Moving – gathering all your possessions, deciding which ones you really still need and relocating them and yourself to a new home – does strange things to a person. Especially a person in the – shall we say – post-youthful years. It makes you work harder than you thought you could, and it makes you spend an inordinate amount of time looking for stuff. Where did I stash that favorite jacket of mine? The book I was reading? The notes for the book I’m writing? The little rug I wanted for the bathroom? That’s not even the half of it, but you get the idea.
It also makes a deep cut into your energy level. In the midst of the move I’m currently struggling with, I decided to take an eight-week course in how to avoid falls. Why now? Well, it was available and I was, frankly, not thinking too straight at the moment I made the decision. I mention this only to tell you a small anecdote: I was so sleepy during the first class that I nodded off and almost fell out of my chair. The forward motion alerted me and just barely prevented my becoming an object lesson. And a little embarrassed.
Another result of the effort of moving: It has stalled my writing career big time. I’m now more interested in the location of a chair in the living room than in the placement of a comma. Fortunately I believe in the Navajo rug theory applied to writing: Everything has a mistake in it because nothing is perfect. This won’t carry me through a 400-word piece, and certainly will not comfort me for the length of an entire book, but it will help a little. A Navajo weaver might deliberately weave an error into her rug. In my case, I just let one of my mistakes go. And there’s always at least one that all editorial eyes have missed so it’s easy enough to make my manuscript not perfect.
But back to moving. Is there anything good in it? Absolutely. Now that I’m pretty well settled I can honestly say that, in the end, I feel stronger – both physically and mentally – than I did before I started. I can carry more books in my arms and stay awake longer. My sore hip has almost entirely disappeared. And it seems that I can think more clearly. Also more slowly, but in the end more clearly. And – get this – I lost five pounds.
Norma Libman is a journalist and lecturer who has been collecting women’s stories for more than twenty years. You can read the first chapter of her award-winning book, Lonely River Village, at NormaLibman.com.