I hate moving. I don’t like change. I like routines, stability, consistency. I wish I could stay in my little shoebox apartment, but my rent is going up and I can’t afford it. Within the next month, I have no choice but to move to a new home.
The things I’m going to miss about my current living space don’t exactly make sense. I’m not going to miss the occassional roaches or millipedes. I won’t miss not having a dishwasher. I also won’t miss the lack of central heating and air. Most of all, I’ll enjoy not having my power go out every time it storms (thanks, Candler Park). But I will miss the four mile loop I run each day on the Beltline. I’ll miss the people I see every morning on my walk to the train – a family with two elementary aged kids walking to school, a family that got a new puppy several months ago that has now grown into a full sized dog, a girl who rides her bike to school and once told me she liked my shirt. I’ll miss the Kroger where I shop. I’ll miss my neighbors.
Recently, I got teary eyed just thinking about moving, and I was embarrassed at my emotions. I’ve only lived in this apartment for two years, and I haven’t always loved it. It has its kinks. There are times I wished I could move out. I’m also not moving far. I’m staying in the same city, so the area I live in is one I could easily visit any time. Even so, I’ve grown unavoidably nostalgic about leaving my little corner of the city.
Every day at work, I’m baffled by the ability of humans to make a home in any situation. I see guests with systems of suitcases that hold their belongings. I see others with a daily routine – washing their face in our sink, putting on perfume, going to a prayer meeting. When I pass the areas where our guests live, I bear witness to encampments made of cardboard, tarps, and blankets. Some use old cardboard and milk crates to make a night stand. Others use found wooden pallets as a mattress. Humans do not deserve to be cast aside like this, but I cannot help admiring their ability to make a home in the worst of circumstances.
We desire to have a space that is ours, a space of comfort, organization, routine, and safety. This desire is so strong that it grants us the ability to make even the worst of conditions into the best home we can manage.
I am privileged. I have never experienced homelessness or even come close, so in this way my moving woes seem small. However, I think we all experience a sense of mourning when we have to leave what is familiar and safe in order to make a new nest elsewhere. I love my little nest, but I have made new ones before. In my adult life, I moved to college, lived in Costa Rica, spent summers outside of Ashville, moved to Charlotte, and finally landed in Atlanta. While I was not used to moving as a child, having only moved once with my family before heading to college, I have had my share of transitions over the past ten years. I know that I will make a new home where I land, but that doesn’t make the uprooting any easier. For now, I’ll smile broadly as I pass strangers on their way to the bus stop who will never know how much I treasure our silent relationship.