Everybody knows that moving is a royal pain in the ass. It’s one of those things that instantly initiates an autonomic stress response; it takes you back to all the times you had to do it and you feel this mix of sentiments for those who have to do it now: you’re happy for them and yet you feel sorry for them because you know what an undertaking this is.
It’s one thing when you’re moving up in size…it’s quite another when you’re going the other way. I’m currently trying to move from a spacious 1900-ish square foot 3 bed/2 bath house into what will most likely be a 2 bed/2 bath 900 square foot apartment. Yikes indeedy.
A packrat like me has no business owning a house that big. For what seemed like eternity, we used the place as a med school crash pad, finding ourselves in the frustrating position of being home just long enough to mess things up, but not long enough to tidy back up again (not to mention our energy levels were somewhere south of zero, filing the entire idea of cleaning under “hopelessly not gonna happen”).
I also have this other annoying little problem of not being able to politely decline when people want to give me stuff. I do sincerely appreciate their generosity. Half the time, it’s actually something I can use.
But the other half consists of times when I’ve been too shy to say no when I should have. Mind you, I’m not a Hoarder…at least, not yet, and I’m doing my damnedest to keep it that way; the important difference is that I do have standards. Not only that, but the semi-annual closet cleanout is a sacred ritual, and part of my post-doctoral therapy.
As much as I dread the fact that I am going to be an emotional wreck when leaving our house for the last time, I also look forward to the idea of slimming down and simplifying our lives. I look forward to scaling back to a skeleton inventory of core items we use every day, and filtering through the rest, donating what we’re realistically not going to use and sealing the rest up for some long-term lukewarm storage for a few years while we muster up the courage (and capital) to buy a house again.
For now, I’m OK with the idea of living smaller. We’re not trying to idolize IKEA (“Look! A family of 4 can live in 148 square feet!”
Well, not bloody likely, unless they’re midgets or clinically insane), but at the same time, the girth of our place has outgrown our ability to maintain it properly. A 900-sq ft apartment can still give us plenty of room to live day-to-day and all the practical usable space we’re used to, and yet it’s half the space to have to clean and a place for only half the stuff that up until now, we’ve had to devote mental time and energy keeping track of….energy that should instead be channeled into the practice that’s about to be born. Those future patients deserve the undivided attention of two down-to-earth docs living modestly, liberated from excess material burdens.
Maybe as the practice flourishes and we can afford another house, we could also afford someone to help us keep things neat and clean. Maybe we could even barter with a patient for that service.
Until then, though, we’ll enjoy our simplicity and we’ll just have to work a little harder at politely saying no. 🙂