Boxes, Boxes, Everywhere…

Growing up I didn’t have to worry about moving from house to house all the time. In fact, the entire time I lived at home we only moved twice, and it wasn’t a great distance either time, just a mile or so. We did have some friends who moved every year or two so I got plenty of experience with the moving process, but it was all secondhand and had no emotional aspect.

Heading off to college started me on a more turbulent path as far as residences and I quickly got the hang of tossing everything into boxes that became more generically labeled the closer to moving time it became. After a few years of that back-and-forth of my main schwag with a reserve at home, it came time to move out for good, dropping south from Alabama to Florida, getting married a few months later. That house worked for us for a year or so before moving onto my wife’s campus for another couple years. After she graduated we trekked up to Atlanta, spent two years in one apartment, then moved to another where we’ve stayed the past two years.

Obviously there are negative aspects of moving, as it’s a hassle to take everything that you own, pack it into a form that can be safely transported, then unpack it once you’re at your new destination; and I’ll be the first to admit that I can be a bit bad about the third part of that…the unpacking. In fact we’ve had a closet full of boxes that haven’t been opened since our last move, but in my defense they’re mostly books that I am really wanting to keep and put into a personal library where I can read them. Heck, after all this time the stories are new to me again.

This side of things has been keeping me busy lately as I’ve been sorting through these varied boxes, and I’m rather proud of myself for toughening up and throwing out a lot of the gathered debris from my life. I’ve gotta face facts…I’m never going to re-read my notes from Calculus 3, as if I could ever make out my chicken-scratch anyways. And even when it comes to the books I’ve been harsh. There are several stacks on the floor that are waiting for a yard sale or goodwill dropoff. Yes, it feels good to be clearing things out, both for the feeling of the fresh start and for the knowledge that it’s that much less junk that I’ll have to haul from Atlanta to Huntsville.

There is another aspect of this sorting and packing experience that I do enjoy. See, perhaps I’ve spent too much time hanging out with girls, but I have a tendency to save mementos and sentimental knick-knacks. There are some items that I run into every time I go through these boxes, but each move I have to slow down to peruse them. From high school I’ve got yearbooks and pictures. Newspapers and notes snuck during classes. Even that senior memory book that cost way too much and which I only halfway filled out because I was a super-nerd and had little connection with pop culture at the time. College brings letters between friends, journals, and sermon notes from churches in Mississippi, Alabama, and even Florida. And the pictures, you can’t forget the pictures. There are other things too…be it year books and autograph pages from elementary school or the uber-detailed schedule from a high school mission trip or even my junior high journal my English teacher made us keep. Lots and lots of memories, and these are the things that I keep. Sometimes I grab Treeva and regale her with a story that she’s heard every other time we’ve moved and other times I sit in silence, remember people and places and the fun that was had. Another time I might have to laugh at myself for thinking a certain way or for obsessing over a girl that clearly had no interest in me. It’s all important because it’s all part of who I am.

I think this is why I somewhat enjoy moving. These memories in physical form aren’t things that could be easily categorized or put on display. No, they are fated to be in a box (probably the same one through ten moves the way I reuse them) for the rest of their lives. When that box is in a closet it’s easy to forget about it and the precious treasures held within, but these moves lead me to rediscover the highs and the lows of my past, and that right there can make it all worthwhile.


~ by Jason B on April 9, 2007.

4 Responses to “Boxes, Boxes, Everywhere…”

  1. don’t you just love boxes

  2. aah pictures. Gotta love them…especially ones of RA vests being modeled, Bob-the-builder underwear gag gifts, I even have some from some birthday celebrations that came to life through decorating specific cars. Fun times. Definately Good, Fun times.

  3. dude…join the club. I’m a pack rat at heart, and I struggle all the time to overcome the urge. I know what you mean about old school notes…I actually just threw out most of my college work. Like you, I figured when in the heck am I ever going to get that stuff out again and try to decipher the code I have long since forgotten. Whatever you decide to take to Goodwill, make sure you make a list of it and get s receipt. Tax deduction. We deducted quite a bit for Goodwill donations last year. I, too, have a tendency to save anything and everything with the slightest sentimental value. I have a “special box” that my mom gave me with stuff of that very sort. It started with my hospital bracelet from birth all the way to stuff I continually add. The box probably weighs 60lbs! When do you move?

  4. hmm…well, I can’t say that I envy you the packing. Or the whole “moving with no real safety net” idea. But I do envy you on the doing something different. (And don’t get started on us moving to H’ville! We’re still praying. 🙂

    And yes, I finally meandered over to read your blog. You can pick yourself up off the floor now. Just don’t tell Keven. I’m supposed to be reading his book!!!

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