Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Reflections on The Move

I'm wrapping up the last few bundles, the last few boxes, striping that tape, clean and squeaky, across nearly the last cardboard flaps.  I'm moving.  I've done it before, so many times, and each time, there are   elements that are familiar, similar, to every move, and equally so, there are elements that are completely new.  This move especially is dancing in the borders of foreign places because for the first time, really, I'm moving away from my home.

Moving brings up so many memories and emotions.  The boxes of unnecessary things we keep hidden under beds, in closets, deep in the basement, those things that have no purpose except for the reminder they offer for a time when they did have purpose.  The things that remind us of significant moments in our lives, past, but that come to life so incredibly vividly in the taut, heavy days of a move.  As if watching a movie of one's own life, the many markers are there--cards, toys, photos, awards--stirring up within us rememberances of the many roads we have walked.  Moving is the experience of a lifetime's kaleidoscope of emotions condensed, distilled into the sleepwalk haze of a move's several days.

In the midst of a move, you vow to eradicate all the excess from your life, streamline, shed, slough off, until you are lithe and agile, not weighed down by the heaviness of unnecessary things.  But so much seems unnecessary when it must be moved, and so much becomes necessary in order to make a new place feel like home.  In one hand I pass things along, in the other, I hold on to them tightly.

More than anything, a move is the opportunity to evaluate, to re-calibrate.  By necessity you filter through your things, through the movie of your life and cast off what no longer feeds your future or anchors your past.  At the same time, you grow more closely to the things you must keep, the things which will create for you yet another home, which remind you of where you've been and where you imagine you one day will be.  In this move I let go of furniture, clothing, childhood dolls and books that no longer fit the shape my life has taken.  I marveled over things I'd bought, written or collected, in some ways shocked by the person I used to be that I no longer recognized.  But the things which remain are those which weave the thread from past to future, the dolls I loved that I hope to give to a daughter some day, the table Micael and I made out of maple wood in a rustic Gig Harbor work shed, the photo albums, meticulously crafted, that will remind me of past friends and of unfortunate wardrobes and that I will visit to remind me of where and who I've been.

In the end, a move is much like life itself, yet concentrated, condensed into a few heavy breaths.  We are in a constant process of growth, assessment, self-editing and transformation.  Usually this process happens so gradually we don't feel or see the changes, but a move amplifies and accelerates them, challenging us to place ourselves firmly on the map, literally and figuratively.  I'm on the map.  A bit further South.  And I carry everything with me for shaping a new life.