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Shannon Brady

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Moving day. Again

Alabastor or snow? No, I think we oughtta go with cotton white. Such went the conversation between the man and me as we squinted over the narrow spectrum of shade options for window blinds.

The spectrum of my emotions, however, has stretched the length of an entire Pantone collection as I try to settle into our new home. Moving does that. Jubilation over the spacious, light-filled rooms one moment; teary-eyed frustration over how to heal the cracks in my hands from schlepping a mountain of empty boxes to the curb the next.

home sweet new home

home sweet new home

This isn’t the first time. We’ve moved five times (perhaps more, I stopped counting when Christmas cards stopped coming) in the past six years, by way of Seattle to New Jersey to Pennsylvania and now here, to residence number three in the Boston area. Each move has held a purpose, but better to leave that for another blog post (or therapy book, as soon as I’ve recovered).

No, this post is only a snippet of self-help on the life transition that all of us face at least once in our lives. And even if you’re firmly rooted in Unit 3 on Pleasant Street somewhere and have zero plans of ever stepping foot in an open house, read anyway. I’ve listed some tips that came from our recent move that might help open the alabaster (or do we go with snow??) blind slats a little wider to let life’s brighter side in, regardless whether you change postal codes:

1. A new neighbor can put the spring back in your step. More like a backflip in my case as I lifted the lid on my new home’s trash bin. A raccoon had apparently taken up residence, daring me to evict him as I froze in shock. He eventually crawled out and waddled off, but not before sending my heart rate up to my 10K racing days zone.

a necessary break between moves

a necessary break between moves

2. Crap you no longer want gets a second life. “Just put it in an empty box on the curb and write FREE,” one of our movers suggested. “It’ll be gone by the afternoon.” Size 9 boots; his and her Starbucks Holiday coffee mugs; an awkward-sized flower vase; a suit tie worn on a memorably inauspicious day. Gone. All of it within the hour, repurposed by others giving them new life.

3. A random package opens the door to kindness and connection. Our former duvet cover, loved beyond repair by our shed-happy kitty, had to go. In it’s place on our doorstep arrived a lovely cover from West Elm, packaged in a large box alongside a doll. Several rounds of head-scratching to determine the connection between the two (free gift? overworked and underpaid warehouse worker slip up?) led to a brilliant idea. “I think I saw a mom and little girl go inside the house across the street,” my man recalled. Thirty minutes later we were greeted on the porch by Saeed, her older brother who thanked us profusely and promised to give it to his baby sister.

4. Grocery shopping becomes date night. Our new neighborhood led us to a small-scaled, (“civil”, my husband characterized) Whole Foods market that encouraged lingering. Friendly workers, freshly baked scones, and a couple of burrito bowls later filled our hearts and bellies with gratitude over never needing to do battle in our old store’s parking lot or bumper car aisles of cart-pushing while texting shoppers again. Even if it means springing for the occasional thirty-dollar carrot.

a little hand-standing on my new floor

a little hand-standing on my my new floor

5. I needn’t wait to step onto the studio floor to get present. Walking a new route to get to one of the studios I teach at woke me up long before the first Ohm. Swaddled-up kiddies with their mamas entering a local preschool; a string of cyclists riding along side commuters heading downtown; six muscled men restoring the siding on another local home conversion.  Taking a new route to the same place opens your eyes, ears, and nose to what’s happening right now.

Because life is right now.


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