I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve moved. States, cities, neighborhoods, streets and houses blend together in the gypsy-esque carousel of my mind. When I think about the last 15 years I’m bombarded with imagery of different places, cities and homes. A door from one house blends with the bedroom of another and then with the backyard of a place somewhere in time. My memories are not so tightly tethered to places anymore. Instead they shift and drift on the surface of space and time amongst fragmented geography and constant change. Yet, here I sit again. Surrounded by boxes as I slide in to impermanence again.
There are things that are easy to box up, and carry with you on to the next space to become a home, and then there are things that are a little harder. I’m staring at my giant marine aquarium that lights up my office with it’s artificial light. It’s large and prominent in the corner of the room as the filter gurgles, the corals sway in an artificial current and bored fish circle familiar ‘reefs’ for food. What the hell am I going to do with that?
Nevertheless, It’s time for a new era.
It’s funny how we tend to compartmentalize our life. The way we try to structure our existence is odd because life after all, is something so fluid, so dynamic… It is simply pure consciousness. Despite this we dissect it in to pieces as if filing experiences away for easy reference later. Perhaps to be recalled during a late-night dinner conversation over a red wine with the family when you try to remember a story. The story needs a place and a time. All stories we tell have a place and this tends to be the basis of our narrative… A space for the tale to unfold… “When I was in Melbourne”…. “Remember when we lived in Balmain?…” These places become eras of our life. Geographic locations become ‘seasons’ where the episodes of life manifest into physical space. But then comes change and upheaval when you have to move. An era ends and a new one drags you unwillingly into an abyss of unfamiliarity, strangeness and newness. Your voice echoes off sterile unfurnished walls and rooms. No things, no clutter, no life to absorb the noise.
This is where I am now as I pack things away. So many things. There are things that belong in boxes, items that make sense and can be confidently labelled with thick back markers after the satisfaction of sealing up another box with the screech and slap of fresh packing tape. ‘Lounge-room decorations’, ‘kitchen plates’, ‘books’ – all these things are easy. Then there are things that seem harder to box, harder to place… Things they don’t conform to any labeling system or box hierarchy. The Barack Obama money-box with ‘Change’ written on the front, the Buddha heads, the model Tuk Tuk from Bangkok, the toy auto-rickshaw from Bombay, the plastic cable car from San Francisco and the die-cast metal Jeepney from Manila… Surely these items will have to go in an ambiguously labelled box?
So here it approaches again as a sense of uneasiness rises within me and the house slowly empties box by box. Normally I deal with change. I’ve even been known to embrace it. Yet I have to be honest with myself here and say that I am a little over it. Yes, I try to embrace what the Buddhists call the ‘Ani Chan’ way of life. This is an acceptance that nothing is permanent, everything changes and life is in constant flux due to the laws of cause and effect. However if there was an ‘Ani Chan’ scale in which I could rate my life, it would be off the charts. In the last two years I’ve; lost my long-term job, got a new job, witnessed the death of my step-father, got married, moved interstate, had my first baby, quit my job and now looking to move interstate again and start a new job. That’s Ani-bloody-chan for you! In terms of all the big life stressors, well I think I’ve hit them all as if following a sick bucket list in the quest to increase my anxiety – all except marriage and the birth of my daughter of course!.. That is wonderful 🙂
However… I’ve weathered the storm. Not always well, but I survived it nonetheless. Whilst I accept change, I do just hope and pray that this next era, this new season, new space and home for my life to unfold will be a little more permanent and I hope the job I find will be with a healthy, positive organisation where I can dig my heals in for a long prosperous career. Stay tuned for the next season.