk to in the new neighborhood.

    • delialloyd July 12, 2012 at 4:13 pm #

      Oh yes, Maureen-good point-though it’s exciting to discover them, without them you feel sort of lost. Thanks for chiming in!

  2. Howard Baldwin July 12, 2012 at 7:40 pm #

    Delia, I worked at a monthly magazine for three years, and every single month, I said, “One of these days, I’m going to get the rhythm of this place.” I never did. I suggest detaching from achieving that outcome.

  3. delialloyd July 12, 2012 at 8:40 pm #

    Ha! Good to hear from you, Howard. I have a feeling that may be me in my new job 3 years in…

  4. Cathy July 13, 2012 at 10:20 pm #

    I recently started a new job (4 months ago – does that still seem recent?). I have almost started to feel settled in. I (mostly) can find the conference rooms for meetings (3 floors all setup like mazes), I automatically turn the right direction after I exit the restroom, and I can make my way from one end of the floor to the other with only partially feeling lost. Once I can automatically find my way to and from conference rooms and know the shortest route from Point A to Point B, then I will definitely feel settled in. Next up – moving houses in ~6 weeks!

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