I’m about to move to my seventh address in the last five years. I wish there were a sexy reason for it, like witness protection or tax evasion. Unfortunately, I’m afraid it’s just straight up instability. And I’m so over it.
It’s pushed me to this point: now is the time and this is the place to get grounded. I’m ready for the dust to settle.
This five-year period of transience has been worth the price, I must say. It all started because I wanted a different life (be careful what you wish for). Back in 2009, I suggested to my now ex-partner that we shake things up and move to a different state. It didn’t take much convincing (my suggestion was his home state). So off we went, leaving our old address for a new one in Los Angeles.
After a year in our first apartment we moved again, mainly to gain a parking space (welcome to the big city). Then came the “divorce,” so off I went to a friend’s extra bedroom (that’s address #4, if you’re scoring at home). That arrangement worked until it didn’t, so off I went to yet another friend’s extra bedroom, which worked until it REALLY didn’t. Just then, so happens, another friend found a big beautiful rental home and needed a roommate, so she called me. Perfect timing being what it is, I moved again (where I am as of this hour) to a house that’s now up for sale. So I’m out scouting for my next landing spot. Which, from this point forward, will be referred to as Address #7 since 2008.
Which is ridiculous. I’m 50-years old, for God’s sake. No wonder I write under a pseudonym!
As absurd as all this upheaval has been, there’s a silver lining. What I love about moving is it forces me to make choices about what’s going with me and what’s being abandoned. It’s the perfect time to ask myself, do I need this thing? How long have I gone without thinking about this thing? A year? What makes me think I’ll need it a year from now? Or ever again?
Needless to say, if something has managed to escape the trash heap after six moves, it must be pretty important to me.
Now I’m down to such things as my late-father’s stuff, stuff which I’ve been keeping, I guess, because I thought I’d feel guilty disposing of it. Like it would be disrespectful to him. But I have some great photographs, for example, of him playing the guitar. And I’ll always have fond memories of him playing guitar. So why am I lugging this acoustic guitar from one address to another?
So I decided to take it to the premier used guitar shop in LA (and probably the world) to see what it was worth. Turns out it wasn’t constructed all that well. Maybe a few notches above those ukuleles they sell in Mexican border towns stamped with the word “Ole!” Turns out pop’s guitar was worth maybe $50 on the open market. They offered me $20 for it. So I snapped one last picture of it with my phone, took the $20, and went and had a nice lunch.
If you’ve never experienced the exhilaration of elimination, you should really try. I swear, the more things I dispose of, the happier I get. It’s like severing an anchor.
Imagine having that mentality and moving six times in five years. A period when discretionary income was a laughable concept, so I purchased almost nothing that wasn’t an absolute necessity. And every time I move, I throw out yet more stuff.
I’ve pared down my belongings to what can fit into a studio apartment. Preferably a large studio apartment to accommodate a king-sized bed, a couch and a dining table. But plenty of studios can’t even accommodate that much. So I may not yet be finished eliminating.
If the new economy has taught me anything (it’s actually given me an advanced degree), it’s to realize what’s truly important. I need the basics (food, toilet, shower, roof, oxygen) plus a few luxuries like running shoes, an IPod and an internet connection. Beyond that, I think I could survive for weeks, maybe years, with nothing more.
A few years ago an arsonist set fire to the storage room at the building where I used to live. It was where we stored stuff we rarely, if ever, used. So when it was demolished, we had to wrack our brains to recall what all was in it.
The worst loss was my grandparents’ Christmas ornaments, some of which were more than a hundred years old. Then there were the ornaments given to us by my stepfather, who has a heightened appreciation for well-crafted Christmas trinkets. Those were all very sad losses.
But beyond that, I’m not really sure what else I lost, besides a couple of ice chests, snow chains and a bowling ball. And believe me, there was tons more crap in there. I just can’t recall what.
Funny, that storage locker was right next to the garbage dumpsters. Turns out, there wasn’t much difference between the contents of either.
(To be continued…)