Anyone who has ever moved knows that. It doesn’t matter if you are moving just down the street or a world away, packing up your memories and deciding how much sentimental value something needs to have before you pack it up in that box and add it to the pile of things going in a truck is not fun. Sure, afterwards everyone says “I didn’t realize how much stuff I had and could get rid of!” We all accumulate more things then we could ever use, but that’s not what I mean by tossing out certain things you really had to think about.
I have moved a total of five times. That’s not a lot by most people’s standards at all so I don’t claim to be a know-it-all when it comes to packing or moving. I never moved as a kid, I was lucky enough to stay in the same house growing up. All of my moving experiences came around college moving from dorms to apartments to eventually a condo where I stayed for many years with my husband.
I loved that condo. I built a life in that condo. I got pets for that condo. I made a tile patio for that condo. And then we moved away from that condo.
A job opportunity took me and my husband to New Orleans. We went from moving a couple of miles down the road for new apartments around our old college dorm rooms to moving our life half a country away and it sucked.
I had a lot of clothes. Shirts and the like I didn’t even wear anymore. But they were shirts and items that my mom had gotten for me when she traveled to far off and exotic places. They were shirts my husband got me before we were married and trying to make the long distance relationship work. They were shoes I wore when he asked me to marry him. I looked at these things and had to decide “Is it worth bringing?” knowing full well the new house didn’t have the closet space of the condo.
I left the shoes behind. I left most of the shirts too. Their sentimental value was not great enough for me to take and I felt horrible about it.
These are just things, material items made in factories for mass sale. They are not unique. They are not special. But my memories that I associated them with were. I still have those memories even with the shoes having been donated. But it still hurt at the time to let them go.
I am a sentimental animal. I cling to things that make no sense to others but to me… to me there is a spark of a memory that lingers on these items that make me smile to hold on to. But when you move, those are the things that get left behind as junk. Those are the spring cleaning items you toss when you start accumulating too much stuff. For some people, those are easy things to get rid of. Boom, done. And that’s awesome for them and probably makes their life easier. I have a hard time with it.
Arguably, there are worse things about moving then packing and unpacking. Those take a while and are frustrating because you can barely live and function in your new or old home until the boxes get moved one way or another. Most people would say that the hardest part about moving is the physical move itself, and they are right, that process didn’t help.
Driving away from a place you stayed at your whole childhood and watching it get smaller and smaller in your review mirror until it disappears behind the horizon completely is heartbreaking. But modern technology makes it really easy to stay in touch with everyone, regardless of time zones. Moving was a lot worse ten years ago is all I’m saying.
And traveling with pets sucks too.
How much easier it would have been had we flown to New Orleans rather than drive four days across country with two disgruntled cats and one confused dog. But it was easier for the animals not to get stuffed into a planes cargo hold.
The cats turned into infants at night, crying to be held and cuddled because they didn’t know what was going on. And I got up ever so often and cuddled those cats and reassured them that things would be fine. It may have been more for my benefit than theirs but they weren’t crying either so I call that a win-win.
It would have been cute if the lack of sleep didn’t drive me to tears. If this is what waits for me at the start of parenthood I’m content to put that of for a while longer, thanks.
All of this was hard. Leaving my family and friends behind, limiting the amount of sentimental items that got to stay in my life, creating a new home somewhere else… All of this took an emotional toll. I am still numb from it all.
I miss my family and my friends. I miss my condo and it hurts to watch it become someone else’s home. But I am so terribly numb to it that I am just waiting to wake up one day and realize “Hey, I am almost 2,000 miles from home. I bought a house. My dog has a backyard now. I can’t go and visit my parents or my friends whenever I want. I miss home.” I am waiting for all those things to hit me like Dorothy’s house falling out of the Twister (yes, I am a wicked Witch in this example). But it hasn’t yet.
I moved a month ago. There are still a few boxes that haven’t been unpacked yet because they are deemed not essential for the moment. I still get mad when I realize some random item was donated rather than here in the new house with me. I get frustrated that the new house is still in need of repairs before it finally becomes the home my condo was. But I have yet to get sad and depressed the way I think I should be.
Maybe that shoe will never drop. Maybe I am much more resilient then I give myself credit for. But I think having that catharsis of just letting all those feelings out in a torrential cry fest may be healthy for me at this point.
Moving sucked. I’m waiting for my mind, heart, and body to come to terms with that. Until then, I have a bunch of packing boxes in case anyone needs them. Just saying.