I packed the first boxes this week. I started with the spare room, which holds my out-of-season clothes, a cupboard full of wrapping paper, gift bags, and related items, a couple of bookshelves, and not much else other than the futon-sofa-bed, the ironing board, and the wireless router. I thought this would be a fairly simple room to begin on.
I wasn’t far wrong. I ended up with one stuffed garbage bag, three boxes for donation, three for moving, two for paper recycling. The hardest part was sorting the books. I don’t buy a lot of books, and so what I have are ones I will tend to re-read. So, not surprisingly, I ended up keeping most of them, sending a dozen or so to the thrift store and another dozen or so (collapsing, yellowed paperbacks) to recycling.
What surprised me is how it made me feel. Two winters ago, not working due to health issues but with a fair bit of energy much of the time, I cleaned and culled almost every room in the house. That was actually fun: I was focused on de-cluttering my life, and it gave me something to think about that wasn’t my health. This process now isn’t depressing, but it does make me a little bit sad. As much as I like our new house and just about everything about it – the layout, the neighbourhood, the city it’s in – I’m still a little bit sad to be leaving this house and this village after twenty-two years. I suppose that’s normal.
We’re leaving because it’s time to, because the new house and its location is better for my health and BD’s, easier for me to walk and bike every day, less stress for both of us in driving back and forth to town for everything we need. It’s also only twenty years old, not a hundred and twenty, and won’t need the constant and sometimes exhausting maintenance this one does. But while the neighbourhood is nestled between the university’s arboretum and its nature reserve, and attached to the city’s multi-use trails – all good things, and the defining reason for buying there – we won’t be looking out on twenty acres of woodland, as we do now. (On the other hand, we’ll actually be able to sit on our new deck and not be eaten by mosquitoes between April and October.) We won’t have foxes running through the garden, and red squirrels beating up the larger black ones, and the wild turkeys coming to the feeders…but I also won’t be paying a small fortune to have a nest of raccoons removed from my fireplace chimney, as I am on this coming Monday. Compromises.
The three boxes have gone to the thrift store, the boxes to be moved are taped and labelled. Garbage and recycling waits till next Thursday. The spare room is basically done. Tomorrow I’ll start on the bathroom – just the cupboards there, really, to be done.
And while part of me is sad, part of me is excited. I mull over paint colours and window treatments as I drive. I think about light fixtures. But mostly I think about what my daily routine will look like, about being able to walk or bike into nature from my front door, but also bike to the grocery store and the public library. To attend plays or hear speakers or listen to concerts at the university and walk home in fifteen minutes. To access the university library seven days a week, instead of only weekends when the parking is free. All of that makes me smile. Sad and happy, an end and a beginning, goodbye and hello.