So as our mother mentioned on FaceBook a few days ago, our parents, the people who raised us, are moving halfway around the world to Australia. This is something both Sara and I support (if anyone gets to visit them, it’s their children) but it has been stressful. And that stress is mainly because we have an entire house that now needs to be emptied of everything but essentials.
Because of this, I recently had to take apart my childhood bedroom. Luckily I had done a major clean about two years prior, so it wasn’t quite the overwhelming shit-storm it could have been. Instead it was a relatively quiet few days where I striped my walls of posters and newspaper clippings and scrubbed off all the old paint. It was cathartic, it was slightly embarrassing, and it was also pretty fun. I like starting over and taking a part my room felt like starting over.
But it made me think a lot about tradition and what I find important in my life. When I was growing up my parents didn’t stake a lot in tradition. We had routines sure, but beyond hosting Christmas and going to the same summer camp every year, there weren’t any activities or family heirlooms that spoke of “THE GREAT DANVER FAMILY HISTORY” (even typing that felt pretentious).
The only reason why this is important enough to think about is that we are now losing a lot of our stuff, a lot of our “traditions” and “heirlooms,” because of this move. I suddenly had to think about what art and books and furniture I would want to have in the future, if I wanted any of my parents stuff. And if I didn’t want any of it, it would be donated or simply thrown away.
This is a very weird thing! I’m having a hard time envisioning my future right now for a number of different reasons, but on top of this, I had to decide if there was something I might want for a house of my own someday. Sure we aren’t a very tradition-oriented family, but my parents instilled in me a fondness and a sense of history for many of our possessions. These were things I saw everyday I grew up. They’re very important to me because of the memories they carry.
I guess the reason I am having trouble with this move is because, I have to admit, I wasn’t expecting this. Yes I knew I would have to take apart my room at some point and that inevitably my parents would downsize to a smaller place. I didn’t really think I would have my house in its current state forever. But I think there’s a difference between downsizing and a complete shedding of your previous life. My home base is no longer my home base. And another family will be walking through those halls.
So what makes a home base? Is it your family? Is it the routine you establish there? Is it a combination of all your most prized possessions and people? I honestly don’t really know. A year into living on my own, I’ve had this idea in the back of my head that if I failed or if something didn’t work out I could just go home to Alexandria and start a new life. But this isn’t really an option for me anymore. Hoboken has, essentially, become my home base now.
This isn’t something I am SUPER EXCITED about nor is it filling me with dread. Honestly, it’s just another part of growing up. As an individual, my home can be wherever I want it to be. I’m excited about the possibility of creating new homes with parts of my old ones. I’m excited to get back to the essentials of my life, to know exactly what I need and what I don’t. And I’m excited to change. I think I used to be scared of change a lot more than I am now. And though I might not have traditions or heirlooms that speak of generations upon generations of greatness, I’ve got the greatest collection of people I know doing amazing things with their lives; things they are willing to share with me. And that’s worth more than most things…probably anything.