a place to stay

One way to become a minimalist is to have 15 addresses in 8 years.

Our house has gone from a total shambles to starting to clear itself up—all the traces of Nate and me soon to disappear. I am catching a breath on this last day in our first house together, a cottage in a pine forest that’s terribly far from anything useful and is the very definition of a little newlywed nest. We will miss it.

There was a time, maybe for the last year and a half, when leaving any place made me feel physically ill. Going on a weekend trip, coming back from the trip; it wasn’t that I ever hated my destination, just that I was dizzy from the revolving door my life has been since moving North. Between changing dwellings, visiting Nate, flying home twice a year, and attending weddings and holidays, I measured my life in time until the next departure. I was an expert at Greyhound travel and duffel-bag-packing.

I bought some of those big plastic storage tubs and lived out of them when I wasn’t living out of the duffel. A bunch of my stuff has just resided in there for years now; I know where it is and if I need it, I use it, then carefully repack it for the next move. I used the tubs as furniture. They have handles. They have kept my clothes and stuff safe in rain, in suspicious basements, on airplanes, with no tape and no box cutters. I love the tubs. For a while they were the most constant and dependable things in my life.

I don’t know if the place we’re going will be a place we never leave, but I know that South is the right direction. A year ago now, I took a month off to recalibrate my life, and it felt like everything that had ever been true was saying to me that moving North had been a good thing, and that now it is time to come home.

And so this leaving doesn’t feel like illness, but like healing. There are people who love New England, who think that even the bad things about it are, in the end, still the way things should be. I was never going to be one of those people; this leaving was always inevitable.

I’m grateful for our nest. I’m grateful for a husband who believes me when I say I don’t know what my career will be, but this move carries the urgency of a calling. I’m grateful to be moving towards establishing a place to put down roots and pick up responsibilities, a place that becomes part of us and we, of it. Something more than a place to stay.

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