Life update: I moved recently. Wrapped around these three words there are weeks and weeks of decisions, lists, jobs, favours, life lessons and a smattering of character building dramas. The move was fairly significant -ending a decade at a high-level desk job to become a full-time student and leaving the familiar loveliness of home for the beguiling city lights.
The experience has taught me plenty. I honed my box packing skills to protect precious things, I packed storage items into strong boxes and inventoried all the contents, I made tough but mindful decisions about letting things go, and I became an enthusiastic garage sale queen.
I learned it aint easy being green when moving house, but there are some ways to make it not quite so deleterious for mother earth. If you’ve moved recently you may remember all the single use things like rolls of packing tape and acres of bubble wrap, as well as all the things that need to be thrown away (or, better case scenario, re-homed). The most important thing, for me, was to scrupulously minimise what ended up in landfill, which meant gifting, garage saleing, gumtree-ing, ebaying, opshopping, and bestowing as much as possible.I sold a bunch of things through local facebook buy/sell groups, as well as gumtree and ebay. It’s a wonderful exchange – them excited about a new possession and a bargain price, and me over the moon that there’s one less thing to pack, store or otherwise wrangle into the next chapter of life. If these things are attended to, then the detritus of moving doesn’t seem quite so wasteful.
Closely related, I learned some powerful lessons about the acquisition of stuff. And – cliche alert – that finding happiness within is the real end game. With some reluctance to shout this out into internet land, I found I had acquired over the years (and when I say acquired, okay, I actually mean, bought retail in a hulking big chain store, freshly imported from China) six different appliances to curl my hair. Six! And how often have tendrilous curls tumbled down my back? Um, honestly, twice. And both times made by my wonderful hairdresser, not by the seething mass of electronics collected under the bathroom sink. You see, in moments of dwindling self-awareness I had some loony idea that curly hair would make me prettier, happier, better. Armfuls of rarely-worn clothes attested to a similar internal narrative, as did bottles of untaken vitamins and boxes of unbrewed herbal tea. Not what we really need folks, not what we need at all.
The biggest lesson of all was a reminder of the incredible importance of loved ones – for me they were there at all hours of the day and night – helping, heavy-lifting, encouraging, purchasing, acquiring, driving – and they made the seemingly-impossible possible. It amazed me, time and again, the oh-so-rightness of this help. Friends’ availability would be exactly when I was ready to get a particular task conquered, space in the ute/van/trailer/camper/landrover/hatch (yes, there were all these!) would seem to expand to exactly fit what needed moving, arrivals and departures coincided with breaks in the weather, and spectacular food deliveries came right when hunger had gnawed to the depths of my stomach. Importantly, I learned (I hope!) to get better at asking for help, and also at graciously accepting it. That was sometimes a struggle, but reminded me of the beauty of friendship, and my immense gratitude to be half of so many amazing pairings of people, loved ones, friends.
Life is getting settled, slowly, and the lessons of moving animate some new practices in my life in the big smoke. I immediately joined the library to borrow books not buy them, I’ve made a cooking pact with my partner that we need to systematically eat through pantry cupboard food supplies (moving into an existing share house amassed near-kilograms of cinnamon and turmeric for example!), and I promise promise promise that no hair curling appliance will enter through this front door, and nor will the self-doubt that animated all those earlier purchases.