I moved out of my apartment almost a month ago. It was the first I’d ever set up from sink to ceiling, bins to bedding, pots to bills. This last week has been hard. I think I’ve only just processed the aftermath of moving out. I’ve been feeling homesick, in a way I haven’t been before. Moving out of a place you set up with so much heart only to soon rip apart feels so different to moving out of your childhood or parents’ home. I miss the way the light spread across our living room floor and the way it smelt of vanilla wax and the cosy colourful corners.
This past week, as I was thinking about what made this experience difficult, I realised it wasn’t that I had to let go of stuff and pull the door one last time. It was that I lost a place that was once home to memories and experiences. It was because everything was temporary again. And because temporary really scares me. To the people who pack and move so effortlessly, how do you do it? How do you pull the mirror off the wall? How do you pack away things you love? How do you adjust to temporary?
Moving has been an experience of self-learning and discovery, with its own challenges. For the most part, it goes by in a blur. You make checklists and strike off to-dos. You’re so busy and focused on downsizing, you forget you’re also expanding. You’re expanding your life, again. After all, your life is not just “stuff”. You and your life are everything beyond the pictures on your walls and the lights by your window. It is more than boxes of crockery and bags of linen. It is not your trunk of stationery or your collection of shoes. It is out there, in the world. It’s hard getting rid of stuff. It is hard downsizing. It’s something I personally struggle with but also something I’m learning to adapt to. When I got rid of stuff while moving out, I opened myself to more experiences and living life more deeply. I opened myself to being okay with living out of a backpack someday. I opened myself to being okay with not limiting the notion of home to four walls.
At the time, I didn’t realise what a mixed experience it is to move. It was hard but also amazing. It was bitter but also sweet. I loved every bit of setting up my own home, I loved every bit of living with one of my closest friends. It taught me a lot about who I am, what I am capable of and what I’d like to do differently. It taught me a lot about everything I had no control over and how to grow with the things I could control.
These past few months have been a journey of falling in love with a lot of things but also falling out of love with a lot of my stuff. As precious as some things are, I have wanted nothing more than to leave it all behind. Only to find myself buried under a pile of buts – but it’s expensive, but it’s beautiful, but it was a gift, but you’ll never find anything like it, but you love it, but you can take it to your grave, but but but, no.
It is springtime and this year, I would really really really like to get rid of my fear of living within temporary circumstances (along with some of those buts and heavy bags). I know taking that next step is going to be hard but it could also be amazing. The key to happiness is a lot of things but really, it begins and ends with you or in this case, me and the lovely mug collection I will be taking to my grave.