By Faye Alexander
The first time I really moved, I was seventeen. And rather than just moving to a new home in within 1,000 km, my mom packed up all our things and uprooted our family from Montreal to North Vancouver.
It’s a popular idea that moving is one of the most stressful things someone can go through, next to a death and a volatile divorce. My grandmother had passed away; my dad and mom had split up, so I assume my Mom was just looking to complete the trifecta. Having had no prior experiences with moving, and with everything else fraying in the wind, the whole affair was traumatic to my fragile teenage psyche.
I’ve used that little story as a Freudian excuse to justify how absolute dick I have been at moving ever since. Now, at 29 – I have moved a total of 11 times since my trans-Canada transplant. By now, one might get the impression that moving would have become easier or I would have learned how to load a tape gun without screaming or perhaps how to pack in advance. But generally, my moves have consistently consisted of anxiety fuelled sleepless nights, bottles of wine, one frantic day of desperately hauling all my worldly possessions from point A to point B and the sinking feeling that I forgot something important.
Throughout the entirety of my 20s, I had wondered whether moving would ever get easier – or if I was doomed to never receive a full damage deposit back. Spending the majority of my adult years living paycheck to paycheck with bad credit certainly came along with some invaluable lessons; but it makes it easy for things to start feeling hopeless. It makes it hard to get excited about a new apartment in Vancouver, when you’re facing paying over 50% of your total income for a teeny space with a popcorn ceiling and pink mold in the shower stall.
The worst thing about moving is finding friends and family willing to take time out of their lives to do something they won’t overly enjoy. The truth is, I simply don’t have the resources, and my little black book of beefy male friends and strapping lads is, at best, weak. Luckily, I had taken on a roommate who was a blazing hot redhead with a social life. She came bearing loads of dudes, the kinds who drive increasingly bigger which each passing year and hunt bear on the side of the highway. Even so, you had to provide them with pizza and an alarming amount of Old Milwaukee. When I look at how much money I spent on cases of beer, pizza and the amount of time I spent coaxing them to load the truck – was it really worth it?
While I have usually been one to slide piles of random things and empty drawers directly into old wine boxes and beer cases collected from the local Liquor Barn – after ten moves, I knew my system had never really worked in my favour. It had been easy to blame a bad move across the country over a decade ago for my inability to execute a proper move without at least one explosive cry, I was set on making it right: doing things differently, being an adult, evolving.
On a rainy Saturday, I took myself down to U-Haul and purchased a $44.99 starter packing kit, which included bubble wrap, 24 boxes and markers. I gave myself a schedule, I packed in advance, I washed all my clothes, I did all my dishes, and I packed things in boxes that were labeled and organized. It was like I had become a new woman in the next stage of my womanhood. I was roaring like a tiger within with every glass I gently wrapped and packed into a little U-Haul box. I still screamed trying to load the tape gun.
Best of all, I had taken the time to look up a moving service. I was under the belief that moving with a bevvy of men, channeling the cast of Magic Mike, was cost effective but the more I thought about it the greater movers seemed to be. Two Nice Movers, a small local company were just $85 an hour and were willing to disassemble and reassemble my king size bed. I was willing to spend the money, because aside from paying for the movers (who were amazing), I was also just paying a fee for a stress-free move. That was something I had never had before, and it was well worth it.
Something strange happened to me. This overwhelming feeling like I was beginning to get my life together. There is a great sensation that comes along with being able to change your own patterns and stop hiding behind weather worn excuses as to why you can’t get better at something. It’s empowering to feel that you have the ability to change.
Some people adore packing, moving, and reassembling their lives in a new environment, but they’re likely deranged. Sure, the lesson was that you should spend the money and practice the fine art of “TREAT YO’SELF” – but don’t count it out. There is no better feeling than placing value on yourself and your happiness and being able to say confidently “You’re totally worth it.”
Faye is a firm believer in treating oneself to a great manicure, finding serene hideouts and drinking beer on Fridays. Or any day, really. Her social media game is always on point, just like her eyebrows, but she won’t be giving away her secrets.