Tuesday, 30 August 2016

Moving and How I Suck at It and How It Evokes Feelings

The movers are coming tomorrow at 2:30 pm, which is approximately 19 hours from now. I'm sitting on my couch enjoying a second gin & tonic. This is an improvement from earlier today, when I was in the fetal position.

My apartment is in chaos. I still need to pack up my closet, pots and pans, and various other horrors that are lurking in dark corners, exactly where I left them when I first moved here 2.5 years ago. Things like a hard copy of my dreadful masters thesis, a collection of hideous drawings I made in the third grade, and old car insurance paperwork. Does anyone else have untouched boxes of stuff they never look at except when moving? Why do I keep dragging these things from one apartment to the next? I don't know but the thought of throwing them out is more stressful than bringing them along again, so here we are.

I suck at moving. I really shouldn't. This will be my seventh move in almost as many years, and yet...

Ok, now it is tomorrow, and somehow it all got done. Miraculously, I finished packing everything TWO FULL HOURS before the movers came (waking up at 5 am was definitely helpful).

By the way, can I just say how stressful it is to hire movers? There are so many companies to choose from, and horror stories abound on every company's Yelp page. Somehow I landed with "Two Marines Moving," and thus far it seems I made the right choice (I'll know for sure once my belongings are safely delivered in Milwaukee this weekend). These guys lovingly swaddled every piece of furniture I own in blankets and then plastic wrap and tape—from the $50 Ikea bookcase to the heirloom room divider from Italy I inherited from my grandparents. They were efficient and careful, and they kept sassing each other throughout the process, which was entertaining.

When it was all done and my apartment was empty, I suddenly had a bout of nostalgia that caught me off guard. Something about seeing the apartment totally empty, just as it was when I first moved in, made me very reflective and sentimental.

empty apartment!

It's not that I am sad to leave DC...I've enjoyed my time here, on the whole, but it's not a place I ever came to feel strongly about, in a good or bad way. DC is fine...that's all I can really say about it, it's just fine. Ok, I could actually say more, like how boring it is to be asked "So what do you do??" by almost every person you meet, two seconds after you met them, or to participate in conversations that focus on how much money people have saved and how they're investing it. It's just a very status-oriented city. Don't get me wrong, I speak in generalizations rather than specifics. I've made a few wonderful friends here and will miss living near those people. But the general vibe of DC is just kind of impersonal and lacking character, or at least that has been my experience. To be fair, it probably didn't help that I spent most evenings on the couch with my cats and wine, rather than trying to meet new people. Alas.

So, my sudden somber mood did not stem from regret about leaving. Seeing the empty apartment reminded me of my mindset and emotional state when I first moved into this apartment in January 2014. That was a dark time in my life. Taking the job that brought me to DC was a huge risk. It was scary to make a career change, and to uproot my life for it. But it was absolutely the correct choice! I shudder to think what my life would look like now if I hadn't done it.

Ok, allow me to get mushy and self-congratulatory for a second. To me, this apartment symbolizes my courage and independence. Rather than accepting my life as it was—which was pretty bleak in 2013/14—I took a risk and made the active choice to change things up. In doing so, I was lucky to have the full support and love of my family, which made it so much easier, but it was still scary. When I moved to DC, I learned something really important about myself: that I have the strength to be an active agent in my own life, rather than sitting back passively and letting things play out as they will. This has given me so much confidence.

Active agents

You're probably thinking get over it lady, you relocated for a job, welcome to being a human in America. And...true. Yet. I don't know. I just feel content and at peace. In the future, I know that whenever I think about this apartment that I lived in for almost three years, I will think of it with happiness. Good things happened here. Including Steve! (Although he technically "happened" in Atlanta, but that's another story.)

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