If that’s movin’ up, then I’m movin’ out.

“If there’s anything I’ve learned, it’s that moving always sucks; it just can suck a little less sometimes.”

That was my career counselor and dear friend, John “Chief” Mann. I just finished moving a couple of days ago, and we were catching up over beers. I had to agree; I’ve moved countless times over the past six years, usually by myself, and it’s never been fun. The times I have been given help, I’ve actually gotten tearful out of gratitude. I can’t help but getting emotional over a move, between “this is the end of an era” and “oh my God, why do I own so much crap?”

I have to say, though, this move was a lot less sucky than usual. Mainly because my roommate, Joe, and I agreed to help each other, no matter how annoying the task may be. We borrowed our neighbor’s truck and moved all of his stuff to his new home, also shuttling items in our cars. Then on Tuesday, we did the same for me. Bless Joe, he even helped me carry my mattress up two flights of stairs, along a super narrow hallway that double-backs three times. The process was exhausting, but it never was overwhelming, knowing we had each other to get it done. Nevertheless, having moved all of our possessions from point A to B was such a relief.

The relief was a little short-lived, knowing that now I had to unpack it all and fit it in the open spaces of my new home, already occupied by my friend Megan. Luckily, I wasn’t down-sizing on this move. (I was reminded of the pain of down-sizing this morning when my grandmother accidentally butt dialed me. We ended up chatting for a bit, and she lamented that she and my grandfather are still unpacking boxes. They moved 6 months ago.) As I unpacked one box and bag at a time, I marveled at how much space I had. Everything I owned fit somewhere, and in fact, there was room to spare. I don’t know if that’s ever been the case for me.

This move is a significant upgrade for me. When I moved into this last apartment, I was just relieved to have found a space in the Springs. I had been furloughed from work and had moved in with my friends’ parents in Basalt, Colorado, while I tried to figure out my life. Once I had some reassurance that I’d be brought back to the office, I decided to house hunt with Joe, who I’d discussed living with months prior. We weren’t hearing back from any realtors, no matter what we did. At last, this cheap apartment came through when we established human contact with the property management. It was super affordable and in the right location; what else do you need?

Turns out, living in this apartment meant hearing dogs barking and people yelling (usually at each other) at literally any hour of the day. Every day at 8:00 a.m., our upstairs neighbor would yell “Oh my GOD!” inexplicably. Downstairs, this mom screamed at her kids. A dog upstairs howled in misery from 6:45 a.m. to noon, daily. Somebody took to singing Lizzo, loudly and poorly, on a regular basis. The police were regular visitors. The courtyard was full of dog poop, children’s toys, and general debris. The parking lot was full of abandoned cars. Joe put it best when he noted, “The general theme of this apartment building is being completely inconsiderate of other people.”

It wasn’t all bad. For one, the inside of the apartment was good. Joe had little preference in the design of the space, so I could make it pretty much my own. We had enough room. It was warm and cozy. Further, in the last few months, we started making friends with our neighbors, particularly Joe. After the neighbors to our left got evicted in January (definitely domestic violence of some kind), some new, normal, and cool neighbors moved in. We’re hanging out Sunday, in fact.

That being said, it really does feel like moving out is moving up for me this time. Megan’s two-bedroom townhouse has a garage, is located in a safer, cuter part of town, has a back patio and front porch, and boasts a killer view of Pikes Peak. The kitchen isn’t the size of a shoebox. There are multiple floors. And as I said before, I have so much space.

Filling the space has felt so positive. With each item finding its respective new home, I feel that much more settled and at peace. And each item brings back the memories of past homes and spaces that it occupied. After setting up my bed, the most important aspect of unpacking is always the posters, photos, and paintings on the wall. Blank walls drive me nuts. And I just so love watching how my posters have traveled through time, from the walls of my rooms at boarding school, to college, to off-campus housing, to my apartment, and now here. At times, I think I’ve grown out of these colorful concert posters and goofy photos of my friends plastered on all four walls. But then I remind myself why they bring me such joy — they bring me back to old times, old chapters in life.

I don’t think I will miss my apartment, but I will miss my neighbors. I’ll miss living with Joe. Heck, I’ll miss (some of) the absurd/sketchy shenanigans that occurred there on a regular basis. But it feels good to take up some space elsewhere.

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Manifest - Andrew Bird

May 21, 2021