Column: The two easiest apartment moves of my life

Published in The St. Paul Journal on Jan. 31, 2012

Moving stinks, plain and simple. The act of packing up all of the things you have, and usually forgot you had, tends to be tedious at best. Sure, everyone tries to make it better with a good batch of songs or even a companion to assist and shoot the breeze with, yet there is no avoiding that one moment you realize you wish you had started packing earlier, or maybe threw away some stuff you’ve been unknowingly hoarding a long time, or even decided not to move in the first place. I have a confession: I’ve experienced none of this the last two times I’ve moved apartments and, believe it or not, there is a negative side.

The ad in the classified section for the past four or five issues has been taken down as last week I moved into a new house in town. Not only was it relieving to find a place to stay for the foreseeable future, the fact that the move consisted of transporting a suitcase, hockey bag, which was filled with books instead of skates and shin pads, and a TV was much less stressful than the typical move.

Yes, I’ve been living out of a suitcase for the past three months and although it’s a little disheartening not to have some favourable items simply too big to fit in my suitcase, let alone the back of my jeep, it feels liberating. There’s no restrictions in terms of moving places and it carries an overall freewheelin, or nomadic if you will, attitude that made the appeal of moving west from Ontario so exciting. It’s definitely a lifestyle that can take some getting used to, but the idea of being able to continually meet new people and see parts of your own country you might never have had the chance to makes it worth it, for me at least.

As I mentioned, moving around with only a suitcase and a four-wheel drive vehicle does have its downsides, besides not having with you a cherished desk or record player and the like. We tend to complain during a move about having too much stuff – I for one can recall feeling light headed when staring at a living room littered with things to pack or part with – however, I believe these pieces are part of who we are as individuals. From that old James Joyce essay you, unbelievably, got an A grade on (I don’t really remember writing it, but I do remember drinking lots and lots of coffee) to a faded and torn Led Zeppelin t-shirt you still might wear to bed or if someone asked you to come help paint their house with.

Similar to the old adage ‘you are what you like,’ I think the stuff we own and choose not to part with, at least not in a hoarding way, is a fair indication of what we’re all about and to leave it behind and move to the other side of the country, or anywhere, can be a little scary. We probably feel much more comfortable when we see things we’re used to, or having the option of using something that’s familiar, even if it’s that desk you bought from IKEA (I thought it had nice little shelves and it even came with a lock). However, it’s good to every now and then test yourself by doing something totally out of your element. Taking one hour to move from one apartment to the next is something that was certainly new to me and although it may not seem like such a big deal at the time, it can put your life and what defines you into perspective in more ways than you think. I’m hoping to get that desk and record player shipped out here, FYI.

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