I am, in a big picture way, toward the end of the middle of a big move.
It’s been a long time since I made a big move like this, but this one has been protracted.
Back in the early and mid-nineties I made four moves over four consecutive summers, and each time there was so much to do.
Over those four summers I learned ways to move that were less painful than others, but I never really got good at it.
The truth of moving is this: you end up having to confront almost every mistake you have made since the last time you moved.
That five-year-old receipt to go with a purchase you immediately regretted but never got around to returning? It’s there in the pile of “things I have been meaning to go through before I die.”
That book you checked out from the library and misplaced? It’s in a drawer or under a sofa cushion or in a bag that you set aside and forgot. The good news is you can now go back to the library and clear your name. The bad news is you’re moving, so once the book is returned and your name is cleared, you’re not going back to that library anyway.
Pennies, paper clips, tacks, and rubber bands? It turns out they are all in the same drawer of things you don’t know what to do with. There may even be index cards with your child’s French vocabulary words written on them, and instead of tossing the cards out, you start to read them and quiz yourself. You discover you have both remembered and forgotten more of your high school French than you thought you had.
This makes you think of your high school French teacher, which in turn reminds you of the angry girl in class whose day you once spoiled by saying “good morning.” You want to look them both up in your high school yearbook that might or might not be unpacked from the last time you moved.
So back to my big picture: I am nearing the end of a long and arduous move, but it still feels like it’s a million years away and that feeling makes me feel as though I am stuck.
And I am, though only literally. After spending most of the day packing and repacking boxes which I then moved and attempted to place in what is essentially a three-dimensional Tetris game, I am exhausted.
I attempt to recuperate by taking a bath, but it is as if the bath water is really amber, and I have an overwhelming sense that I must stay put exactly where I am.
This is complicated by the fact that there is still so much to be done, but I find that where I am is exactly where I want to be. Not just for the next half hour, but maybe the next half-century.
I stare at my feet while I soak in the tub and enjoy the feeling of stuckness. If I am stuck, I won’t have to do anything but stay where I am. I will not have to decide what to do with the tacks. I will not have to google to find the hours of a place where I can recycle the spent batteries I have unearthed. I can just sit and enjoy time passing.
Maybe, just maybe I will get unstuck. Or maybe I won’t, but at least I can learn to enjoy where I am while I wait to get moving again.