Story by Sue Dvorak.
Moving is found on ‘most stressful life events’ scales but needs to be moved up. From start to finish, moving is an extremely exhausting and generally overwhelming endeavor.
Oh sure, some moving appears carefree, almost entertaining. Visit a university campus in spring to see a very relaxed looking young person “moving out” of residence, wandering by carrying a popcorn maker in one hand and a laundry basket overflowing with shoes, a dragging towel, one music speaker and some binders tucked under the other arm. This person is not stressed, though his look-alike parent packing the car nearby usually appears a bit more intense. I was at UBC recently when a compact car drove by with two young men each perched in a fully opened back window, clutching a large sofa balanced along the top of the vehicle, a furniture-moving technique not endorsed by ICBC. Or anyone.
Even these haphazard moves gradually develop a system, becoming more streamlined and efficient. People get some large reusable bins, develop packing patterns and invent a few techniques of their own. Our son uses large black garbage bags to move almost anything. Garbage bags have the advantage of being very stackable, from floor to ceiling in the back of a car and the disadvantage of being mistaken for garbage. Attentiveness is crucial during a move: last year two baskets of clean family laundry were almost driven to another province after being packed into the back of our vehicle by a hard-working but inattentive helper.
Moves continue over the coming years: to shared apartments, a downtown high rise, a condo, a townhouse. Eventually “It Happens.”
‘It’ is very traumatic and a sure sign of becoming established. ‘It’ is when you can no longer move yourself using just a vehicle, when friends are no longer willing to help you move in exchange for a case of beer. ‘It’ occurs when you actually need to hire a real moving truck and, gasp, movers!
Years back my husband found this a most distressing situation, one he had great difficulty coming to terms with. Never mind that we had a toddler and a baby in tow; the babies we could adapt to, but professional movers we were not ready for.
We keep living our lives and at some point, many people move into a house. If purchased there is the hefty financial consideration much discussed in Vancouver. Yet beyond that, beyond the finances and finishings and appliances of the purchase or rental, there remains the matter of a home. Home, where our lives happen, where weekend mornings unfold, where children grow up, parties are hosted and ordinary suppers take place, chores repeated, “stuff” accumulated and people come and go.
The ultimate “moving” then is that which my parents are in the midst of doing: moving out of their family home of the past 49 years. My father just marked the occasion perfectly by writing a poem about a tiny fir seedling they planted years back, now towering over their house, and how their family life grew up there along with the tree. They are doing an amazing job of staying focused and on-task while all around memories beckon and heartstrings tug. The “stuff” surrounding them marks time and tells a story but still needs sorting. The memories need sorting too. Well, that and the four extra mattresses, full dining set, crazy number of pillowcases and the casserole dishes. Good thing older people are mature, tough and wise.
Moving through a lifetime of living will get you that.