Thought No. 17: Sunday / by Jennifer Wisniewski

"I move, therefore I am."

Well, we're moving on up, to the east side.
To a deluxe apartment in the sky.
Moving on up, to the east side.
We finally got a piece of the pie.

I’ve been humming that song in my head all week as I wrap, pack and throw away. Stella and I are moving this week. It always starts out so optimistic – the excitement of getting into a new home and all the possibilities that come along with it. But, then you start going through all your things and an existential crisis starts to set in.

When you move enough times, things take on another level of significance. Your objects have meaning – but how meaningful do you want them to be? You ultimately have to ask yourself: “Do you want to pack and unpack these things for the rest of your life?” While I was packing up the kitchen, I found lobster crackers – shaped like lobster claws. Of course the one time we had lobster in three years, I used a pair of kitchen shears to get them open. It was then that I stepped out of myself and had a “come to Jesus” moment: “Were you, at one time, a girl who bought bright red lobster crackers – actually shaped like lobster claws?!” I was ashamed of myself.

The trip down memory lane is exhausting. As I pack, my mind floods with sometimes unwanted memories. (Nothing like packing up your life to force you to audit it.) Saying goodbye and new beginnings are essential to growth. As I pack up each box, I reconcile the past and make a promise to be smarter in the future. No wonder after I finish packing a box I have to go lay down.

Oh, that’s right! Things don’t matter! Well … maybe a little bit. I’m no hippie, so I don’t know if objects hold energy – but they certainly hold memories. That’s the exhausting part about moving: in just a few seconds, you have to judge if you'll miss something ten years from now. I still miss that chocolate brown stuffed walrus I had as a child. (If you see it, call 311.) That’s what I don’t want my daughter to go through. I struggle with throwing away her valuable memories – but only time will tell. I need one of those psychologists from Hoarders to come ask me important questions, so I can let go and don’t end up living in cat waste.

My Bar Manager asked, “Do you really need a whole week to move?” – but now I feel like I may even need more time. I just had to say goodbye to a plastic cup that Stella made when she was two – so I need a moment and a call to my therapist.