Guess what I should be doing right now?
Guess what I'm actually doing?
Anything but unpacking.
I'm overwhelmed at times about how much STUFF we have. It feels endless. And yet, it all fit neatly into a truck and was easily transported across the country. Lance and I would have made terrible pioneers. We would have needed a whole wagon just for his music, and another for my kitchen gadgets. Gone are the days when my life fit into a tiny Toyota station wagon or two suitcases. It started slowly. A lamp here, a bed there. A kitchen table and chairs. Calphalon cookware for Christmas one year, an antique wardrobe the next. Then I married a man with more stuff, and then it just multiplied from there. Like rabbits. Or hipsters. Is this how every episode of Hoarders starts out? I hope not.
The last four months have been spent in tiny guestrooms on futons, both of which were graciously provided by generous friends. They let us use their stuff while we left ours in an anonymous storage unit so we could save a little money, and figure out how to navigate leaving one life and transitioning to another life. The crazy thing is, we didn't miss our stuff. Not a bit. Okay...I missed my pans, and Lance missed his music, but that's it. Just our two wagon's worth. But living in one room for 150 days gave us both some valuable lessons. Here are a few.
It is impossible to stay angry at your spouse for long when you occupy 200 sq ft. It's just way too uncomfortable. There is also NO ESCAPE. No refuge in the far corners of your roomy 500 sq ft apartment, or sleeping on the couch. The only option is to swallow your pride and work it out. The futon is just too small for egos and the need to be right.
Everything in your immediate grasp becomes an obstacle or necessity. That pan I thought I just couldn't live without for four months? Space waster. That toiletries bag that seemed kind of bulky and unwieldy? Can't live without it. 37 articles of clothing that must be hung up? Silliness. Same goes for the four cases of limited edition St. Arnold's Divine brew. (Sorry, babe.) Netflix streaming video on the laptop before bed? Marriage-saver.
Friends who let you stay with them for two months at a time are superheros and deserve their own place in heaven for putting up with you, your stuff, and your transient lifestyle.
Everything and everyone will get on your nerves, even if you posses the patience and fortitude of the Dalai Lama. Some people might call this character building, I call it inevitable, so just stay with it and learn something about yourself.
We really do love our new apartment. It's beautiful and bright and homey. It feels enormous to us. We have quadrupled our living space. For the first time in our marriage, we have a second bedroom. We have enough storage to fake being minimalists, (and hopefully forfeit our spot on Hoarders). We can each have our space to study, play, organize, and rest. I hope we always remember how big this space is, how our stuff ultimately doesn't make our lives better or more fulfilling, and that we can always choose something else even if it seems impossible given our circumstance. And if all else fails, we know we can live in one room and be happy.