Posted by: Bro | January 15, 2010

Habits and Homes

There are a lot of reasons to set up habits.  They make sure that you do certain things, they make doing those things simple, and, what I really think is the big payoff, they seem to free up mental room to do other things.  This is probably a bad example, but if you have two pieces of toast every morning before your shower, you never have to think about what you’re eating and when.  So, habits – they’re great.

As I pack to move on to another home, I realize that a consistent living space brings the same benefit as a habit.  You can think about a lot of other things if you don’t have to worry about where you are and whether it is home-like enough for you.  For those who have moved only a few times or those who haven’t moved at all, this probably isn’t much of a revelation.  Those who haven’t moved might just be so traumatized by the thought of moving that the cost in mental real estate seems obvious.

I, however, have been moving since I was 11.  At first it was back and forth between parents on a weekly basis.  Then from 13-18, private school was thrown into the mix.  Mom-school-dad-school.  I lived out of a bag and had a vague idea of where my clothes were.  I stopped unpacking at some point.  Then I moved for university.  Despite going to school in the same town for 7 years, I moved at the beginning and end of the schoolyear.  On two occassions I moved back into the same place, but still.  Then on to Ontario.  Since I moved here I have moved annually.

There’s a huge financial cost because furniture never fits a new place just right (especially things like kitchen tables) and there all sorts of costs of moving your services, address changes, renting vans, and the time required to get all of it organized.  You’d think that I’d be a pro at it now, but I am more and more reluctant to do it and so I have become okay with it being a little half-assed.  I’m trying to do it right, but if not, so what?  I buy another plate, I am unpacking at midnight?  I have done that before and it isn’t so bad.

The biggest cost is mental though.  When you move into a place knowing that you’re going to move in about 12 months, it takes a lot of effort to make the place home.  It doesn’t matter whether I will have reason to move in 12 months, because based on past experience, the fact of my moving within a year is approaching a law of thermodynamics.  So why make it home-like if I have to keep the boxes in good condition and at the front of the storage locker?

But then, maybe this will be the place for a couple of years.  We will see.  In any case, I have a kitchen to pack.

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