On Moving

I am so stressed out about moving.

Moving is overwhelming. I remember when I moved away from Bloomington, thinking I didn’t have much stuff and could put off packing, it wouldn’t take long. I actually had a ton of stuff and packing took forever. This time I am determined not to stay up until all hours the night before my move, so I’ve already started packing. I really don’t have that much stuff now. I have more fabric than anything else. I have gotten rid of so many clothes that my closet is manageable. I still have a lot of shoes but so, so many fewer than 3 years ago in Indiana. 2.5 shelves of books, a few boxes of kitchen items, 2 boxes of art supplies. I have lots of art to transport and one big box just of blankets (I really love blankets). It’s not that bad. It’s still overwhelming though, or is it just whelming? Is it just exactly the amount of whelm that it should be? What does that even mean?

I’m stressed about packing because it’s a lot of work, it’s chaotic, and it reveals all the literal dust bunnies that have accumulated in my life. Although, it’s a good opportunity to throw shit away (or donate it. I tried to sell some stuff but that requires a lot more energy than I can muster.). Because there is a lot of work required to pack and because I have things all over this small house, I feel guilty when I’m not packing. Because I am so stressed out, I’m taking a lot of breaks to rest and to feel guilty about not packing.

It’s not just the physical acts of moving that are stressing me out. There are crazy questions storming my head all the time. What if I actually hate my new place? I was desperate to find a place when I went to see it, and it was in really bad shape. The woman who was living there had truly disgusting house-keeping habits and had a stripper pole in the living room (to be fair, she was a topless dancer and kudos to her for the professional development) and a serious Halloween theme going on. I’m pretty sure I saw the beauty of the house behind the piles of clothing and weird, giant teddy bear in the bedroom, but what if I was blinded by desperation?! I can’t remember the exact floor plan so all my preliminary mental decorating could be setting me up for a huge disappointment.

Also, what if I become a total hermit? I really enjoyed living alone for the few months I did it in Bloomington, and I’ve been dying to live alone again for years. My tendency towards staying home and reading or sewing or watching Netflix every evening, when there is absolutely no one there to talk to, could set me up for an early spinsterhood (I think, crazily). What if I fall into a terrible pattern of going to work, going home, turning the TV on, and slowly dying—alone?!

What if I hate living in Durham?!

What if the light is bad and all my houseplants die?!

What if I suddenly suck at decorating and my house is ugly?!

What if anything at all comes up and I can’t afford my new, higher rent?!

What if it’s haunted by a malicious spirit who resents my living in their corporeal home?!

WHAT?! WHAT IF?!! WHAAAAAAAA?!!!

I think I’m stressing out my cat.

Change is hard. More than one change at a time is really hard. There are at least 3 big changes I can think of in my life right now. A bunch of planets are in retrograde. I’m on my damn period.

It’s all going to be okay.

Unless there’s a ghost.

How To Ease Money Stress

How to Ease Money Stress | Whisper & Howl

OMG have I been stressing out about money. Some unexpected expenses have come up this month on top of my new car payment. Long story short, always file your state taxes or they will take a major chunk out of your ass in oh, 6 years time. Like a surprise $1000 chunk out of your ass. Like, your entire savings. It might also happen on the day that the security deposit is due on the house you want to rent. I’m just saying, it could turn out that way. That would probably be pretty stressful. If that happened to you, you might find yourself spiraling into anxieties about having no Emergency Fund where mere days ago there was a nice $1000 balance, or how you were definitely going to have enough money saved to not use your credit card for the big trip you have planned for the fall, or how it might take years to pay off your credit debt. Your brain might jump ahead to next year, when the landlord of your new house will probably raise the rent because they “don’t do” 2-year leases, and you’ll have to move again or spend even more money on rent, money that won’t be saved up for a down payment on a house, and you won’t be able to afford to live anywhere you want anyway because gentrification. Also, you might hate all your clothes and want to buy new ones and also be thinking about needing new furniture and why didn’t you include moving expenses in your very optimistic savings plan in the first place?!

If this happens to you, there is one tactic I know of that can calm the financial fear monster. No, it’s not budgeting, because planning in this scenario sometimes leads to severely overthinking, nay, obsessing (although yes, you should be budgeting).

I’m talking about gratitude.

There’s something about making lists of things for which I am grateful that is very soothing. Maybe it’s the list-making. Maybe it’s the realization that I have everything I need at this moment, that I’m safe and comfortable and free and surrounded by good things. Maybe it’s the reassurance of the Law of Abundance, that the universe provides, that all will be well. Maybe it’s just a distraction.

I don’t know. It just works.

My recommendation, should you find yourself in this situation, is to find a quiet moment in a cozy place. Take deep breaths. Light a candle. Make it a ritual. Focus your energy on gratitude. Give thanks to the goddess, the universe, God, light, the source, your own wits and talents and strength–whatever makes you happy. Grab a beautiful journal if you’d like. I write on scraps of paper and stash the lists in my God box (a great idea from Tosha Silver).

Sometimes it’s a stretch. I start with easy things and move on from there. Sometimes they are simple things, sometimes complex. Often, they’re related to things I’m stressed about. I remember all that I have and forget all that I don’t have, or can’t see that I have; the things I think will make me happy, the things for which I’m grasping; the things I’m afraid of losing or am afraid I will never have. I keep listing things until I feel better. That’s it. It’s not a cure, but it helps.

  • I am grateful for my family.
  • I am grateful for Devo!
  • I am grateful that my hair is finally long, even though it was kind of greasy today. High ponytails make a great swish when I jog.
  • I’m grateful for the park where I jog. Or, let’s be honest, speed-walk. I’m grateful I can speed-walk.
  • I’m grateful for kombucha and to the friend who brought me SCOBYs from his restaurant even though he was studying and has a small child. That was extra generous.
  • I’m grateful that I have a job that I LOVE.
  • I’m grateful for my cute little car that doesn’t feel as though it will break down at any minute. Driving is fun again!
  • I’m grateful for the Maximum Fun podcast network, especially Jordan, Jesse, Go, which makes me laugh my ass off.
  • I am grateful that the manager at the GAP let me exchange those jeans with the broken zipper for a new pair, even though I bought them a year ago, and to the customer service person who emailed me back and told me to bring them in. The new ones are better than the old ones.
  • I am grateful for the bugs making sweet music outside my apartment.
  • I’m grateful for my teachers, even the ones who make shit really hard, like Saturn.
  • I’m grateful for this really fun book, The Name of the Wind, that I’m totally enjoying (and for the friends who lent it to me).
  • I am grateful that I am incredibly wealthy in love, friendship, and support.

See? Not so hard. I feel better already.