Thursday, July 8, 2010

Moving on up

It's 1 a.m., and I have to be up at 7 a.m., but here I am writing from the comfort of my bed because my desk is no longer in my room. Currently, it's sitting in the garage of my soon-to-be home thanks to the help of a good, strong man and my arms, too. This soon-to-be home I speak of sits right above the garage where my desk dwells (after hauling the desk down a couple flights of stairs, we couldn't muster the energy it would take to get it up another flight in 100+ degree weather). So, in short, I will be one of those people who gets to live above their parents' garage. That doesn't just exist in movies-- I get to do it, too! Bear with me, this impending move is the reason for my late night ramblings.

I'm not exactly sad to leave this apartment behind, but I am exhausted. I just got here! I moved a lot of furniture and clothes and books and CDs when I first arrived one year ago. The desk came about a month after the move, thanks to the craftsmanship of my grandpa. (He build the whole thing-- it's beautiful. Heavy, too.) Even on move-in day last year I knew my time here would fly by quickly, just as every year before it has, but if I had known just how quick it would be, I'd probably call myself crazy for going through all that trouble.

The thing is, I've done my fair share of moving over the course of my life. My mom and I lived in two different apartments and a townhouse before settling into the house my step-dad bought many years prior. We called that home for ten years while my sisters grew up before selling the house and moving to our current home last October. But just in the past three years, I've done more moving than ever: freshman year initial move in, winter break partial move out, return move back in, end of year move out. Sophomore year, repeat. Add on the in-and-out of the apartment, and I believe that puts me at 15 moves so far in my life. And yes, winter breaks in the dorms definitely count-- that was some stressful stuff right there.

Yet my dad's house has always been there. He's had our house for about 23 years now, a length of time that does not seem to be very common these days. Throughout all of these moves I've made, I've still had my dad's house as a "home base," however imperfect it may be.

This current transition has been tough for sure. There's nothing like a relocation to make you realize just how much stuff you have. I don't consider myself to be overly sentimental when it comes to every last figurine or bookmark I've owned in my life, and I'm certainly capable of getting rid of things I haven't used or thought about in years. But things collect easily, and that really becomes obvious when you're going through old boxes filled with your childhood art consisting of stick figures with no torsos and six fingers on one hand.

The idea of living a "simple life" is really appealing to me in some ways. The fewer meaningless possessions you own and drag around everywhere you go, the more you can appreciate what you do have. Also, the easier you can pick up and move. The thought of saving every last stocking stuffer or t-shirt makes no sense to me, and the older I get (and the more things I collect), the better I feel about letting little things go. Maybe it's because hoarding and/or collecting runs in a certain side of my family.

Of course, there have been times when I've been a little too ambitious with my purging and hastily threw away old diaries I had written in when I was as young as five. I think I tossed them because I had so many of them, and only a few pages of each were actually written on. Luckily, my dad saved them (he nosed through everything I threatened to get rid of during a particular purge back in high school), and I later enjoyed reading them. It actually makes sense that I never filled the diaries, because I still do the same thing now with my journals. I have about five journals sitting in a bag of books waiting to be carried to my new living space, each of them left with pages and pages of emptiness. A couple of them were just too big and overwhelming to fill, and the others started filling up with more "To-Do" lists than creative writing. I'm trying to make it my goal to fill the one I'm currently writing in.

It's good to have reminders that it's okay to get rid of some things and keep what's important. Going through some of my old boxes the other day, there were a few things that, admittedly, will probably be rid of sometime in the future. But for now, I don't want to deal with those. I don't need to totally rid myself of my past-- it's a good past, and these things are still sweet reminders of that. I might never hold a certain stuffed bunny again with quite the same affection as I did when I was a child, but that doesn't mean I have to ship it or my first pair of shoes off quite yet.

What I do know is that I'll always be sentimental about my desk, the one Pop Pop built for me with his hands and his tools in his workshop. And wherever I live next, that's one thing I'll be taking with me for sure. Let's just hope it won't have to conquer as many stairs next time.


  1. After reading this, I can't help but be reminded of the "What's In Your Backpack?" speech from Up In The Air.

  2. The reference was lost on me because I haven't seen the movie, but I managed to find a clip of it. It does tie in with this perfectly! The movie looks great, too. Guess it would, considering it was nominated for fancy statues and everything. I'll have to see that one of these days...

  3. High marks in my book. The director also did "Thank You for Smoking" and "Juno." And everything George Clooney did in 2009 was golden. :P

  4. THIS is some writing here. Lovely, Cassie, just lovely. The concept of the material world is one I think about a lot. It's silly in some ways, and spiritual in others. Like the necklace you gave me! I wore it for about two or three months straight, up until last week when I went swimming in the reservoir and the moss decided to go drifting off, back to the water that it might have come from. I'm going to make it an always-changing necklace now. (Especially after all the kids at work asked me where it went. They loved that thing, and also thought I was kooky for wearing moss around my neck!) I told them I would find something else in the woods to put on it.

    So you see, humans have this gathering instinct. We can't help ourselves when it comes to sacred little objects. They're a projection of ourselves, whereas a couch from Ikea is not. Clothes made by children being paid 6 cents per hour are not. Those are "necessities" implanted by the media. But a tablecloth embroidered by a woman's own two hands fifty years ago IS. Even if it has a couple holes in the center... (At least at this current point in my life.) Our souls have this long journey to go on, and I'm sure their tastes will change. Maybe tablecloths and moss and even baby shoes and diaries will go out of style or become less important, haha!


  5. Thank you for that thoughtful comment! It's funny, I actually wrote a paper about that very thing for my class. We had to watch Fight Club, which I had never seen before, and the quote that stuck out to me the most was, "I'd flip through the Ikea catalog and wonder, What dining set defines me as a person?" And what you're talking about is exactly what that movie focuses on. Funny and ironic, though, that the message of the movie is to not conform and be manipulated by the media into existing as consumers rather than individuals, when the movie itself has grossed millions and millions of dollars.

    Too funny about the necklace. I'm glad you liked it so much to wear it so often and that the kids did, too! You hit the nail on the head-- we humans certainly have a gathering instinct. We'd be a little more practical if we didn't have cars and had to carry everything we owned on our backs.