Moving is not failure

We’re up earlier than usual, watching the sunrise, and our home is almost empty. The morning is crisp and pink, the soft blues of the sky are losing the fight up there between the intergalactic purples and oranges engaged in mortal combat. Down here though, things are just as chaotic. We’ve torn up the rugs and pulled off the mirrors. Everything is in boxes now and we’re in the process of slowly, stressfully, moving them into our new place.

In just a moment, light will stream in through the kitchen and we know precisely how the sunrise will trace itself across the valley outside. Back in my office, with a cup of coffee in hand, we see the bare walls, the empty space where the font posters once stood. The books are gone, too. Now all that’s left is a desk and, man, I wrote like hell in this little room. I got stressed out all the time and sat on my couch, I paced around wondering how I was gonna design this one little thing, and I made weirdo websites in between breaks of stopping to look up at the houses perched on the hill on the other side of our apartment.

The cat trees and cat caves and little hiding places—for the seal-like Luna and the goblin-like Mia—have been moved to the new place already. In this apartment though the girls will never run along the corridors in the mornings again. Luna will never lead us into the kitchen and over to the snack drawer, meowing silently, and Mia will never get stuck behind the fridge again.

This place was our first reef. We got new jobs, we cried in bed, we hiked up the hill and all over this neighborhood, we gossiped in the kitchen, we walked the dog around the block and picked the boy up when he refused to climb the stairs. We laughed until it hurt and we waited for my green card here.

“Moving always feels like failure,” a friend told me a few days ago. And it’s true. You can’t help but feel that this place was your place, the only place you could ever be. It’s as if you’re throwing away all this...something...only to replace it with something else that might not be as special. Something that might not be yours. It feels disrespectful to all those memories of sunsets and sunrises and giggles in the hallway. Moving into a new place feels like cheating.

But the more we pack, the less attached we are. We slowly realize that this home wasn’t important because of the valley outside, or the way that light trickled in, or the kind neighbors who held our packages for us. It wasn’t important because of the big windows or the long hallway or the snugness of my office in winter. It was only important because we were briefly here. And now we’ll make somewhere else important; we’ll build it up, move in all our stuff, and over time I’m sure that we’ll make it just as snug, just as important as this place was. We’ll take our giggles and tears and even brighter sunsets too and we’ll move them into another corner of San Francisco that we can call our own.

And then, I’m certain, it won’t feel like failure.