As of last week, I’ve moved about 18 times throughout my life.
The frequency of my moving seems natural to me – I’ve been shuffled from place to place both by choice and by obligation since I was 7 years old. I’m an expert organizer, packer, labeler and cleaner due to all this experience.
I’m also adaptable. I’ve moved out with months of preparations, but I’ve also left with just a few hours’ notice and a couple of large trash bags.
Everyone keeps saying how difficult moving is. How exhausting, how stressful, how it is a pain. But I don’t get what the big deal is.
“I hope you’re doing OK,” one friend kept repeating.
“Do you have to go through the hassle of moving?” another asked.
Even my moving buddy/roommate/ex-boyfriend (that’s a story for another time) reacted that way to the move. Although he at least acted excited to be in the new place, he did express disdain for the moving process.
“This sucks,” he said. “I just want to be done.”
But why does it “suck” so bad? I mean, this is something I’ve been doing forever. What’s weird to me is not moving.
The first move I remember was after my parents separated. I was 7 and, even as a kid, I knew it was a good idea that they weren’t together. If I had any sadness about leaving my childhood home, I don’t remember it. What made me sad was leaving behind the chalkboard I had learned the alphabet on. My mom was sad, my mom was stressed, how could I be upset about the move when there were so many larger issues at work? I couldn’t.
Over the next six years, my mom and I moved in and out of various places. Or, if we didn’t actually move, I said goodbye to my friends, switched schools, and decorated my room in her new boyfriend’s house just for everything to fall through. Then, between age 15 and 27, I moved another dozen times as I switched colleges, switched jobs, switched partners.
Some people with all this chaos and all this constant moving might feel a strong urge for stability – they might dream of buying a home, raising their family there and staying there for when the grandkids come by. And, yea, that sounds nice, but it isn’t what I want.
Like anyone else, of course I worry about being out on time, getting my security deposit back and getting my new place ready. But last week I was like a machine, waking up early, staying up late, nearly missing meals (lots of tacos) to make sure everything was done.
I anticipate having many more moves in the future. Chaos and instability, to me, seem to be part of the job description of a journalist.
Besides, with every move, there’s a chance to purge a bit – a chance to get rid of those things that you don’t need or use. It’s also a chance to redecorate, start fresh and, like a bird in the spring, begin to nest again.
I think I like my life this way: I fly and I nest. I fly and I nest. With each move, with each new challenge and transition, I get to know a little more about myself, about where I’m going, what I’m doing and it makes me feel better, like I’m constantly improving. Each time, I fly higher, I fly further and my nest gets whittled down to only the shiny objects I want in it.
I’m just a bird.