If there ever were an experience to make you question every life choice you’ve recently made, attempting a cross country move would have to top the charts.
What are all these lurking objects in my closet, and why do I own a single one of them? What electronic device do these cords attach to, and why have they been allowed to breed into a pile of wiry, inseparable snakes? It’s a truly gross feeling, being overwhelmed by stuff. I don’t feel like a particularly indulgent consumer, but then…from whence comes this overpowering number of smallish things?
It’s my own fault. When we moved to Long Beach, I was adamant about needing a second bedroom. “For everyone to visit,” like it was this obvious and inalienable right. It hadn’t sunk in, apparently, that we were going home. When we saw our friends and our families, it would be at the drop of a hat, and when they were tired, they’d just…go back to their own apartments. In a car, not a plane.
But that second bedroom was also a terrible office. The room didn’t get a lot of light, and the IKEA coffee table we inserted as a chair wasn’t very ergonomic (since it was, in fact, just a block of wood). So, it ended up being just…space. Extra room for things to accumulate, because the closed door meant we didn’t have to deal right then. Some of that expanse I’m grateful for: all our coats and scarves from Boston could be bundled away, and there was room for a grown-up vaccuum cleaner. Some of it was less intelligently used: boxes and boxes of wedding memorabilia and poorly filed papers and oh Lord, I am drowning.
We are not good with nostalgia; we already plan where we’ll live in LA after we move back from New York. Keeping things around feels like a weight, and a frustrating one. Committing to this move, throwing ourselves across the country into a new adventure…it necessitates lightness. A spirit for adventure is weighted down by things; stumbling over errant Frisbees and ancient birthday cards scrapes the gleam off the new.
And I obviously see what I’m doing here–preparing myself to love a shoebox by demonizing California space we didn’t need. I don’t care. The movers have come and gone, and yesterday I cleaned up the packing tape rubble, left the keys inside and drove away. It was spitefully gorgeous outside, the ocean audibly crashing and the air heavy with salt. It’s alright. We’ll never get this apartment again, never stand on that deck and look out over an almost Morrocan rooftop jumble with palms shooting up in between. We’ll be standing on a fire escape instead. We’ll smell roasting chestnuts and the iron of bridges and the sweat and perfume of a thousand people who all decided to see what might happen. That tapestry is worth this trade. One hundred times over, I would give up what I’ve built so far to see how the new pieces might fit together.