On Moving, Adapting, and the Impermanent Nature of Everything

The last little bit to move at my old place.

The last little bit to move at my old place.

In life, there are moves and there are good moves.

A “move” is often the term used for a given course of action, particularly one involving bravery or bravado and occurring after a prolonged period of inaction.

Similarly, one’s approach with a romantic interest may be referred to as his/her “move”.

Other types of moves may be directionally categorized as upward, forward, backward, or lateral.  We “move” to formally propose a change of agenda. In relocating to a new place of residence, we are, in the parlance of the British, “moving house”.

Finally, our “move” is our turn at play in a game.  Some people say that life is like a game and we’re all pawns being shuffled according to other people’s whims. If so, our “move” might have less of an impact on our own fortunes and future than we hope or want it to.

This latter definition was how I felt when I found out I was going to be renovicted from my current apartment: I felt like some wealthy industrialist who didn’t even know I existed (to say nothing for my love and personal need for stability, consistency, and some level of predictability) was manipulating the course of my life to satisfy his own bottom line.

Which, to be clear, is exactly what was happening.

Yet I can’t place the full blame for my situation on my building’s owner.  The truth is, I’d been unhappy there for over a year now due to an impossible-to-reason-with upstairs neighbour who walked only slightly softer than an advancing Roman army on a forced march at midnight … and every other time as well.

(I also had the upstairs loud sex couple that wasn’t even directly above me but rather up and one over, which is, to say the least, very loud indeed.)

But after being thwarted in my initial attempts to resolve these situations, I never bothered to do anything more about them. The thought of moving out of my own volition literally never occurred to me as a course of action.

Sure, I’d joked about it often enough (“I need to find a new place to live before she falls through the ceiling and flattens me.”) and once or twice suggested that once I finished writing my WIP (originally slated for April 1 before all this moving business came to be), I’d consider looking for a new place.  But I’d made no commitments to it nor initiated any arrangements to actually do it.

Impermanence and uncomfortableness

Adaptability, I believe, is humankind’s greatest strength. It allows us to overcome challenges and adversity – to see the eventual benefits and/or blessings of whatever befalls us, and to rebuild ourselves and our lives bigger and better than before.

The famous saying “That which doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” owes its existence to this persistence and resilence of the human spirit.

Adaptability, though, can also be a curse, especially for people like me, who like to keep their impact on the world and the goodwill of others small. It can lead to complacency – to the question of why bother and the observation that in the grand scheme of things, this minor inconvenience doesn’t really matter.

After all, there are so many worse things to complain about in the world, so why be such a hassle or likewise go through all that hassle of trying to fix it?

Which is not an invalid argument to the contrary.

And yet….

I’ve now spent two nights in my new apartment and I’d be lying if I didn’t say it feels weird to be in a new space.  All my belongings are in boxes all over the place; the layout of rooms and walls is completely different (to which my battered hips and toes can attest), and there are so many new sounds that I’m not used to.

To be completely honest, as with most new things, I don’t feel that comfortable in here. Yet.

I need to take the way I feel at this very moment as an important lesson.  Writer and spiritualist Eckhart Tolle states in his book, A New Earth,that both positive and negative change is challenging, which is a big reason why people often choose to adapt to their situation instead.

Tolle also writes that all structures – not just physical, tangible ones – are impermanent.

My new place is bigger, less expensive, on the top floor, south-facing, and is in the same neighbourhood I was so loath to depart as my previous apartment. By all intents and purposes, it is a good move, and I’m sure in due course my comfort with it will grow.

I just need to ensure I don’t get too comfortable.

Do you often adapt to negative situations or are you more likely to seek a change? Does change come easily for you? Why or why not? Tell me about it in the comments.

