There’s a cool crispness in the air that’s signaling the approach of autumn.
It feels especially good here in my brand new sunroom on this placid Sunday morning. The sun is beginning to shine directly in my face and all I can hear is the tick-tock of the clock next to me, the squawking birds taking early flight and the chirping crickets that I’ve noticed love the brown-tiled floor of this sunroom as much as I do.
Getting here to this serene space was no easy feat. In fact, this feat went straight to my feet that have the calluses to prove it. So … What brought me here to this moment with you?
I moved. Ugh!
They say that moving is one of the most stressful things you can do in your life. I agree. In fact, the entire process of disillusionment over my old place, dealing with questionable neighbors, finding a realtor willing to work with someone who wanted to rent as opposed to buy a home, making appointments to look at houses, looking at house after house after house, negotiating leases that fell through THREE times, finally making a deal, calling movers, booking UHaul, getting boxes, throwing away junk collected over 14 years of living in the same place and then actually moving the stuff, cleaning the new place, unpacking everything and hanging art in this new place … well … you get the picture. The entire process took several months.
It took me more than TWO WEEKS alone just to move ART and BOOKS. I’m ArtBookGuy for a reason. Why did it take so long? Because apart from a few things that I needed help to move – like my washer and dryer – I was determined to move most everything … on my own. I have a lot of stuff and I wanted this move to be a solitary experience. Believe me, it was. More on that in a moment.
I would say the entire move alone took me about five weeks. I did not take any time off from work. I simply moved things in the early mornings before work and late evenings after work … and on weekends. This move packed a lot of extra miles on my car. The fact that I moved during summer helped greatly. Daylight Saving Time rocks. Also, not having a tight deadline – for once - was nice.
But here’s the thing. I am convinced that most people want help moving not only because it’s cumbersome and difficult, but also because …
Moving is lonely.
When you look around and take inventory of all of your STUFF … that STUFF stares you right back in the face. When I looked at everything that I had to move … including hundreds of paintings and photographs … all I could think was …
The Day of Reckoning has arrived. It’s the price you pay for being a collector of anything. No one wants to face reckoning alone.
I don’t care how valuable things are. At the end of the day, it’s all just STUFF. It all becomes personal baggage for you. It’s stuff that you’ve collected and as it stares back at you in Crate & Barrel and second-hand glory, you ask yourself …
“What was I thinking?” “Do I really need ALL of this?”
On the surface, moving is about transporting your stuff. However, moving is really about YOU and your personal baggage. It’s about YOU looking at where you are in your life, how you got here and asking yourself … what are you going to do with all of this crap?
Suddenly, you’re taking personal inventory. You’re taking stock. Had you spent the money you paid for this stuff on actual stock, you’d be as rich as Oprah by now.
You’re soul searching. You’re looking at things that are tied to memories and sentiment. They’re material items that are almost like windows into your spirit. What you collect and bring into your home and life mirrors who you are as a person.
I mean, let’s think about this for a moment. Is it really fair to ask someone to help you move? When you ask someone to help you move your stuff, you’re literally asking them to take on YOUR personal baggage … literally and figuratively. Isn’t your personal baggage your responsibility and yours alone? You don’t even want to handle your personal baggage. Why should anyone else? They’ve got their own issues to sort through.
The saying goes: “… a good friend will help you move, but your best friend will help you move a BODY …” There’s a whole lot of personal baggage in that scenario. No?
While moving is largely a physical exercise, I’m convinced that it’s really psychological, emotional and perhaps even spiritual. Nothing forces you to take a hard look at yourself more than moving. Nothing forces you to take stock of your emotional and personal baggage more than moving. When you move, you’re not only moving stuff, you’re also moving yourself; you’re forcing yourself to do something new. You’re blazing a trail. That’s not easy.
Again, this was the first time I had moved in nearly 14 years. However, I knew I had it coming. I knew that I was going to have to take stock and examine all of my own personal baggage ... physical and emotional ... all by myself. It meant I was going to have to TRULY face myself and where I was in my life at the moment and figure out what I needed to get rid of and what I was going to keep.
14 years. Had I become too comfortable or complacent? Was I too rigid or uncompromising? Does that mean I’m a creature of routine and habit? Am I SO lazy that I refused to move for 14 years? Hmm…
As I went through the daily process of moving bit by bit, I had a lot of random thoughts. Among them ... I decided that I was no longer going to tolerate people who disrespected me ... not that I ever did. I also decided that my own well-being should always be one of the highest priorities in my life. If I’m not emotionally, physically and spiritually healthy, then how can I help others?
In addition, I decided that peace and grace are better than chaos and confusion and that I wanted to live in an old, traditional neighborhood with historic houses that have hardwood floors, ceiling fans, fireplaces, American flags on their porches and sunrooms that look out onto lovely backyards where squirrels and chipmunks frolic in the morning sun.
I took stock of my personal baggage and I decided that I HAD to move because I couldn’t expect other people to value me … if I didn’t value myself.
I looked within myself and decided that for all of the stress involved, moving is one of the most powerful statements that you can ever make. Moving is YOUR way of telling the world that you’re done – and I mean DONE – with the nonsense and the status quo of your life and you’re … moving forward.
Moving is your way of telling the world that you deserve something better. Moving is a lot like voting. It’s a quiet, courageous and personal act that can change lives forever.
You know, I think that everyone who ever moves should have to do so - all by themselves - at least one time in their lives. Moving is like taking a spiritual enema. You take a hard look at yourself – alone - and decide what it is about yourself that you’re going to dump and what you’re going to keep.
Yes, it’s a lonesome yet beautiful process. Facing up to your personal baggage is a multi-layered thing. Is it not? Moving is like birth and death; you do it alone. And yet, there’s something at the end of every tunnel. It’s like personal evolution.
Well … I’m all moved in and my new sunroom is fantastic. The sun is really heating up the brown tile floor and the crickets are still chirping while the clock beside me continues to tick-tock. I wouldn’t be enjoying this moment now had I not decided to take stock.
Moving is SO worth it. It’s like flying … with a king-size bed strapped on your back. I’d totally do it again.
Ugh. Did I really just say that?