Dwelling Point: Moving

The process of moving your life from one habitat to another has somehow acquired a bad reputation. When did this happen? Hunch: probably somewhere between the ancient treks of the Pioneers and West-bound Depression-era farmers. Seeing as though both relocation efforts were laborious and life-threatening at times, I can understand the stigma, but what I don’t understand is how it has gotten worse as the moving process has become considerably easier and danger-free.

By the time I moved out of my old apartment and into my friend’s house this past weekend, moving’s reputation had digressed into a nagging void of complaint-filled negativity. As the big day neared, it only intensified. I felt its weight from everyone. Kind eyes. Gentle smile. Knowing nod. Distressed furrowed eyebrows. Sigh. Sample comments:

‘Oh, you’re moving.’

'Moving sucks.’

‘What a drag.’

‘I don’t envy you.’

‘It’s so hot outside. What kind of idiot embarks on a move in the middle of a Southern California summer?’

The feedback was so discouraging, I started to feel bad even talking about it, let alone divulging the fact this is the fifth time I’ve moved since I first broke out onto this scene back in ’02 (it may be worth noting that my restless nomad tendencies are not always voluntary and not restricted to moving – jobs, romeos, friends, sanity...always in jeopardy).

Given the dark cloud hanging over my move, I hated to be a nuisance and inflect its rain upon anyone but myself (except, of course, to unintentionally inconvenience my new landlords and to bribe my friend He-Man with beer to help me with heavy lifting), but in the interest of rescuing the reputation of permanent relocation, I must take this opportunity to make a bold, italic, controversial statement:

I love moving!

Yes, you read that right. Read it again, fool, and throw your complaints my way. I can't hear you because I’m be so enlightened in my move. Yeah, my back muscles are crying, I’m living out of boxes, my cell phone charger is lost in tangled computer cords, and my already expensive car insurance provider has used my new “higher risk of accident” address as an excuse to bump up the monthly scam. But it’s all worth it. Now that I’m in the middle of this quarter-life renovation, with moving on my mind, I’m posing the argument that perhaps moving doesn’t deserve its bad rap.

When you’re moving, you tend to forget about the rest of the world, as only your transition matters. Your possessions, from clothes to CDs to bottles of lotion you got in a gift box five years ago, all the unique and quirky accumulations of your life lived thus far, are all packed up, transported, and redistributed into a foreign environment. You’re not sure how it’s going to work out, how you’ll respond to the surroundings, or how the surroundings will respond to you.

Adaptation is not just for the animal kingdom and a great book’s transition into a poor screenplay. There’s something to be said for moving on, changing perspectives, and having your mind so open that it’s endlessly unsettled. While some say stability is comforting, for me, it's awkward, and being satisfied with the way things are is tragic.


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