Friday, February 6, 2009

Movin Out

I'm moving six blocks away in two weeks, so I spent the entirety of today packing up my apartment and sorting through all my things.

I have lived in my current apartment for three years and two things have become abundantly clear to me: you can accumulate a LOT of stuff in three years and you can own too many shoes.

I think it's natural human instinct to become introspective when you're sorting through your belongings. And I suppose it's natural that packing all of your things away into boxes and moving out of a home can make you feel sad.

I spent a lot of my life packing boxes and leaving homes. I think the longest stretch I ever went without moving my entire life was five years in New Jersey when I was eight to twelve. Otherwise, almost every year involved the endless ritual of packing, unpacking, acclamating myself to a new environment, etc, etc. Just the thought of it now makes me exhausted. It probably wouldn't take a psychiatrist to figure out that this is why I am filled with stress and dread at just the thought of having to move apartments.

There's of course another downside: it also forces you to confront the things that you had hidden away to deal with at another time.

I shared this apartment with a boyfriend years ago, and spent a great deal of time making sure that nothing he had ever touched or owned was on the premise any longer. Most memorably was the day I went to the diamond district to pawn all the jewelry he had ever bought me, including that diamond ring.

But I guess I couldn't anticipate everything. Because of course now, little things are springing out of the woodworks, such as the envelope that was buried under a bunch of papers I hadn't looked at in quite a while that read: "RAN OUT TO GET COFFEE. PS - YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL AND I LOVE YOU."

And then there was the baby picture of him that I had stashed in the back of my bookshelf. After I found it, I just stared at it dumbly for about 30 seconds, first trying to figure out what it was and then trying to figure out what to do with it. And I'm not going to lie; my first instinct was to scan it and post it online (it's a particularly embarrassingly naked baby photo). My second instinct was to rip it up and toss it. And then my third instinct, the one I finally went with, was just to put it along with my other old photos from college, from before digital cameras were ubiquitous and people had to get photos developed to be actually be able to see them.

My rationale is that the first two instincts would have been childish and immature and imply that I still harbor bitterness or something, not that I don't (just a little). But this just seemed like the grown-up, mature thing to do. And you never know, someday I might want that photo. Like if he runs for public office or something.

At the end of the day, I can only assume that I am going to keep finding little things like that, or coming across the small memories that I've done my best to stash away. The best thing I know how to do is not freak out, not get mad, and just sigh and move on.

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