Friday, September 16, 2011

Liberation!

Moving is such a strange and emotional experience. I am the kind of person who likes to stay put, so to think that I have now lived in 9 homes in 5 states is quite surprising. I personally, am flabbergasted by it. My parents lived in their home for 54 years, and honestly, if there had been a category for high school yearbook awards for "Most Likely Never to Move More than 50 Feet from the House She Grew Up in," I would have voted for me!

This current move is a particularly strange one, because we aren't moving to another house. We are moving into an apartment for six months, and then in the spring we will buy an RV and travel for the foreseeable future - as long as it takes us to see what we want to see and get tired of it.  So, this weekend, we are moving most of our worldly belongings into storage and I don't know when I'll see them again.

Stuff is just stuff. I know that. We have sold a few pieces, donated much, and thrown a lot away. But there are things I simply can't part with - my mother's china, her tea cup collection, a few family antiques, some pieces that Dick and I bought during our 31-so-far years together.

There is a strange dynamic that kicks in when I am packing to move. While I am emptying cupboards, wrapping fragile treasures in paper and bubblewrap, I am forced to look at my life as represented by these things. This was from our first Christmas Prelude in Kennebunkport, these were Grandma Goodwin's playing cards, this was from our house in East Boothbay, we bought this when we moved here....every "thing" represents a person or a phase in my life, or both. While I am packing, my heart is leaden with sadness. But then, when the boxes are taped up and stacked away, I feel strangely ... free.

It happens every time. While you're doing it, there is sadness. But afterward, there is liberation. It felt wonderful yesterday when the fellows from Salvation Army carted off some furniture. And it felt wonderful this morning when we dragged out boxes for the large-item pick-up.

Stuff is just stuff. But some stuff is the stuff of our lives and we shouldn't feel bad about wanting to keep it. Now that it's boxed up and ready for storage, I am fine. I don't miss it, and I feel lighter. And sometime, on the other side of our travels, I will be delighted to see it again. It will be a bit like Christmas, opening the boxes.

Am I the only one who feels this way?

16 comments:

  1. We just had a major move, after 13 years in the same house, 20 years in the same neighborhood. But 54 years! WOW. Does anyone even do that anymore?

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  2. You captured, beautifully, what one experiences in moving. Good luck! Enjoy the adventure.

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  3. That's really nice! Lots of people feel that way. I don't hang on to things I have no use for anymore, even if it does hold sentimental value, but I still feel nostalgia when I donate my stuff. It makes me feel better when I know it's all going to someone who really needs it or will treasure it.

    Good luck with your move, Melissa! My husband's parents did the RV adventure when they first got married (37 years ago, I think). For several years they traveled all over the U.S. and stopped for work when they needed to. It sounds amazing!

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  4. I'd love to move so that I can purge! Because, without an actual move looming it really is hard to start the process.

    And, you are not the only one who feels that way. While I would pick up and move from my house (my first) in an instant, I there is much I would miss about being here.

    I'm so excited and jealous of your upcoming travel journey. That is my biggest dream - roam America (and Canada) in a motorhome! I'm anxious to read about your adventures!!!

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  5. You all always lift my spirits! I am so lucky to have the chance for this adventure. AB, I think the RV adventure is likely to become the focus of my blog next year, and perhaps later a book. This is such a crazy time, but mostly in a good way!

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  6. Wellllllll DW - as you know I start to get bored after living in one place for more than 4 - 5 years. We have managed to move almost every 6 - 7 years which I think is good - as it makes life interesting and there is just so much to see and do. We have a whole new adventure ahead of us and so many wonderful sites to see and times to enjoy. Thanks for being my "Trip Buddy" all these years!!!! Your DH

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  7. DH, yes, if not for you I would have had no adventures at all! Thank you! I am looking forward to this upcoming one most of all. But I must say my dear, that after that, I think I will be ready to stay put! xoxo

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  8. That sounds like a fantastic adventure!

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  9. Thanks Paul, it does! I really can't wait, though right now, life is all about the book, and it's good that I can stay put through the holidays to focus on that...

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  10. Hi Melissa, Found your page from your husbands RVPainter page. It sounds like things are finaly coming together with the move.
    "The Christmas Village" looks great, can't wait till it comes out!

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  11. Thanks, Kathie! Appreciate you coming by and thanks for LIKING the Facebook page.

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  12. I think a lot has to do with your circumstances. Your coming adventure sounds wonderful, and your responses fit it well. We recently moved too, after losing our jobs and having to leave our house to foreclosure. All our "stuff" is stuffed into my parents' basement. We got rid of so much,and although it was good to donate it, my heart was broken b/c what what I really wanted was to stay in our house, with our kids. Those things symbolized happy years. I'm glad your move is a happy one. So many these days are moving b/c of sad situations.

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  13. M.K. I know it's true. I'm so sorry for what you've gone through, because there is a big difference between making a change that you wouldn't have chosen, but was chosen for you. At least we are making a choice to do this, and I feel very grateful that this is the case.

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  14. i have been on the move and without a real home for several years, and still stuff of mine accumulates. i have a few boxes at mom's and sister's place, and i am told they need to go. yes, liberating to get rid of it. tough to actually do:)

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  15. Hi Ed! Yes, remarkably tough. The more I do it, though, the better it feels.

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  16. I so agree on having "stuff" and the freeing way it feels to declutter, whether moving or not. We plan to move sometime in the near future, to downsize, and I am SO looking forward to it. I'm finding that as I get older, I really don't WANT so much stuff anymore. Weird...this thing called life! When I was young, I couldn't imagine why my grandma or other elderly person would say they didn't need or want ANYTHING for their birthday, etc. Now I get it!

    I hope your RV travels will be filled with wonder and joy, and lots of book sales! :)

    Don't forget to let me know when you'll be in my part of the world.

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