Sunday, October 2, 2016

Don't worry, we'll find it when we move

I have a very clear memory from early childhood — I may have been four years old — of looking for something precious that I'd lost. I think it was some kind of a fancy pencil, with tassels and ribbons, a treasure that was uncommon in those days unlike today where fancy pencils turned up in every loot bag of every birthday party your kid ever went to.

We were still living in Newcastle Creek on New Brunswick's Grand Lake but even at that tender age, I must have heard about and anticipated moving away. It's hard to imagine that the concept of gathering up everything in the house and taking it to another house would be clear to me but I remember searching through the rooms for my fancy pencil and then telling myself, "Don't worry, we'll find it when we move."

It's become a catch-phrase for me over the years and believe it or not, it's quite a comforting thought. You can't find it? Don't worry, we'll find it when we move.

When you're packing up your house to move — yes we are — the first universal truth you run into is that the further you are into the process, the more ruthless you become. Two or three days ago, whatever you're holding in your hand might have had a chance. "Well, I might use that sometime." Today, nope. Throw it in the garbage.

Of course, throwing things away is not as simple as it used to be when you could just toss it. Now you have to take it apart and put some of it in the green bin, some of it in the bag of paper, some of it in recycling — after all that deconstruction, maybe then you have something to throw in the garbage.

People want to know why we're moving. The answer I've perfected is that I need/want a different life rhythm. I've enjoyed the life I've lived here and I still do. It's become routine though and I'm pretty sure I'm ready for some new routines. Once we decided to do it, we said let's not wait. We'll do it as if we're ripping off a band-aid.

That's why we're here on the eve of the moving van's arrival, still emptying shelves and drawers, filling up boxes, going through years of papers and possessions, making some hard choices. Doing it this way though has saved us from a year of sadness, saying, "This is our last summer in the house," or "This is our last Christmas here."

I've lived in this house for 18 years, the longest I've ever lived anywhere. It seems a long time to me although it must seem like nothing for some people — some people I know, in fact, now in their 80s and still living in the house they were born in. They wouldn't have it any other way.

There are lots of things I'll miss. And there are new things to enjoy.

I think it will be fun to stroll up the street to the library, browse through the books, have a cup of coffee — and maybe stop at Pete's on the way home to pick up something tasty for dinner.

Meanwhile, spare a thought for us, surrounded by boxes and packing paper, sorting through old letters and programs and souvenir tickets, kind of regretfully tossing the Christmas cards because we haven't thrown out one Christmas card since we've moved here.

What can I tell you? We're the sentimental types.

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