Does anyone actually like moving? I mean the future may be so bright you gotta wear shades, but the present? The packing – the stuff, the boxes?
I keep thinking one day I’ll get it right. I’ll have just the right amount of stuff. Only things that I need, that I use, that Spark Joy, like Marie Kondo’s guide to simplifying. Hmm. Maybe a good starting point for that would be reading her book, huh?
I start packing and am immediately overwhelmed. And this is after purging considerably to leave my rambling home of thirty years last fall. Glasses that don’t match. Too many glasses. I mean, my husband B and I entertain, but seriously. How many sets of how many various types of glasses do we need? And platters? And vases? (Every time I see a vase now I recall how my minimalist friend once said, “I don’t know what to do! I have a vase now.”)
And there’s the Belleek fine china that Mom bought for $4 at a garage sale. I inherited it because of the shamrock pattern – my late husband and I were married on St. Paddy’s Day. So, Mom and Hugh are both gone and here I am, weirdly, in the present without them, thinking about the old times and the old anniversary and there’s Mom’s familiar handwriting on MADD Canada notepaper, “It is worth $80 /to $100 now (May 30/2001). It is fragile.” Hell ya it’s fragile! You can see through it. I’m afraid to use it! But here it is, demanding I pack it carefully, move it. Does it spark joy? It sparks so many emotions, I’d have to stop moving for a while, get out my notebook, unleash a pile of words on a page.
Speaking of unleashing a pile of words on a page, what about that classic War and Peace? I’m a writer, right? I should read it. I bought it thinking I would. I read the intro. My daughter Randelle told me about travelling in southeast Asia with a friend who lugged the tome around, read the entire thing, then later, if someone were to mention War and Peace in their travels, this friend was able to recall great chunks of the novel, in detail. I can’t remember what I read last week. So this is another thing moving does. It makes you face a harsh reality. Truths about yourself you’d rather keep running from. I don’t read that fast, I don’t have a photographic memory and I have trouble with historical language and complicated plots and ideas. I mean, I like the idea of peace, but war? If B and I watch a war movie? For sure, he has to explain everything that’s going on to me and we miss most of the movie. War and Peace went in the Goodwill pile.
With moving there’s different approaches, right? In this, you might not (probably won’t) be in sync with your roomies, or family, or partner. B is out in the world every day, with only a few hours at night to pack, so he’s hyper-vigilant and super-organized. (He’s moved so many times he keeps boxes things come in, the inner packing material.) Moving date is a couple of weeks away and he’s got those dusty boxes out and he’s putting in his hour each night and I become an anger ball. I work from home, so would prefer to keep the space as is as long as possible. (Maybe I’m a procrastinator?) Once the boxes start piling up it’s over right? Home? Gone! Maybe I don’t like endings?
And, if moving once isn’t bad enough, we’re moving twice. Stage one: the storage container. B and I have been living in a condo downtown for the last nine months – long enough to make a baby (not ours!) and renovate a house (ours!). We haven’t seen the contents of the storage unit all of this time, NOR HAVE WE missed any of these items. Yet, FOR SURE, when we are reunited with ALL OF THIS STUFF on Saturday we will feel we can’t live without it. Hmm. Maybe I’m a hoarder? Maybe I’m too sentimental?
B did allow us time off the other night to watch a movie, among the boxes, and we picked 20th Century Women. When explaining his mom (played by Annette Benning) to people, Jamie would say, “She’s from the Depression.” Well, both of my parents were from the Depression. I haven’t moved much as an adult – just three times – the same number of times I moved as a child, which was a lot because they were all by age 10. Perhaps because she had to move so much, with children, my mom wasn’t a hoarder. She made sure our houses were properly painted before we moved in, that we had new drapes (paid for by the bank), but there was never anything showy or fancy-schmancy about our homes. Practical is a descriptor that comes to mind. You’d use things until they broke, then Dad would fix them and you’d use them some more.
I think this is what my parents would say to me: “It’s not about the stuff. It’s about life.”