My life is boxes. I’m being dramatic, but the past 24 hours has involved finding boxes, filling boxes, sealing boxes, moving boxes, stacking boxes, removing boxes, re-stacking boxes, opening boxes and emptying boxes. The move happened and is still happening in so many ways.
The convenient part is that we were just moving my girlfriend into my place. The less convenient part was deciding what to take and what to leave. The move itself was admittedly quite simple. A total of three car loads (with 1-2 van loads coming tomorrow). We’d prepped for an apocalypse. With expectations that we’d be going all day, I made three different types of jelly (what you North American folks call Jell-O) and bought a fuck-off sized (4L) tub of Neapolitan ice cream (my reasoning being that with a tub that size everyone could choose the flavours they liked and we’d inevitably be left with a tub of vanilla). We got up early, had a hearty breakfast and picked up orange juice/beer. If this was gonna be long and arduous, we’d have supplies to keep people trucking along. In the end we had four friends help out and were done in under two hours. Nobody was particularly exhausted and/or felt like ice cream/jelly/beer (given that it was 2pm). My girlfriend and I had a celebratory beer each, we ordered pizza for everyone and hung out drinking tea. It was almost anti-climactic. Now we have a freezer/fridge full of the aforementioned ice cream/jelly/beer. In retrospect, we bought ourselves house-warming gifts without knowing.
Here’s the thing. Putting boxes into cars and ferrying them across town isn’t that draining. Finding places for all the stuff in those boxes certainly is. At the moment we have consolidated stuff that takes up space. Our place has yet to take shape, bringing together our tastes and influences, inspirations for functionality and aesthetic opinions. Right now it’s basically my place, a bunch of boxes and an added cat. It’s not gonna feel fully like our place until my girlfriend’s stuff is accessible. I understand, that takes time. It’s not like I expected us to be all unpacked by the end of the night. I swear anyone capable of unpacking within the first day or so is a bona fide sociopath.
With priorities in place we took care of the kitchen. The cupboards were never organised in a functional manner. The goal has been to put things where they’ll actually be handy. The stuff we’re more likely to access needs to be in arm’s reach. Now the baking equipment has its own place. The spices and raw baking materials are finally separated. The tupperware drawer is functional, organised, neat and temporary. I give us a week until it descends into full on Mad Max style chaos. The plates/bowls have been reshuffled. Our excessive numbers of colanders have been shifted to a more appropriate place. The cutlery competed in a survival of the fittest pit fight where any spoons with shallow bowls or forks with insufficient tines were unceremoniously tossed. With our teas combined, we could soothe a spinster cat lady for a year.
There’s still so much to do, but there are significant signs that we’ve done something. There were points in time over the past week where it seemed insurmountable. There was too much stuff, how would we ever find room? With each task we finish it feels like we’ve passed a new step. They’re accumulating and a picture is starting to take shape that’s larger than its composite parts. The more we’ve done, the easier it’s becoming to see what life together will look like.
I had a moment this morning. We were in the midst of prepping for the move. We’d stopped off at a cafe to gather thoughts and fuel ourselves for the pending job. We were both exhausted and burdened by the weight of what we were about to do. I looked across at my girlfriend glancing down at her cup. A thought percolated in my head: We’re just kids. In that moment it all caught up with me. Nigh on 21 months together and we’ve gone through so much. Relationship steps compiled one at a time. Now we’re bringing our lives together in a whole new way. I’ve never cohabited with a partner before and we’re standing at the threshold of deciding which plates best complement the décor. Discussions about finances, boundaries and accountability with a pressure I’ve yet to face. We’re still just kids and we’re about to take on responsibilities we don’t even realise. It’s scary, it’s unfamiliar and there are moments between moments when I don’t know if I’m ready.
But it’s not about me any more. It’s about us. That’s something I can handle a lot more of.