I’m currently moving out of my apartment in Keene, the place where I once lived with my ex-husband, came into my own in the days after my divorce, and have lived part-time after meeting and marrying J, dividing my days between Newton and Keene. As much as I’ve appreciated the convenience of having an apartment close to campus where I’ve stayed midweek during the academic year, I’m looking forward to living in one place rather than two. The time is right to make the next step.
Reviewing these pictures, which I used to illustrate a 2004 post about my apartment, I marvel at how clean the place was then. In the early days after my divorce, I spent a lot of time alone in my apartment–just me and the dog–so I took care to keep the place neat and livable. After meeting and marrying J, however, I’ve spent less and less time in Keene, driving in to teach my classes or go to meetings and using my apartment as a proverbial place to hang my hat. Gradually, my apartment in Keene has evolved from being my heart’s home to being a place I stay when I’m not home. Although I still enjoy teaching and walking in Keene, I realize do so now as a visitor rather than a resident. My relationship with the place is now migratory, with Keene being a place where I no longer nest.
At the moment, the place where I pupated is looking downright grubby, with dusty piles of stuff I’m sorting through as I work, bit by bit, to move, donate, or sell an apartment’s worth of stuff. I’ve lived in this apartment since 2003, so I have a lot of history (and a lot of stuff) here. As much as I hate moving and want to be done with sorting, weeding out, packing, and moving things between here and there, it feels good to slough off stuff like an old skin. I’m selling some of my furniture on consignment, I’m giving some to my upstairs neighbor, and I’m taking carload after carload of smaller items to the Salvation Army. It feels good to send these things off to their new life: the grateful recycling of things I no longer need. It’s time for both my stuff and me to move on.