Justin and I calculated it, and if you count college summers (in which your entire dorm room has to be emptied out), I have moved every summer since my high school graduation in 2001, and Justin has moved every summer since 2002. This means that I have moved every year for the last decade, or for my entire adult life and married life: four years of college, one year after college in New Haven, one year in Washington, two apartments in Korea (first year here; second year here and here), one year in Edinburgh (here) and then here to Japan (on the old Educated Burgher blog here and here).
But this year, we're staying put. It's bewildering. I've moved so many times it's just a part of the annual routine. For us, spring is that magical time of year when a young man's fancy turns to dismay that he ever bought it in the first place. New life begins, old leases terminate; buds open, bank accounts close. March comes in like a lion and goes out in a cardboard box.
I'm genuinely worried that I'm psychologically unable to transition to summer without moving. For the last few days I've snuck downstairs to coworker Dayle's place to help her with her packing (she's on to Turkey next year). Today, I dismantled my entire classroom.
Don't get me wrong, moving really sucks. It's expensive, it's exhausting, it's disheartening and uncomfortable, and every year I reach the point where I consider pushing whatever I have left into a giant pile and setting it on fire. I think some years it might have been cheaper for us to start over than to pay shipping.
There's one thing I love about moving, though, and that's the annual purge of accumulated junk. Books I won't reread. Clothes I don't wear. Shoes that don't fit, no matter how much I want them to. (I'm still in denial on the cute black heels) Piles and piles and piles of paper, all into bags and into the trash, recycling, or donation bins, as appropriate. As painful as the moving process is, it is so satisfying to see those bags of junk flying out the door and out of my life. It is also great to arrive at the new place, unpack, and feel smugly Thoreau-ian, at least for the forty-five minutes it lasts before I clutter it all up again.
I suppose I can go through the apartment without moving... but without the sword of Damocles of imminent eviction, it is significantly harder to motivate myself!