As of this Lettitor’s writing, I’m in the process of moving.
For those of you who’ve never experienced this before, just you wait. It’s the most frustrating, agonizing thing you’ll have to do (multiple times) in your life, and it happens all the more frequently when you’re young, your jobs are temporary, and transferring for school is almost expected. I think I summed it up best for my classmate last week: “I hate moving. At least with death, you only have to die once.”
I have no idea how some people manage moving several times a year, a nomadic lifestyle that seems impossible by my standards. It’s not that I have a ton of possessions or even care about half of my stuff; it’s that I like them and would prefer to retain them.
In the last five years, I’ve moved four times. A frightening ratio to see written out in front of me, but it’s not all bad. By this point, each move has seemed to follow a similar pattern, consisting of five stages.
1) Discontentment: The place you once saw as “perfect” suddenly starts sprouting flaws. Yeah, I guess it is kind of far from where you work/go to school, and you know what, you wish you lived closer to where your friends lived. This stage is usually brought on by knowing someone else who’s decided to move, or by a menial increase in rent. Sure, it’s only going up by $25 a month—and you’ll end up spending several hundred dollars with moving costs and things for your new place—but it’s the principle!
2) Excitement: A fleeting period, typically leading up to you giving your landlord your official notice. Once the paperwork’s a go, you start to realize how fun this is going to be. A new place, a new you, a new everything. Moving’s the best!
3) Fear: What were you thinking? There’s so much involved with moving, it’s a wonder anyone does it. You have to book a moving truck, find a way to subtly recruit your friends into spending their day off helping you move your shit, locate a bajillion boxes, and proceed to fill said boxes with things you haven’t even touched since the last time you moved. Worse than any of it though, you have to find a new place to live. It seems like everyone you know with a great place found it while browsing Craigslist but whenever you check it out, each posting is either a) too expensive b) too shady c) too crappy, or d) all of the above. Why does it seem no one on Craigslist can write an ad that doesn’t sound like they want to murder you? And you know you should check bedbugregistry.com whenever you find a place you like, but chances are the map is going to light up like a Christmas tree with infestations.
4) Stress: You couldn’t have picked a worse time to move. You probably have a major essay or research paper coming up that you put off for too long, or maybe something’s coming up with work that’s going to need your undivided attention. Moving involves more than just taking your stuff from one place and putting it in another place. Everything starts to look disposable if you’ve been packing for long enough and the once-difficult decision over what to keep and what to chuck quickly devolves into a game of how much stuff can this garbage bag hold. It’s a commonly known fact that someone in the midst of a move is the most frustrated person in the world—and no one could ever possibly relate or understand.
5) Relief: You never thought you’d feel relaxed again. You’re aching from moving possessions all day, your new place is full of unopened boxes, and you’d take a shower but you don’t even know where the towels are packed away. Your new place looks like an organizational bomb went off and left no survivors, but it also starts to look like something else: your home. You don’t see a window without blinds but rather a future trip to IKEA to buy new furnishings. You notice a restaurant nearby that you didn’t realize you now live only a couple blocks away from. As the boxes begin to empty and the rooms come together, the place starts to really feel like somewhere you could call home. At least, until the year-lease is up.