Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Moving BootCamp

There’s another phase of life that no one talks about – downsizing from a family home to a smaller couple-sized place. After years of collecting, accumulating, and adding to your possessions, you have to wean yourself away from them, or at least a good portion. Some things must fall by the wayside, that’s part of the ritual.

Storage for the pieces that the family wants but can’t use right now will cost depending on how much you have and how much space you need. Allow for some items to go missing, as this seems to happen no matter how well you plan. The local Value Village will take many donated items in good condition, orphaned only because their technology or style has its roots a few decades back. As a last resort, the city waste depot will process those things no one wants, but charges by the load for the privilege. It’s a purifying experience. Sentimentality gets overridden by the ‘discard frenzy’, a little known side effect of too much packing.

After the repetitive and endless work of boxing, comes the actual day when all your worldly items must change location. Moving is a torturous exercise designed to imprint in our minds why we shouldn’t do it too often. Moving day starts early and ends late, with few breaks in between. We bid a silent farewell to the old place, imprinting those familiar reminders -- the flowers and vines we planted, the noisy children’s parties, and summer evenings spent on the deck.

At the new home, evaluation of use must once again be reviewed. What must be kept and what is no longer needed? What are the rules of this new place, what do we need to know? All your personal information must be changed, providing a new list of challenges. Where is this municipal place? How do I get this changed? How do I get there? Why doesn’t my (fill in the blank -- TV, internet connection) work? All the logistics have changed. You eventually get maps, call repair people and figure it out. You start to explore your new location.

Throughout life we go through many changes, some we choose for ourselves, some are forced upon us. Societies and their traditions also change as time progresses. Where once a house was inherited from one’s parents, that isn’t always the case now. That leaves us with our belongings which can make any place our own. Like George Carlin said in a spoof about ‘stuff’, ‘this is my stuff, man, don’t touch my stuff’. He must have meant those fragments of our world that we keep close to ourselves, the ones that we take pleasure in touching, or the ones that remind us of a friend or a great vacation. Our stuff. And don’t you touch it.

Could we perhaps have virtual moving in the future and beam everything over? I’d like that.