Do you remember your childhood bedroom? How the sheets seemed to wash themselves and the shelves used to hoard all of your knickknacks like a hamster at a food dish? There was always room for one more mixtape and one more snow globe and one more participation trophy? And in your dresser there was always a drawer designated for crumpled socks that were neither clean nor dirty and unsharpened pencils and wish lists and deflated party favors and school papers with low marks and panties with archetypal stains? There were holes in the walls and cracks in the paint and splinters in the door and scuffs on the floor and they all tell the story of your youth in braille. This was your room, your space in the world. It was where you lay your head at night, and in those early moments in the morning before you opened you eyes, you know exactly what you'd see when you did: your room.
The first time you move, you're forced to divide your life into boxes. It's the first time you'll look at your possessions that way. Panties can only be clothes, or memorabilia, they can't be both. And notes can only be papers and not pieces of your heart. That shirt you had your first kiss in is too small to wear anymore and is not getting packed. Your sense of stability and the comfort of home leaves when you do.
For some people, they'll only have to pack up their lives once or twice. But if you have to travel for work, or jump hard into relationships, or are fickle or fanciful or free or sick with wanderlust, you'll get used to the deep kinds of paper cuts you get from cardboard boxes and the way you decorate your new room like your last room, the way someone might transfer desks at work. And if you're a serial mover like me, these are some of the things you might be all too familiar with:
The "Paint The Walls" Fantasy
You've never lived in one place for more than a year or two so you've never had an opportunity to paint the walls. The idea seems so romantic and stable to you that you begin to fantasize about living somewhere long enough to do it.
You move so often that your address is never up-to-date. The thought of changing your drivers license or official postal address gives you a lot of anxiety. You know you'll just have to change it again once your lease is up, so why bother?
On And To The Next
You've subconsciously trained your brain to never get too attached to one place. No matter how happy you are with your current home, you're already thinking about the next one, because that's become the normal for you.
"Where Am I?"
You've had so many bedrooms at this point, when you wake up from a deep sleep you genuinely have no idea what you're going to see when you wake up. There have been so many early morning views for you already.
Zip Code Chapters
The one convenient thing about moving so often is that it's easy to remember what happened when. Just think about what home you were living in and you'll be able to patch up any holes in your memory.
Your pets actually believe that it's normal to move every year, because it's all they've ever known. They move in, get to tear apart boxes, pee on some new carpets, scratch up some new floors and terrorize some new neighbors and do it all over again.
Knowing What's Special
Each time you move, you'll get rid of a lot of excess. Whatever you keep, you have to carry, so you'll be smart about what's important. The things that you take from home to home will become increasingly important to you, they're the closest thing to stability you have. That one poster that's made it across the country and that one dreamcatcher you took from you childhood bedroom is your home.