2.25.2014

New Scents

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.
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  • http://www.betsytransatlantically.blogspot.com/ Betsy Transatlantically

    but wait, do you know for sure that NYC is a short(ish)-term thing? it sounds like California will be your forever home again eventually.

    • http://www.jbound.com/ Julie

      The idea is to be there for 1-2ish years and then come back to LA. Of course, who actually knows what’ll happen….maybe we’ll fall in love and want to stay forever!

  • Jackie

    I will always love your writing: “One hundred times over, I would give up what I’ve built so far to see how the new pieces might fit together”

    Yes.

    • http://www.jbound.com/ Julie

      Thanks, Jackie. I think you’ve done a lot of the same thing! So you understand.

      • Jackie

        I do. I get it all.

  • meganflynn

    It’s totally scary and makes me crazy sometimes, but so worth it, right? And yeah, where the hell do we get all of this stuff? And A+ to “the sweat and perfume of a thousand people who all decided to see what might happen.”

    • http://www.jbound.com/ Julie

      Yes! Crazy and scary and all of the emotions, I have them on lockdown. And I am saying pre-emptively that it IS worth it. Might be saying something different in a few days when my cells all freeze.

  • http://www.theeightytwenty.com The Eighty Twenty

    I just love this whole thing: 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.

    • http://www.jbound.com/ Julie

      <3

  • http://syddavis.blogspot.com/ Sydney Davis

    wow. well done, you. Very well written and so brave to do the move and still let yourself feel sad about it. Props.

    • http://www.jbound.com Juleson

      Thanks, Sydney. We’re here now and I certainly don’t feel brave…more overwhelmed. But it’s exciting at the same time.

    • http://www.jbound.com/ Julie

      Aw, thanks Sydney! I’m not feeling too brave, but it’s full speed ahead anyway!

  • Lindsay Felix

    I am amazed by this writing. I was adament that we needed a second bedroom “for guests” too.. we’ve had two and it’s been 5 months. I get anxiety seeing places of storage fill up.. knowing that it was once empty and felt so clean and new. We are also not good with nostalgia, my brain quickly moves to the next thing and so does Matt’s. I need to step back every now and then.. I’m excited to read through your big change/move here. Good luck!

    • http://www.jbound.com/ Julie

      Thanks, Lindsay! You’re too sweet. Glad to know I’m not alone in my phobia of extra things creepin’ on my space.

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  • http://www.nearandfarmontana.com/ Jenn@NearandFarMontana

    M and I have both made cross-country moves, independent of each other and accumulated a lot of stuff. Now that we’re in what we call our “forever home” and what would be a place for it to live, I don’t want it. I know exactly what you mean about feeling overwhelmed by things and I hate it. That feeling has sent me into fits of closet purging and cleaning and just decluttering. The satisfaction from that is immense. Excited for your move and the new adventure! You’ve got this!

    • http://www.jbound.com/ Julie

      Thanks, Jenn! Yeah, the closet purging is the ultimate….feels SO good. Our stuff arrives in the city on Friday, so I guess we’ll see then how we did!

  • http://www.sarainlepetitvillage.com/ Sara Louise

    Seeing how all the new pieces fit together is what life is really about I guess. It’s a good think I like jigsaws ;)

    • http://www.jbound.com/ Julie

      Can’t wait to hear more about your relocation, dude! I loved the culture shock of seeing a place with “My Life” eyes rather than “vacation” eyes…it seems like no difference at all in theory, and then it’s REAL real. haha.

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