It's been nearly 20 years now since I moved from my last apartment into a small house in the Denver suburbs, rented from a friend and shared with a roommate or two, and featuring a two-car garage, white picket fence, and a dog. Yes, a little bit of the American dream. Lived there until my move into fairly similar digs in Oregon at the end of 2011.
The move to Oregon was fairly wrenching since it required sorting through everything and putting most of my stuff in storage, saying goodbye to a lot of friends and a great church where I was known and loved, moving in with strangers, and six months later setting up housekeeping with an actual husband and a couple of teenaged kids who had their own stuff and ideas about how to live and keep house. Moving, marriage, and step-parenting quickly revealed how little my efforts to avoid becoming an inflexible and eccentric old maid had succeeded.
So it is with some trepidation that I now consider our next step, which this time involves a 3000-mile cross-country summer drive to a different part of the U.S. It means saying goodbye to our first home together and moving into a furnished two-bedroom apartment much like the one I left when I upgraded to a "real house" in my twenties.
Chris starts his new job around September 1, and my classes start the third week of August. In terms of the job, it's a big step forward, but in terms of our standard of living, well, it will be a campus apartment. I think we'll be surrounded mostly by other young marrieds, many a couple decades younger than we are.That's going to be a change.
By global standards, we'll continue to live a life of plenty and privilege. Almost 900 square feet just for the two of us? Should be plenty, right?
I wonder: Have a couple years of marriage since the last move made me more pliable? Or has the continued aging made me less so? I hope the former outweighs the latter. I feel more secure now than I did then, and therefore ready to say goodbye to some of the stuff and way of life I clung to so hard when I moved to Oregon, a move that required so much of me that I felt a defensive attachment to the things I thought I ought to be able to keep.
Those Caleb Project files boxed up in the attic? I really don't need them anymore. I can let go. The books? I don't have to keep them all, either. If Chris can give up his moped and barbecue grill, well, the couple pieces of furniture from my childhood home which I went to great effort to move to Colorado and then to Oregon may finally be garage-saled, too. It's not worth it to get a moving truck at this point, not with a furnished apartment waiting for us when we get there, and a good chance we'll be back (or moving elsewhere) in just a year or two. Chris's folks have offered us space in their attic, so we may not even need to pay for a storage unit. If everything comes through on the rental, we'll sell what can't go in the attic and travel through life a little lighter. "Settling down" and maybe even buying a house are at least a few years in the future for us... maybe more. So living with less is the only wise thing to do.
I'm not the only who has attachment issues to work through at this point. Our son is dismayed to see the two big recliners from which he's watched hours of television (and fallen asleep doing homework) are both on the got-to-go list. Sorry, kiddo. Whatever you can cram into the little room at your mom's house, it's yours.