This post may be rather boring but I felt like sharing and who better to write to than you!
You may not know this, but the last two months have been all about transition. I have a new job, a new flat, and have entered a new stage in my relationship with my boyfriend. We are moving in together! Yay!
Ok, but it wasn’t always peachy… as always, there is a story here.
My boyfriend, Tomas, was actually the very first person I met when I arrived to Wimbledon Village on January 5th of this year. I mean, he was literally the first person I spoke to. I was going to be living in a house share that was attached to the building where I was going to work for the next few months to get on my feet in this new country. He, as fate would have it, was one of my new flatmates and my Manager! Very quickly, we became the best of friends, and not long after that, we became a couple. We worked with some amazing people, made wonderful friends, and started building our lovely life together.
Then, eight months or so later, shortly after our trip to Croatia, he got a new job and I was looking for one as well, which meant that we also had to move. We did all this, I was working both my old and new jobs, working on my research paper, whilst he was onto his new job and had moved out with his sister for a bit. Then I had my trip to Montreal, Canada which was a nice time to celebrate and catch up with family. The plan was that I would have this visit and that we would move into our new flat. Unfortunately, there was a delay and we had to move in a couple weeks later. That was not exactly the problem except for the part where I felt that the rug had been pulled from under me. Moving is so stressful on a person even in the best of cases. This, along with new jobs, still only a few months in to graduate school, and simply trying to enjoy this big step with Tomas made for a busy two months. Now, with the delay, we are at three months of transition, and it has been up and down even though we have a place. I feel like I’m in survival mode again trying to see how simple I can make this and how lightly I can pack so I can just live in a car if I have to and road trip through Britain.
However, my nomadic days are behind me, and I am ok with that, to be honest lol! I have to face the music, and the reality is, we are starting a life. A new and different kind of life. One where I can’t just think of myself or my few things and incorporate travel, yoga retreats and so on. Now, this is not to say that my more adventurous lifestyle was not real or significant, it’s just to say that this one is a new chapter and I plan on living it mindfully. And though I may be able to work and study from my computer, I can’t have this relationship or build this foundation from my computer. The best part is that I’m happy with that! I want to know that I can settle down, be with someone I love, and start this new adventure. So what is my problem?
Too, Much. Stuff.
I feel nor here nor there. When I left my flat in Montreal last year I just packed everything, brought it to my parents house and put it in my old room. I already did not have a lot of things. Once I donated my furniture, it took me one trip and two cars. Some household things were just incorporated into my childhood house and I revisit those memories when I visit Montreal. Last Christmas, after my months of travel, I was in Montreal to visit and I brought back all my winter clothing and accessories. My visit in April was my chance to bring all my art supplies, more yoga things, and some cute extras. This visit I packed some health products I really love from my boutiques in Montreal, as well as some books etc. I think I’m done! However, all this moving and packing got me thinking about stuff! We have so much stuff and we identify with it more than we know. They become who we are. I thought I lived a relatively minimalist lifestyle but I struggled this time around, guys! My memory box from my Uni days, suddenly felt so important, even though I never thought of packing it before. Some home decorations from my old flat also seemed as though they were asking to come back to England with me. Most of all, my cat seemed like he belonged more with me again than here with my parents, which is where he lives happily with them now.
So I decided to categorise everything and see where it belonged everywhere.
These are the things that are a part of my reality. Things I can still use. Things I will use.
These things include: yoga props, art supplies, ballet slippers and pointe shoes, any sport props, my favourite home accessories, my best mugs and books, and so on.
These are things that will be left in their boxes because they are in the past. They are memories.
These things include: memory boxes, university books and printed readings, home accessories replaced that represent other times, my mugs and books that just make my collection unnecessarily big (thank you shipping costs!), and so on.
The point is that, sometimes, when we move, we are so unstable, so uneasy, and so vulnerable in primal ways, that we want to cling to everything to create our safety, our comfort, and ourselves. There is nothing wrong with that, and to an extent, a portion of that is healthy and (in my opinion) necessary. However, I think we also need to make peace with the fact that not everything lasts forever and some things change, and others are even lost. Sometimes, we have the luxury of being able to store memories in safe places in our childhood homes. Sometimes, we can even use storage units to store certain things. Other times, memories that we can see, hold, and smell, are gone forever. The important thing is we have them in our hearts. That is how they grow in meaning. Being able to touch them again or revisit that time is an added bonus. But in our minds and hearts, those memories are just as meaningful if not more. So let us not attach ourselves to yet another thing or more objects and constraints. Let us be grateful that they are there, but mindful that our lives have continued to make room for more of these memories that create such meaning in our lives.
In other words, do not make room for things necessarily, but for things to become the memories worth talking about. Worth remembering. Worth writing a lengthy blog post about. Worth being part of your story.
Just like our moments in celebration, travel, joy, and others that can never be photographed enough, so are the objects that will never be everything the memories were. We seem to make peace with that in photos. We should do the same with objects. Or even better: take a picture of the objects and create a new kind of memory project.
As for my cat, if I return to Canada one day (which Tomas and I are talking about), Desmond will come live with me 😉
A belated Happy Halloween to all of you and here’s to a new journey toward Christmas!