I think I’ve become an expert in moving. I’ve moved continents twice. In college, I moved every 3 months for the first 4 years. Then I moved every year, until I settled in for roughly 4 years on the corner of NW 18th and Hoyt in Portland, Oregon. I made the transition from post-college service worker to young professional during those years and the consistency was calming, until it was time to move on.
A new home is a bastion of possibility and a roof to contain loneliness. I eagerly peruse design blogs and plot new ideas to create a feeling of home in an otherwise empty space. At the same time, I’m miles away from the friends I’ve made and known in the past. Possibility and loneliness often go hand in hand. It takes courage to create possibility. It takes a leap to go into the unknown. It takes time for the riches of the leap to materialize and in the interim you have a vast empty space, both physically, and conceptually.
I remember when I first moved to Lugano, Switzerland, after a lifetime spent in Portland, Oregon. I lived on an Ikea bed and stared at the blank white walls for over a month until my furniture arrived. I imagined, and reimagined the possibilities of how I would arrange my new home. I didn’t feel like I was really there until I had a space that felt like a reflection of me. I felt like a visitor, a tourist on an extended stay and I lived my life like that until there were curtains on the windows and chairs on the veranda.
It’s amazing how much our space affects our mental state of being. Am I really in Utah? Do I actually live in Salt Lake City now? Or am I just passing through? While I wait for our furniture to arrive from it’s long and slow journey over the Atlantic, I’m forced to accept the uncertainty of a new situation. Friendships must be rekindled or made. This is the ultimate learning lesson from making a move. There is no one here to do it for me. The logistics get easier and more familiar every time, but to begin again takes courage, determination and imagination. It is the business of building a life from a few grains of sand. In some ways, it’s one of the ultimate acts of creation. You must build anew.