Right now, I’m sitting in the office at the close of the day, typing this blog post, because I don’t have Internet in my new place yet. (I’m in that weird limbo period of moving when nothing is really set up yet except for the bed I sleep in.) Currently, I’m looking out a window that is overlooking downtown Ocean Beach, San Diego, and I can smell patchouli seeping into my window from the hostel down the street. Once the wind blows that away, I can smell the ocean, which is almost 500 feet away. Soon I will drive to my new apartment. Everything, right now, is new to me, and even the slamming of a glass door and the sounds of guitar music on the street below are a part of a new experience.
What I’m trying to say is that moving is strange. One moment I live in one city and know a bunch of people, then I move to another city and know others. Moving is an art that I’ve learned to master. Since I was 17-years old, I’ve lived in Detroit, Europe (for a small amount of time), Miami, Central Florida, Los Angeles, Long Beach, Huntington Beach, Massachusetts, and every time I move, I learn something new about myself and the skill of packing up. Here are some of the things that I have learned while moving.
What is Lost is Often Found
I lose things. It’s one of my biggest flaws. When I was in college, I used to leave my cell phone in restaurants and airports, and they wold never be found again, and sometimes I get lost driving home because I’m too deep in thought or enjoying a piece of music. Now hold on, I’m not saying I’m a loser; I’m just saying that I’ve misplaced some things over the years. If you’ve read Elizabeth’s Bishop’s famous poem “One Art,” then you know “the art of losing isn’t hard to master,” and it’s something that most people do all their lives. Obviously, losing people and pets will never be easy, but as long as I know that my home isn’t permanent, then I’m not worried about losing, because whenever I move, I’ll find the object I was looking for and say, “So that’s where you’ve been this whole time.” I can’t even begin to tell you about all the Mac power chords and books that I’ve found once I started moving boxes around. I’ve come to understand that most possessions, well, they’ll turn up one way or the other.
You’re Never Finished
Most writers understand that books are the first thing to pack. That’s the one thing I look forward to about moving: taking the books off the shelf, examining them, remembering what value or pleasure I took from them, where I was in my life when I closed the book after finishing the last sentence. But at the same time, since I need to be honest on this blog, I’m also aware that there are plenty of books that I haven’t finished either. This can feel overwhelming, remembering the promises I made to myself years ago. (Oh yeah, I promised myself that I would read Infinite Jest!) But shit, if I was able to read every book that I wanted to in my short life, then I would never have actually seen the physical world. There is a weird balance about living in a way that is cerebral yet tangible, and when I move, I’m reminded that a writer’s life is a constant balance between what is necessary and what is art. It creates a perpetual terror that nothing is ever finished. But that’s what drives me. I have to admit that now. I’m driven by the knowledge that there is only so much time in this life, and I need to take advantage of every moment, even though that’s impossible. Moving reminds me to live with this emotion and to not be scared of it.
Don’t Put What’s Priceless in the Moving Truck
I had a great moving company. Three guys who were speaking in Russian almost the whole time. They worked hard and were trustworthy, even though one of the guys kept asking me about my wife’s car and whether we were financing or leasing. That kind of rubbed me the wrong way, but they were still great at their jobs. When moving, it’s essential, if you have the expendable money, to bring in a moving company. But I’ve never fully trusted moving companies. I’m always worried about something going wrong, so I pack my most priceless possessions in my truck. The things that I deemed priceless were my journals, my computer, a champagne bottle I opened when I proposed to my wife, and my guitar. When you move, you learn what you most want to hold dear. It’s kind of like that question what would you take out of your house during a fire after your family. I would always take my journals. To not know what I was thinking in Detroit at 21-years old or the first time I saw Paris, well, would be a great loss to me, even if it’s not to anyone else.
So I’m here now in San Diego. I’m going to work hard in the professional life and just as hard at night and in the early mornings in the creative life. I’m gad that my professional life is also creative. Even though I’m incredibly happy with my decision, moving is always so weird. It does get easier. I feel at home here in SD. Looking forward to more blogs and more stories. Your comments are always welcome.