On moving, stillness and cardboard cocoons

“Books.” “Office supplies.” “Picture frames/Turkey souvenirs.” My entire life rests in boxes and their corresponding labels, it seems. Memories, portraits, friends, experiences, failures and triumphs neatly organized in one- or two-word labels, quieted inside each cardboard cocoon.

Between moving out of my college apartment, back to my childhood home, then to my new apartment downtown, along with the recent rearrangement of the office where I work, packing and rifling have practically defined the early era of my post-grad life.

Moving unnerves and exhausts me — but I can’t blame stair-climbing or lifting part of it. My mind naturally and somewhat cruelly shifts from, “Where should this go?” to, “Where has this been?” And without warning, I’m perched in the middle of the floor, surrounded by a lopsided ring of souvenirs, photo frames, blackmail-worthy childhood photos and handwritten cards from my little sisters.

Maybe if I put them in a neat, little circle, they’ll make more sense, feel less overwhelming. “That happened years ago. You should be over it by now,” I tell myself as I sit here, boxes and mementos surrounding me like a fortress of sorts. I know I should return to unpacking, alphabetizing, color-coding and organizing. Like the responsible, productive big kid I’m trying to become.

But there’s something about moving that makes the stillness sweeter, reminding me it isn’t a sign of laziness or in this case, procrastination, but a lifelong means of reflection — something I should pursue consciously.

I’m tempted to organize the mayhem, to put everything in its new place as quickly as I can to curb the blitz of memories. But adulthood, I realize, isn’t as much about an organization system or sophisticated décor (my father says Andy Roddick posters don’t count, by the way) as it is about integrating positive thought patterns and behaviors. About finding peace in stillness.

2 thoughts on “On moving, stillness and cardboard cocoons

  1. Lola

    I’m so glad I happened to find you on twitter! This is beautiful. It resonates a lot with my recent moves – back from London, to my parents’ home, then to Philadelphia. I say ‘recent’ even though it was over a year ago now, but that resorting and resettling of my life has stuck with me enough that it still feels like yesterday.

    My dad grew up in Istanbul, and my grandma is always talking about the years she spent there. I visited once, for ten days, and it wasn’t long enough!

    1. Taylor Soule Post author

      Thank you for reading my post, and I’m always glad to meet someone who loves Istanbul and misses it as much as I do! It taught me that it’s possible to fall in love with a place, and we often restrict our understanding of love to the romantic variety.


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