A few weeks ago, because of my job, Mr. Donovan and I moved from Kansas City to Los Angeles with our three high-strung terriers.

We haven’t known a lot of people to make a big move across the country in the middle of their lives. And I think there are really good reasons why they don’t.

For me, Kansas City was filled with friends and memories. A few times in the weeks leading up to the move, I had bouts of sobbing as I thought how the best time in my life might be over.

The move involved a lot of serious physical labor. We downsized from a four-bedroom home with a basement and a garage, where we’d lived for many years, to a two-bedroom apartment with far fewer closets. We had a not-well-organized yard sale on a freezing spring day, and we took numerous hauls to the thrift stores. We rented a dumpster to throw things away…and a week later, rented one again.

 

 

Going through all of our stuff was an emotional experience, too. Gifts, exercise DVDs, craft supplies, half-finished projects, and old photos and letters confronted me at every turn with regrets, poor choices, missed opportunities, and loss. The movers broke an award given to Mr. Donovan by his grateful coworkers. (Psst: I’m going to recreate it and give it to him.)

 

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All of our remaining worldly belongings were packed up on a truck that didn’t arrive in Los Angeles until a week after we did. In our new apartment, we slept on air beds, and I shivered because the heat wasn’t working and L.A. was shockingly cold for May. When our stuff finally did arrive, we realized we had to buy lots of bookshelves and furniture with storage. (Mr. Donovan is now an expert at assembling furniture.)

Going through moving boxes was a surreal experience. Vital items — flash drives with all of Mr. Donovan’s writing, the coffeemaker — were mixed in with things that should’ve already been pitched. Fragile keepsakes and half-empty bottles of liquid soap were wrapped in paper with equal care.

Now, as we’re getting settled, some really good things are happening.

My BFF J.R. Boles, who is a genius, suggested Malbec Mondays — a few of us using Google Hangout to get together and drink wine and talk. We’ve already done it once, and it gave me life.

Now that we have gotten rid of so much stuff, I feel lighter…not to mention, incredibly organized.

Instead of emailing and calling my coworkers, as I did when I was working remotely, I get to see them every day and feel like I’m actually part of the company.

This all feels a lot like being in my 20s again.

I remember a For Better or Worse comic by Lynn Johnston in which a senior couple moves into a small assisted-living apartment, and it reminds them of their first apartment as newlyweds. I can relate.

And I remember an ad from some financial services firm that I saw maybe twenty years ago. It showed a mature man standing to the left of his twenty-something son, and it said something like, “You’re excited. You’re starting a new chapter. You’ve got new ideas and plans. You’re the guy on the left.” I loved that ad…and now I know why. It’s me.

 

 

When I invite people at the office to lunch, to get to know them, I remember when I first started at Shoebox Greetings and started getting to know people who mean so much to me now.

Mr. Donovan and I have a big, exciting city to explore. The beach, tourist hotspots, cool neighborhoods… they’re all right here, and it’s a huge adventure.

I had a wish that this year, 2018, would be our “year of romance.” A few months ago, that seemed ridiculous. Now, it seems like it really will be.

 

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Have you ever packed up and started a whole new life…in a new neighborhood, a new part of the country, or even a new country? What was it like for you? I’d love to hear about it in the comments! Thanks so much for reading, and have a great week!