A Moving Experience

2013 began with a move and has ended with a move.

That’s two moves in one year.

I rather hate moving…

Even with my dislike of moving, there was a noticeable difference in mood between these two moves. My January move was filled with excitement. I was looking forward to saving money, because the move was financially beneficial for both me and my room mate. I was looking forward to living with another human being again and seeing how that experience would be. I was looking forward to living in a house again. I was looking forward to having a yard and hosting house concerts. I was even looking forward to doing yard work again, though I’m certain I grumbled a time or two when it actually came time to do it.

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Nikki Talley House Concert

In hindsight, that move turned out to be a really good thing. I didn’t really end up saving any money, because it got diverted to other things (e.g. Netherlands trip, vet bills). But at least I was able to pay for those things without going deeper into debt.

My room mate and I also got along quite well. I feared that she and I would fight all of the time about everything. Or, alternatively, that we would never address problems as they came up, and we would have sporadic, blow-out fights (i.e. similar to what occurred in my marriage and while I was growing up). Of course we had disagreements, but they were few and we worked through them. This was a huge reassurance about my ability to co-habitate with another human being: something I would rather like to do in a romantic capacity with the right person.

I also enjoyed the yard. I really liked watching the different flowers bloom throughout the seasons. I liked being able to let Willow out without a leash to putter and do what she does. I enjoyed eating on the porch or drinking coffee at the table in the back yard when the weather wasn’t too hot.

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Cactus flower growing on a tree in the back yard

My December move has been different. A few months back my room mate expressed that once our lease was up at the end of December that she wanted to live on her own. I certainly respected her wishes. For me, living on my own allowed for a great deal of personal growth that I know I wouldn’t have experienced any other way. I certainly didn’t want to keep anyone else from that.

Even though I understood where she was coming from, her announcement shocked me. I had just moved in at the end of January, and I expected that I would be living here for more than a year. All of this brought up some complicated emotions. Leaving a place that I wanted to be felt a little too similar to moving to my apartment in Jacksonville when my ex- and I separated. I had really liked my house in Jacksonville. It was home, and leaving it behind was one of the harder things I’ve had to do… Though the circumstances were definitely better this time, I  felt like I was doing it all over again.

In addition to leaving “home” behind, I had other good-byes to say. I left behind my “stray” Black Kitty. I moved her from my old apartment, and it took her a long time to adjust to the other neighborhood cats. I thought it was unfair to ask her to readjust to another location, so I left her with my room mate. I know that she’ll be well taken care of, but I’m still sad about leaving her. I’m also missing my room mate’s kitten more than I expected I would. I was pretty ambivalent about him at first, but eventually I bonded with him. Both the kitten and Black Kitty were buddies with Willow, so I feel sad about ending those relationships too. Last but not least,  I had to say good-bye to my room mate. We’re still friends, and we’ll certainly see each other again. But our relationship will change… I’m feeling really sad about all of these good-byes.

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Willow and Black Kitty

Life goes on even through sad times. While dealing with my complicated emotions about the move, I still tried to look at the bright side of life. I had aspirations to find a place with a yard. After striking out time after time, I finally found an apartment complex on the river. I put a deposit down over a month before I was going to move in, just because I didn’t want to think about and deal with finding a place anymore. I didn’t see the actual apartment until hours before I moved in, but I walked through the property a few times to get a feel for it. All I knew was that it was a 400 sq ft studio, and I would have a view of the river.

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View from my new porch

After striking out with finding my ideal apartment, I’ve had a hard time looking at the bright side of life in other ways. Since the divorce my various living situations had lessons to teach me, and it was easy to think about what those lessons were. But with this move, I’ve had a hard time figuring out what lessons I’ll gain from living alone. Again… Haven’t I already learned those lessons?

The logistics of moving into 400 sq ft began to loom as the move-in date approached.

Would all of my belongings fit?

Overcoming the mental hurdle of moving from a large space to a smaller one is an obstacle you won’t want to ignore. Without a doubt, you will have to get rid of stuff, and getting rid of stuff can be much more challenging than loading it on a truck and taking it to a charity drop-off. Some of that stuff I had for years, decades even! The stuff that remained on this move had already been through at least three other moving purges, which means that I had purposefully retained them during my previous moves. I had developed an emotional attachment to the various objects, even if the attachment was slight.

It’s been a week since I moved into my new place. I’m adjusting. I’m nothing if not adaptable, and that’s been supported time and again. I’ve got pictures on the wall, and all of the boxes are unpacked. It’s starting to feel like home. I’m already starting to realize some of the lessons I should pay attention to within these living circumstances.

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My new studio

I’m still sad about the move and the good-byes. I guess good-byes are never easy, even when the good-bye is just change. Dan Millman says the only consistent things in life are: paradox, change, and humor. I guess that’s my first lesson to work on in my new abode: to try to accept that.

So here’s to living daringly in my new, small space.

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