Two things I learned in 2015
2015 was an interesting year for me. I left DC because I accepted I wasn’t happy living there, despite amazing friendships, and packed up everything, lived out of a suitcase for four months, and moved 3,000 miles away to Seattle.
It’s a lot more glamorous than it seems. I don’t think that giving away all your possessions and living out of one suitcase is for me. I didn’t have some movie-worthy road trip with cool stops in little diners and historic landmarks. It wasn’t a grand adventure; it was a necessary change. And while I let go of a lot this year, there wasn’t some outward proclamation that made me realize my full potential. My life has always been about continual reflection and smaller changes (that may very well lead up to larger ones). There’s no big shortcut to happiness.
Moving 3,000 miles costs a lot, even if you try to save money every step of the way.
It cost me a little over $2500 to move everything out of my apartment in DC, store it for three months, move it across country, unload it, and drive my car across country. That doesn’t include flights. And that’s extremely cheap for a cross country move.
Upack ended up being the best option for me. I had long since deserted the camp of selling everything and buying all new (cheap) furniture. While I do encourage scouting deals on used furniture and definitely have done way too much of that as a guilty pleasure, I’ve accepted I’m now an adult and having some minor attachment to things is perfectly acceptable and ok.
Moving is also stressful. I nearly had a panic attack trying to pack everything into five feet of space in the trailer Upack dropped off. They almost wouldn’t drop the trailer off because they couldn’t fit it up the driveway of my parents house. The bulkheads they gave us to install wouldn’t fit on the sides of the trailer. Did I miss anything? Would all most stuff get destroyed? Would I need to pay for another moving truck because they wouldn’t be able to drop it off at my apartment, and then unload everything, pack everything, and unload again?
I probably stressed out about it so much that I ended up coming down with a cold the day before I left to drive across country; a week later, I contracted strep and was flat in an airbed, worried that I wouldn’t even be able to get up once my moving truck arrived.
And honestly, I shouldn’t have been so worried about half of the things I was worried about. My stuff arrived. None of it was damaged. We were able to park the trailer on the street just fine and leave it overnight. I even easily was able to hire two college students to help me unload everything. Even my half a case of Heady Topper transported just fine in the trunk of my car across country.
Things worked out, and over-preparing for such a move probably stressed me out a lot more than it should’ve.
You don’t need to craft the perfect moment
I’ve had some periods in my life of fairly strong anxiety. Enough so that I’ve flaked on trips, couldn’t call anyone on the phone, or wouldn’t even set foot into a store I didn’t know. Digesting all the information I could about a new place was a coping mechanism for my anxiety for a long time. I’d investigate everything said on yelp, google street view my entire route, plan what excuses I’d have in advance for being at a certain place so that it seemed casual and no one knew that it was my first time or that I was nervous.
And over the years, it’s been more relying on preparation to calm my nerves than just giving in and accepting that I might be new and uncomfortable and that’s ok. In essence, I was trying to anticipate a moment before it had happened so that it wouldn’t feel unfamiliar or strange, but in doing so, I’d miss out on a lot of the spontaneity and happenstance of life, and all the emotions and reactions that come with just experiencing without any pre-thought.
A lot of times, we end up spending a lot of energy researching the perfect thing. The perfect gym to start going to for new years resolutions. The perfect restaurant to get lunch on a day off. The perfect bike route through downtown. The right way to kick off a project. The perfect job. The significant other who feels more right than anyone else.
Sometimes good enough is perfect for right now. Letting go of the pressure to always find the perfect moment frees up that time before. All that time spent researching and preparing. And maybe that time is spent just chilling on your bed, watching hgtv until you can’t bear to hear ‘open concept’ anymore, but it’s time not spent stressing about perfection.