I’ve done this over a dozen times. By now, it’s almost routine. I have a piece of paper that lists all of my possessions, and I check off each one as it goes into a box. The boxes are different sizes (and some of them are suitcases) so I keep track of which things go in which box, to fit things in the smallest space. All my clothes fit in two bags and a suitcase. All of my books fit in two boxes. My school supplies go in one box, my juggling equipment in another, and my electronics in a third. All the boxes fit into the trunk of my parents’ car, and tomorrow (today, actually, because I’m publishing this the day after I wrote it) I’ll drive six hundred miles to my new apartment.
I do this a couple of times every year, when I move to or from college. I live with my parents during the summer, and visit them over breaks. Every few months, I make that six hundred mile journey, usually with a couple of bags and my laptop. But at the beginning and end of the school year, I make that trip with nearly everything I own. One of the perils of not having a permanent residence, I guess.
You’d think I would be able to take it in stride. After all, I’ve done this more times than most people, and I’m really good at it. I’d go so far as to say that packing all my things, stuffing them into a car, and driving for hundreds of miles is a skill that I possess.
And yet I’m nervous. For some reason, moving always makes some small part of me completely terrified. It tells me that there’s a hundred things that could go wrong. I could forget something important, or the car could break down, or something valuable might break in the move, or or or. At home, I can always turn to my parents for help or advice, along with home cooked meals and fewer responsibilities. Six hundred miles away, I don’t have that luxury.
That’s really what I’m afraid of, I think. Part of me is worried that I don’t know how to take care of myself. I’ve only been doing it for a few years (only) so I don’t have the wealth of experience that I assume other people have. Living on my own means venturing into the unknown, without any sort of safety net.
“What if you screw up?” says that little voice in my head. “What if you do something wrong, and you die, or you explode something, or you get stranded twenty miles away from your apartment because you missed the last bus? It would be so much easier if you never left home, and you lived with your parents for the rest of your life. They can take care of you forever, and you never have to worry about anything ever again!”
Adulting is scary. I’m not sure I’ll ever be totally used to being on my own and doing things for myself. I do know, rationally, that moving across the country to go to college is much better than staying with my parents, but it’s hard sometimes to convince myself of that. Still, I spent the last few days packing up my life and putting it in a trunk, because I know I have to, whether all of me likes it or not.