(Image: J.G. Noelle)

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12 thoughts on “On Moving, Adapting, and the Impermanent Nature of Everything

  1. There’s a great deal to be said for being happy with one’s situation in life. In Britain this was generally accepted in our class-divided society until relatively recently. Then the idea of opportunities for all kicked off and young people in particular were no longer satisfied and actively sought positive change for themselves. I’m not sure that this has led to universal satisfaction 🙂
    No, I don’t like change. My big decisions have rarely turned out well. In my dotage I’m happy to muddle along and hope things remain much the same.

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    • Regardless of whether the outcome is greater satisfaction, I believe the pursuit of “opportunities for all” is much preferable than “opportunities for some at the expense of everyone else”, particularly when youth – for whom we are supposed to leave the world better than we found it – number among the everyone else.

      Personally, I won’t say I dislike change, but Eckhart Tolle’s quote resonates strongly with me. At the outset of any change, whether positive or negative, there’s definitely a period of discomfort I experience before I get used to my new situation. And one of the lessons I’m quickly learning as I get older is that things rarely do remain much the same – that change is always on the horizon waiting to strike – and that rather than trying to prevent it, I’d do better to proactively try to instigate that change myself (to act instead of react).

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  2. Sometimes I would love to move, just me and the smallest possible subset of my belongings, into a tiny house, by myself.

    Unfortunately, the disruption that would lead to that move is something that makes me blanch in horror. But just as I say that if something happened to my husband, every one of his things (except a few photos) would be out on the curb by the end of the week, I would at the same time do the same to MY things, and move into someplace tiny – as long as it is quiet.

    The likelihood? Not high.

    But however painful your situation is to you, realize that some people like me envy you your move to “bigger, less expensive, on the top floor, south-facing, and is in the same neighbourhood” – it sounds wonderful.

    And the worst IS over: you’re already moved.

    May your flow reestablish soon – but be open to the new possibilities as well. And I hope your toes and shins survive.

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    • Yes, you’re right – the worst part of it is over. For me, the worst moment is usually that just before I make the decision to act (either that or immediately afterward when I’m frantically wondering, “Oh God, what have I done?”)

      I’ll be fine in time and thanks for the well-wishes. In the meantime, I’m making a point to keep the spirit of purging extraneous belongings alive as I unpack and put things away.

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      • Great plan. I think all my problems have been caused by living in this house since 1981, homeschooling through a chunk of it, and then getting sick. There is no energy for dejunking, and we probably have 90% of the things we’ve ever bought, because 1) they are still good (including the rotary phone), and 2) we might need them. Yeah. I know.

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      • Yes, you might need it, but should get rid of it anyway. During the Apocalypse, half the fun (and a goodly portion of the plot) will derive from a ragtag group of survivors foraging for necessities. At least that’s what happens in the movies.

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  3. Change would be more palatable when one has the utility of money to improve the situation. Lateral moves are frustrating. If I could wield more financial power and control more outcomes… that would be sweet.

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    • I guess one positive to lateral moves is that it’s an opportunity to do something different – to create some new brain pathways, which is supposed to help prevent dementia and Alzheimer’s. But definitely, more money and control would be great (so long as you use it only for good!)

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      • Interesting. I’d like the money to free up some time for intellectual and artistic pursuits, like intensive keyboard lessons (to enhance my understanding of musical composition rather than to become a piano wizard). I think a positive side effect would be the creation of new brain pathways.

        Getting further settled in to your new place?

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      • Little by little. I’ve been slowed down by the need for a bit more cleaning than I initially thought. The place looked quite pristine when I first moved in, but upon closer examination, I’ve had to do a fair bit of de-gunging (yes, that’s a word) on places, like along the edges of cupboards and drawers, the tracks of the windows, under the stove elements, and the gaps along the sides of the stove top. These latter two especially; I think the dude who lived there previous to me used to cook a lot of bacon. I never liked bacon, even before I became a vegetarian (that smell!)

        I’m going to put in some long days over the weekend to get the rest of the unpacking done, though, for I’m quite close to the end of my novel, but I haven’t been able to write for almost two weeks now!

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